HRC (Human Rights Campaign) have accused Psychology Today magazine of “propping up a fraudulent industry” for listing a ‘conversion’ therapist in their publication.
The listing in question came to the attention of HRC last month when a member spotted an advertisement for a therapist conducting conversion therapy, a long-discredited form of pseudo-scientific treatment claiming to “cure” gay people.
The California-based therapists ad claimed he has “helped men with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) reverse their attraction to men and increase their attraction to women” reports the Huffington Post.
Laws have been passed in California, New Jersey and Washington, DC, banning the practice of conversion therapy (also know as reparative therapy) on minors.
“By offering a venue for these medically debunked practices, Psychology Today lends them a veneer of credibility and helps these practitioners take advantage of vulnerable families and children,” read part of letter sent by HRC protesting the ad’s inclusion.
“We urge you to retract all current advertisements for conversion therapy on the Psychology Today website and disallow future postings for conversion therapy or by those known to practice conversion therapy. We further urge you to post an article on the website condemning conversion therapy and making clear that advertisements for conversion therapy have no place on Psychology Today,” the letter continues.
After being contacted about the ad by HRC, Psychology Today manager Charles Frank told the group that the magazine has no intention of removing the listings.
“We take care not to sit in judgement of others by allowing or denying individual participation”, he wrote in an email response to HRC. The standard for inclusion, he said, is that practitioners are “who they say they are,” are licensed where relevant and are “under no sanction from their states (or countries) not to practice.”
“There are many reasons why one group of people take issue with another, especially around the sensitive subject of relationships and therapy,” he said. “The Therapy Directory cannot pick winners.”
“They are simply not taking responsibility for their own actions,” Fred Sainz, HRC spokesman, told the Huffington Post. “What other discredited and dangerous therapies would they allow under that flawed rationale?”