Robert Spitzer (psychiatrist)

This article is about the psychiatrist. For other people with the same name, see Robert Spitzer.

Dr. Robert L. Spitzer is a Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City, United States and is on the research faculty of the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. He was chair of the task force of the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) which was released in 1980. He has been referred to as a major architect of the modern classification of mental disorders which involves classifying mental disorders in discrete categories, with specified diagnostic criteria.

Views on homosexuality

He was controversial in 1973 for arguing that homosexuality is not a clinical disorder. The mainstream psychiatric community agreed, and declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

In 2001, Spitzer delivered a controversial paper at the 2001 annual APA meeting arguing that "highly motivated" individuals could "successfully" change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. The APA immediately issued an official disavowal of the paper, noting that it had not been peer reviewed and bluntly stating that "There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative therapy as a treatment to change one's sexual orientation."GayHealth: Home

Two years later, Spitzer published the paper in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The publication decision sparked controversy and one sponsoring member resigned in protest. The paper has been criticized on various grounds, including using non-random sampling and poor criteria for "success" Analysis of Dr. Spitzer's study of reparative therapy.



See also

Spitzer features in the recent BBC TV series The Trap.

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