The New York Times yesterday posted an editorial about Dr. Robert Spitzer’s recanting of his infamous “ex-gay” research and its conclusions.
Dr. Spitzer, who just turned 80, has acknowledged that his survey was deeply flawed. In a letter to the editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, which had published his study, he said he had no way of knowing whether the patients who said they had changed were deceiving themselves, lying or reporting accurately. He apologized for making “unproven claims” about reparative therapy and for any harm he may have caused to anyone who “wasted time and energy” undergoing the therapy. Critics have noted that the people interviewed were nominated by centers that were performing the therapy and that there was no control group and no clear definition of what counted as therapy. There is also some evidence that reparative therapy can lead to depression or suicidal thoughts and behavior. It is absurd, potentially harmful, pseudopsychiatry. It should have been rejected long ago.