IPA POSITION STATEMENT ON ATTEMPTS TO CHANGE SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY, OR GENDER EXPRESSION
The IPA affirms the right of all people to be respected in their sexual and gender identities, without coercive interventions attempting to change their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Psychoanalytic technique does not encompass purposeful attempts to convert or change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; it aims at self-reflection and the discovery of personal meaning.
Interventions specifically aimed at promoting a particular sexual orientation or gender identity as a preferred outcome (sometimes called “conversion” or “reparative” therapies), are not consistent with the fundamental ethical principles of psychoanalytic treatment and its explorative nature. In contrast, the neutral stance of a psychoanalyst assists individuals in honest explorations of the meaning and significance of their own identities — including gender, sexuality, and their own physicality.
As with any prejudice, bias against individuals based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression negatively affects mental health, as such biases can be stigmatizing, ostracizing, and contribute to self-criticism through the internalization of such prejudice. The IPA deplores any prejudiced, directive, or coercive attitudes in treatment, as such directive efforts constrain freedom of thought and expression and exacerbate psychological suffering.
Approved by the IPA Board on 26 April 2022