Friday, March 11, 2011

Politically Correct: American Psychological Assoc.

• "Psychology and mental health have veered away from scientific integrity and open inquiry, as well as from compassionate practice in which the welfare of the patient is paramount" (p. xiii).

• "Psychology, psychiatry, and social work have been captured by an ultraliberal agenda" (p. xiii).

• "The APA [American Psychological Association] has chosen ideology over science, and thus has diminished its influence on the decision-makers in our society" (p. xiv).

• "Within psychology today, there are topics that are deemed politically incorrect, and they are neither published nor funded. Journal editors control what is accepted for publication through those chosen to conduct peer reviews... censorship exists... The Monitor on Psychology detests ‘managed care’ but ‘it loves managed news’" (p. xiv).

These quotes come from “Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm,” co-edited by Rogers Wright and Nicolas Cummings. You might suppose that these men are renegades, establishment outsiders. Not so! According to A. Dean Byrd, PhD, MBA, MPH:

• “Wright is a past president of Division 12, founding president of Division 31, founding president of the Council for the Advancement of the Psychological Professions and Sciences (CAPPS), Fellow of the APA, a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology, the recipient of an honorary doctorate and a distinguished practitioner of the National Academies of Practice.

• Cummings is currently distinguished professor, University of Nevada, president of the Cummings Foundation for Behavioral Health, chairs the boards of both the Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Foundation and CareIntegra. He is past president of the APA Division 12 and Division 29 as well as the recipient of five honorary doctorates for contributions to psychology, education, and the Greek Classics. He is the recipient of psychology's Gold Medal for lifetime contributions to practice.” (

According to Byrd,

• Cummings notes that though he and his co-editor lived through the "abominable" McCarthy era and the Hollywood witch hunts, still, there was "not the insidious sense of intellectual intimidation that currently exists under political correctness" (p. xv). "Now misguided political correctness tethers our intellects. Those viewed as conservative are looked down upon as lacking intelligence" (p. xv).

So what’s the big deal? "Political diversity is so absent in mental health circles that most psychologists and social workers live in a bubble. So seldom does anyone express ideological disagreement with colleagues that they believe all intelligent people think as they do” (p. xvi).

This climate is so pervasive, intimidating and repressive that many of the potential contributors to this book “declined to be included, fearing loss of tenure or stature, and citing previous ridicule and even vicious attacks..." (p. xv).

The issues of homosexuality and the political correctness seem to be at the heart of the intimidation. Cummings and O’Donohue maintain that the declassification of homosexuality or same-sex attraction (SSA) from pathology to normalcy was the result of politics and not science:

• “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association yielded suddenly and completely to political pressure when in 1973 it removed homosexuality as a treatable aberrant condition. A political firestorm had been created by gay activists within psychiatry, with intense opposition to normalizing homosexuality coming from a few outspoken psychiatrists who were demonized and even threatened, rather than scientifically refuted.” (p. 9).

However, this “victory” wasn’t enough. Their strategy goes like this: If SSA is normal, then its treatment is inappropriate and stigmatizes its clients! Despite the lack of scientific support,

• ... this did not prevent its Council of Representatives in 2002 from stampeding into a motion to declare the treatment of homosexuality unethical. This was done with the intent of perpetuating homosexuality, even when the homosexual patient willingly and even eagerly seeks treatment…Curiously, and rightly so, there was no counterargument against psychological interventions conducted by gay therapists to help patients be gay” (p 18) .

If intimidation is necessary to eliminate reparative therapy for SSA, then so be it! Wright asserts:

• “Gay groups within the APA [American Psychological Association] have repeatedly tried to persuade the association to adopt ethical standards that prohibit therapists from offering psychotherapeutic services designed to ameliorate 'gayness,' on the basis that such efforts are unsuccessful and harmful to the consumer. Psychologists who do not agree with this premise are termed homophobic.”

• “Such efforts are especially troubling because they abrogate the patient's right to choose the therapist and determine the therapeutic goals. They also deny the reality of data demonstrating that psychotherapy can be effective in changing sexual preferences in patients who have a desire to do so” (pp. xxx).

It requires courage to stand up against the mob. However, there are people who are still willing, even at great personal expense to themselves:

• “In a series of courageous letters to the various components of APA, former president Robert Perloff referred to the willingness of many psychologists to trample patients' rights to treatment in the interest of political correctness. He pointed out that making such treatment unethical would deprive a patient of a treatment choice because the threat of sanctions would eliminate any psychologist who engaged in such treatment. Although the resolution was narrowly defeated, this has not stopped its proponents from deriding colleagues who provide such treatment to patients seeking it” (p. 18).

Intimidation continues across an entire spectrum of phenomena, even when logically incoherent. Byrd observes,

• “The authors note, for example. ‘...the status of homosexuality is a settled moral question in the PC movement,’ citing, for example, that the National Endowment for the Arts would likely view those who object to the painting Piss Christ as infringing on freedom of expression, while finding a similar [hypothetical] painting titled Piss Gay as offensive and morally wrong” (p. 24).

It is the same intimidation today that is forcing sexuality upon young school children in the name of “diversity training.” In an age, when so many of our young people are abandoning the church, thinking the Gospel narrow and homophobic, what is our responsibility? Avoidance of the issues? Accommodation? Instead, it is the same answer as it always has been:

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths (2 Tim. 4:2-4).

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