Joseph Nicolosi, the pioneering force behind the torture practice known as “conversion therapy,” has died.
Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic confirmed his death in a Facebook post on Thursday, citing complications from the flu as the cause of death. He was 70 yeas old.
Nicolosi founded the clinic and served as its director, where he claimed to assist “men and women ― mostly, persons who are still at a crossroads about their sexual identity ― to reduce their same-sex attractions and explore their heterosexual potential,” according to his website.
Conversion therapy can involve a number of different practices, including talk therapy, electroshock therapy, treating LGBTQ identity as an addiction issue like drugs or alcohol, in an effort to get gay men and women to align their sexual desires with heteronormative expectations. There are no mainstream psychiatric organizations that support conversion therapy as a reputable practice.
Conversion therapy can have life-long effects on its victims. In an interview last November, one survivor stated that “we were no longer people at the end of the program.”
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