Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Conversion Therapy

  • Chris Babits
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_200211-1

Conversion therapy is the practice of trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual (or bisexual) to heterosexual by using psychological, religious, or spiritual interventions. Modern efforts to change sexual orientation date to the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. The most outspoken advocates of conversion therapy today are fundamentalist Christian groups and other organizations that have socially conservative understandings of sex, gender, and sexuality. The main advocacy group for conversion therapy is the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which has worked closely with conservative political organizations, like Focus on the Family, since its formation in 1993.

There have been many therapeutic techniques used to assist the sexual conversion process. These have included: ice-pick lobotomies; aversion therapies (such as electroshock therapy); hormone treatments; psychoanalytic talk therapy; and religious...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA