Get The Facts

Get the Facts About Conversion Therapy

This is a form of “therapy” that is often conducted by unlicensed, untrained pastors and church leaders as a way to change or suppress sexual orientation. It is known by the following labels:

  • Conversion therapy
  • Sexual reorientation therapy
  • Reparative therapy


Most counselors who perform this sort of therapy don’t label it all. Perhaps they are church leaders who think they are helping a church member, or a therapist who thinks homosexuality is a perversion, not an actual orientation.

Mainstream therapists consider any type of therapy that attempts to suppress or change a person’s sexual orientation as unhealthy and unproductive. Many consider it also to be unethical, especially when performed on minors.

People who have endured reparative or conversion therapy report experiencing:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Frustration
  • Shame
  • Suicidal urges

RainbowRights.net is devoted to educating the public about the devastating impact of conversion therapy, especially when forced upon minors.

How many conversion therapists are currently operating in the United States?

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center Conversion Therapy Map, there are over 70 therapists formally performing conversion therapy today (see the map here.)

How much does conversion therapy cost?

An average year of conversion therapy can cost up to $10,000, depending on what level of therapy a person receives.

What types of strategies are used in conversion therapy?

People who have endured conversion therapy talk about sessions in which they endured:

  • Shaming in various forms (mock locker room ridicule, the writing of extensive sin lists, confessing specific sexual acts or thoughts to family members or groups)
  • The fostering of anger towards parents or past lovers
  • Therapist-induced self abuse and humiliation
  • Aversion therapy (smelling malodorous substances, shock therapy, or hurting oneself while thinking about or looking at sexual stimuli)
  • Destructive advice that burned bridges with support systems
  • Encouragement of self hatred and creation of a fake, new self to present to the world

The methods used by proponents of suppressive or conversion therapy are often harsh and extreme, causing significant emotional and relationship damage.

Want to contribute to this conversation?

Please add a comment or contact me at Rachel at Tekspire dot com to contribute information about this practice.

I am currently collecting stories and interviewing gay men and lesbians who have endured radical religious therapy to try to suppress or change their sexual orientation for presentation in a nonfiction book. Please help me get the truth out!