The Bob Spitzer I Knew – Nicolosi on Psychiatrist Whose Research Shows ‘Gays’ Can Change their Orientation

Homosexual activist pressure campaign drove Spitzer to disavow his own study on “ex-gay” therapy, but Archives of Sexual Behavior editor refused to retract it

Target of Homosexual Pressure Campaign: The late Dr. Robert Spitzer, above, reported in a landmark 2003 academic study that “there is evidence that change in sexual orientation following some form of reparative therapy does occur in some gay men and lesbians.” “Gay” activists barraged him with criticism, so much so that he later disavowed his own study–which, however, was NOT retracted. See the study HERE and the abstract of it below.

Folks, below is an excerpt of a critically important Crisis Magazine piece by Linda Ames Nicolosi, formerly the publications director of NARTH (and wife of Joe Nicolosi). Her subject, Robert Spitzer, played a tragic yet pivotal role in the normalization of homosexuality and the advancement of the homosexual political and cultural agenda. But, as Linda describes, for a time he also advanced the truth that people can indeed overcome unwanted homosexual attractions–by authoring a landmark 2003 study of 200 homosexual men and lesbians who self-reported a “change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation.” This seemingly most politically incorrect of all realities is anathema to homosexualist (“gay”) ideologues, who mercilessly hammered Spitzer–then an old man–ultimately manipulating him into disavowing his own research. Note that, despite his requests, the editor of Archives of Sexual Behavior, Kenneth Zuckerrefused to retract Spitzer’s study because the data had not been falsified.

Remember: reports of homosexual people who tried to change but couldn’t are counter-balanced by the many people who have successfully left homosexual lifestyles behind. Of course, in line with the LGBT propaganda tactic that I call “Focus on the Failures,” the latter get far less media attention than the former. You can read the full Crisis article HERE. — Peter LaBarbera, AFTAH

Below is the abstract of the 2003 Spitzer study;

Position statements of the major mental health organizations in the United States state that there is no scientific evidence that a homosexual sexual orientation can be changed by psychotherapy, often referred to as “reparative therapy.” This study tested the hypothesis that some individuals whose sexual orientation is predominantly homosexual can, with some form of reparative therapy, become predominantly heterosexual. The participants were 200 self-selected individuals (143 males, 57 females) who reported at least some minimal change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation that lasted at least 5 years. They were interviewed by telephone, using a structured interview that assessed same sex attraction, fantasy, yearning, and overt homosexual behavior. On all measures, the year prior to the therapy was compared to the year before the interview. The majority of participants gave reports of change from a predominantly or exclusively homosexual orientation before therapy to a predominantly or exclusively heterosexual orientation in the past year. Reports of complete change were uncommon. Female participants reported significantly more change than did male participants. Either some gay men and lesbians, following reparative therapy, actually change their predominantly homosexual orientation to a predominantly heterosexual orientation or some gay men and women construct elaborate self-deceptive narratives (or even lie) in which they claim to have changed their sexual orientation, or both. For many reasons, it is concluded that the participants’ self-reports were, by-and-large, credible and that few elaborated self-deceptive narratives or lied. Thus, there is evidence that change in sexual orientation following some form of reparative therapy does occur in some gay men and lesbians.


The Bob Spitzer I Knew

By Linda Ames Nicolosi, in Crisis Magazine, January 11, 2016

When I opened the newspaper a couple of days after Christmas, I was surprised by a familiar face in the obituaries section: psychiatrist Robert Spitzer. The name brought back a flood of bittersweet personal memories. I had learned something about human nature from Bob Spitzer, and also about politics as they play out behind the scenes in the mental-health establishment.

About 15 years before, Spitzer had asked me to help him with a new research project he was working on—a study of people who had come out of a gay lifestyle. He needed help on his wording and the expression of concepts, and I was, at the time, publications director for NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality).

I was flattered to be trusted with the job. Dr. Spitzer was one of the most celebrated psychiatrists of recent memory; he had been instrumental in the pivotal 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

And so began an almost daily email correspondence with Spitzer that lasted for several months. As the cultural hero who had supposedly “normalized” homosexuality, he would be, I thought, one of the foremost experts on the subject.

But I was in for a surprise. Not only did Spitzer know very little about homosexuality (a subject which seemed to have little interest in penetrating) but he had also minimal knowledge of, or apparent interest in, psychodynamic psychology…..

But Spitzer was, no doubt, a truly compassionate man, and he was proud that through the 1973 decision, he had helped free LGB people from cultural oppression. But when he called me in 2001 (he was then in the fading years of his career), I sensed that a feeling of guilt was nagging at him. For one thing, he did not like the pressure within the psychiatric establishment to stop clinicians from helping patients who were unhappy with their same-sex attractions. (“Patients should have the right,” he told me in an interview, “to explore their heterosexual potential.”) And, like most psychiatrists, Spitzer explained in an interview published in the NARTH Bulletin in 2001, “I thought that homosexual behavior could be resisted … that no one could really change their orientation. I now believe that’s untrue—some people can and do change.”

Spitzer’s history made him a highly improbable figure as the champion of ex-gays. In fact, some of the older psychoanalysts who had treated patients for homosexuality warned NARTH not to cooperate with him; Charles Socarides, in particular, harbored a deep resentment toward Spitzer and insisted that he could not be trusted to interview any NARTH clinician’s former patients—he called his old rival a “snake in the grass.” Nonetheless, the study found 200 subjects, and went forward. Change was found not to be complete and absolute; a person didn’t simply “switch orientations”;—their success was best described as “a reduction in homosexual attractions and an increase in heterosexual attractions”—but “good heterosexual functioning” was reportedly achieved in 67 percent of the men who had rarely or never felt any heterosexual attraction. Nearly all the subjects said they now felt more comfortable with their biologically appropriate gender.

Spitzer’s conclusion was wisely, a cautious and qualified one, because change (as with alcoholism, obesity, and drug problems) is notoriously hard. All he said was this: “Contrary to conventional wisdom, some highly motivated individuals, using a variety of change efforts, can make substantial change in multiple indicators of sexual orientation, and achieve good heterosexual functioning.”

But even that qualified conclusion was too much for the LGB establishment. Fresh from recent cultural victories, this was a shocking betrayal; coming from a onetime ally, it had to be punished.

Spitzer was clearly taken aback by the ugliness of the pre-publication reaction. His social group, as he explained—not entirely tongue-in-cheek—was the “readers of the New York Times.” He seemed to be unable to comprehend that he could be an enemy of anyone for discovering this neglected population of ex-gays. I think he believed that support for any community that was culturally marginalized would be—as it once had been—a popular move, even among New York’s cultural liberals. This time, however, he had misjudged the temper of the times; he had failed to recognize the “new orthodoxy” and its changing concept of victimology.

Just before the study was due to be published, I received this S.O.S. call from him: “I have been reviewing the emails that I have received and I must admit I had the fantasy of giving up this whole thing….!”

This turn of events was alarming. I considered his new study to be a needed corrective in the scientific literature, and I didn’t want him to back out. I told him so. He wrote back, “Sorry to frighten you. My main concern—other than what this whole thing does to my reputation in the scientific community—is that the effect of this study is to help 5,000 ex-gays or potential ex-gays … [while] I have seriously hurt five million gays.”

But if the study told the truth, why should Spitzer think about “who would be hurt”? Was consideration of “who would be hurt” (or in this case, “who would dislike the results”) something that had propelled him to de-list homosexuality as a disorder in the first place? Was he really so afraid of public opinion?

Those years were the beginning of a long, punishing barrage of attacks on Spitzer from the gay community. Further, there began new, notably embarrassing embrace of him by evangelicals—who, of course, are not the sort of folks thought very attractive by the readers of the New York Times. He made a number of attempts to distance himself from the evangelical spokesmen.

Now that the study was over and had attracted so much vitriol, the evangelicals (and I myself) no longer had his ear. Instead, Spitzer was now having monthly lunches in New York with Jack Drescher, a gay-activist psychiatrist and a bitter opponent of sexual-orientation change efforts. Although Spitzer had once said, “I miss our daily email exchanges,” now that the heat was really on, I did not often hear from him any more. Was Jack Drescher now the man who had the power to influence his beliefs?… [Read the rest of the article at]


Linda_Nicolosi_thunbnailLinda Ames Nicolosi is the former publications director for NARTH and co-author (with Joseph Nicolosi) of Preventing Homosexuality: A Parents’ Guide. She has also written several hundred articles for NARTH on the subject of homosexuality and related political and clinical issues.

This article was posted on Thursday, January 14th, 2016 at 7:51 am and is filed under (Pro-) Gay Thought Police, American Psychological Ass'n, Ex-Gay Politics/Gay Oppos. to Ex-Gays, Morality and Moral Judgments, News, Political Correctness vs. Truth. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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