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Student Research Guide: Conversion Therapy: Home

Introduction to Conversion Therapy

Conversion therapy is a practice that attempts to change the sexual orientation of patients who go through the therapy. This research guide is not meant to debate the moral implications of conversion therapy, but rather to look at the success rates as well as the mental repercussions of the therapy. While conversion therapy is in the process of being banned, it is still a large issue many individuals face today.

To help me with my research, I asked four questions.

  • What is the psychological repercussions of conversion therapy?
  • What it the effectiveness of conversion therapy?
  • What role does religion play when it comes to conversion therapy?
  • What are the ethical issues of conversion therapy?

Keywords for searching the topic

Here is a list of keywords that I found particularly helpful.

  • "Conversion therapy"
  • "Reparative therapy"
  • "Religious counciling"
  • Reorientation
  • LGBT
  • "Success rates"
  • Psychology
  • "Mental health"
  • Therapy
  • "Sexual Orientation"

Helpful Databases


This is not an easy topic to cover. There are many upsetting and appalling parts to both the history and the current state if conversion therapy, and some articles deal with difficult issues. However, they are important articles and while they are upsetting, they can help you gain a better understanding of the topic. No matter your stance on conversion therapy, it is important to be educated and well informed before forming your opinions. 

The Most Helpful Keywords in My Experience

"Sexual Orientation Change Efforts"

Sexual orientation change efforts, or SOCE, is one of the most helpful keywords that I found while doing my research. By using this term, you can find many scholarly articles about the legal side of the debate on conversion therapy, as well as how it is linked to mental health.

"Sexual orientation" AND therapy

Maps of Conversion Therapy

Image result for conversion therapy"

This is a map of conversion therapy from 2014, which was the year before same-sex marriage was legalized. 

The Movement Advance Project, or MAP, provides current statistics, as well as a map, concerning conversion therapy and it's legality throughout the United States of America. It is up to date, and is a very interesting resource to explore. MAP is affiliated specifically with LGBT+ movements, so there is a potential for biases. 

Movement Advancement Project | Conversion Therapy Laws.

fbclid=IwAR0ZTKH7U5ZvpBFxY9SX439cRgOQmn8jYmVFUTv6XmxZcdUpFrINEBHVY80. Accessed 29 Nov. 2019.

Start Your Research Here

Wikipedia is a controversial site in the eyes of many professors. However, I found two Wikipedia pages that really helped me in my search for reliable sources that were relevant to my topic. I highly recommend visiting these two pages to get a basic understanding of conversion therapy. That being said, Wikipedia is not a reliable source to site in your project. The reason why I'm including Wikipedia is because of the sources cited at the end of the articles and the numerous keywords that can be found within the article. I like to think that I'm a thorough researcher, but I know that there are many avenues that I didn't explore, and by reading these articles it is possible that you find new keywords to help you in your research process. 

Harmon, Angela. "Sexual Identity (LGBTQI)." Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health: Infancy Through Adolescence, edited by Gale,

3rd edition, 2016. Credo Reference. Accessed 30 Oct. 2019

This encyclopedia article gives great background information on sexual identity in youths. While it covers conversion therapy briefly, I found that it was most helpful as a reference to the topic of sexual identity as a whole.

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