Friday, September 19, 2014

The U. S. Government Wants to Tell to Psychotherapists how to do Psychotherapy

ערב שבת קודש פר׳ נצבים-וילך תשע״ד

WND: Pro-'gay' courts muck up meaning of 'free speech'
Rulings in change-therapy dispute sets up likely trip to Supremes

Two appeals courts have disagreed on how to define “speech,” setting up a likely challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court over “change therapy” counseling, which aims to relieve unwanted same-sex attractions.

It’s illegal now in California and New Jersey for minors to receive such therapy, but for different reasons, warranting intervention by the highest court, argues Liberty Counsel.

California was the first state to make such therapy illegal for minors. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded the therapy, which mostly involves talking, is “conduct” rather than speech.

But when New Jersey made the therapy illegal for minors, the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined it is speech but concluded it is not protected by the First Amendment.

“The laws banning counseling in this area are simply unconstitutional violations of free speech,” asserted Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel. (cont.)

Esser Agaroth (2¢):
As a psychotherapist who is not a fan of "reparative therapy," I am still very much against any laws banning or limiting the providing of such treatment.

This is not because I believe that there are a few men and women out there who may benefit from working with psychotherapists, experienced in reparative therapy. (And I do believe this.)

Personally, my experience is that some such individuals, presenting same sex attraction [SSA] were never "gay" to begin with. The nature versus nurture debate, in other words, "why" a patient presents one sexual orientation or another, is irrelevant here. An experienced therapist, whether oriented (pun intended) toward reparative therapy or not, will know to be prepared for anything that a patient may bring into the therapy, and will also know to change his original, therapeutic strategy if necessary, or refer the patient to another therapist.

If reparative therapists want to claim such patients as "success" stories, then so be it.

Whether or not reparative therapists can any evidence to support the effectiveness of the form of therapy is a discussion for another time.

And, by the way, I do not see why any true GLBTQ activist would not want heterosexuals to be able to explore and discover their own, "true" nature, and through such clarity, self-understanding, and happiness, just as they expect to be allowed to "embrace" their own true nature, and to pursue happiness.

So, why fight reparative therapy at all? My guess is because it is unpopular and controversial, thus making it a prime target.

My fellow psychotherapists, the general public, and apparently, various officials in the U. S. Government are concerned that one form of therapy or another may actually be harmful to patients, a valid concern for certain. Where should the line be drawn? More importantly, who should be the one to drawn the line?

Even some forms of confrontational therapies used in prisons and in the military could be considered "abusive." Yet, some professions believe these to be the most effective and therapeutic approach toward the treatment of some character disorders (eg. sociopathy). The brick wall needs to be demolished, before a more flexible structure can be built back up in its place.

In my experience, damage to patients is done when professionals violate their own ethical guidelines, apply techniques which are not within their training and scope of practice, and, of course, those who are not professionals to begin with. As far as the last example on the list goes, the government can have at them, but only after the relevant professional organization(s) get the first crack at them.

The battle against reparative therapy goes beyond freedom of speech. This goes beyond the pushing of one agenda or another through the courts. This is about government chipping away at individual freedoms.

This is about government deciding what forms of therapeutic treatment will be made available to the public, and which treatments our not.

This is about government telling professionals what form of therapeutic treatment they are allowed, or not allowed to provide.

How is a government of non-therapists qualified to make such decisions? Even if it had countless professional consultants, is this the sort of decision a government should be making in the first place?

How will this be policed? Will records be subpoenaed?

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate my position.

I am not "pro"-reparative therapy. This form of therapy should continue to be scrutizied, and those who provide such therapy should continue to be encouraged to provide support for its continued practice, just like all other therapeutic techniques. Only in this way, can therapeutic techniques undergo continuous evaluation of their effectiveness, and prospective patients can receive the necessary information to make informed choices about psychotherapeutic treatment

I am against governments interfering with patients' choice.

I am against governments telling professionals how they should, or should not, practice their professions.

Let psychotherapists be guided by their peers, by their respective professional organizations, when it comes to forms of treatments, and, if need be, ethical challenges,...just like we have already been doing.

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