In the letter to the editor from Elaine Berk and Arthur Goldberg (“Defends JONAH’s Credibility,” Sept. 24), much of their arguments were based on a 2009 study in the Journal of Human Sexuality.
As a graduate student in clinical psychology focusing on sexual and religious identity conflicts, I was initially surprised that I had not stumbled across what sounded like a landmark study. After looking into the matter, however, it appears that the Journal of Human Sexuality the authors refer to is a sham journal published by NARTH (National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality).
The “peer review” the authors referred to is conducted by other reparative therapists who have clear biases and lack the proper training to identify flaws in research methodology that may bias results.
Additionally, much of the “evidence” cited in support of reparative therapy is experiential evidence rather than empirical evidence, which is prone to even more bias. This severely limits the ability of the authors to make a convincing claim that change is possible “for those who want it.” The research cited is also severely dated, ranging back over 125 years, which further limits the applicability of these findings.
I am very concerned that Berk and Goldberg may be misleading your readers into thinking that their claims that change is possible are backed up by credible scientific evidence.