A Dangerous Truth About Conversion Therapy: Study, Facts, And Research

By Robert Porter|Updated August 3, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Lauren Guilbeault, LMHC

You likely know that therapy can be a crucial and valuable resource for people living with mental health conditions. As society gains a better understanding of mental health, people may better understand why therapy and types of therapeutic intervention can be helpful and how to connect with licensed mental health professionals to get support that can be very valuable. And as society gains a greater understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, acceptance, understanding, and inclusivity may grow.

If you are loved one of someone who is LGBTQIA+, your acceptance and support can be very important for your loved one’s mental health. There are many positive, healthy ways to support a person whose sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is different from what may be considered the norm (sometimes called “heteronormative”.) But there are also some dangerous practices that should be avoided. One of these is conversion therapy, which is not actually a recognized therapy nor a recognized psychiatric treatment. Conversion therapies lack scientific credibility. While there are many types of beneficial therapy, one type of therapeutic intervention that is not beneficial, does not work, is not actually legitimate form of therapy, and can be dangerous is “conversion therapy.”  Types of conversion therapies do not work regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, or other components of human sexuality and human development.

Wondering If Conversion Therapy Is Dangerous?

What is Conversion Therapy?

“Conversion therapy” (or “conversion therapies”) is an umbrella term for attempts to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of people who are LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual). Research on conversion therapy statistics show that it is ineffective and potentially harmful for changing sexual orientation or gender identity. In fact, conversion therapy is not recognized as an effective form of therapy for many reasons. Conversion therapies are not a researched-based behavioral health treatment nor a psychiatric treatment. There is no published scientific evidence supporting conversion therapies.

LGBTQ youth may be encouraged to undergo conversion therapies under the misguided notion that they’re still “in formation” and can adjust their sexual orientation or gender identity. But LGBTQ youth aren’t the only people who might be targeted for conversion therapies. People of all ages may be urged to try sexual orientation change, gender identity change efforts, or conversion therapies.

Virtually all of the major professional medical and mental health associations strongly oppose conversion therapy for changing sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression (or for any reason). In fact, the American Psychiatric Association issued a formal statement that opposes conversion therapy and interventions like conversation therapies. “No credible evidence exists that any mental health intervention can reliably and safely change sexual orientation; nor, from a mental health perspective does sexual orientation need to be changed,” according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Understanding Conversion Therapy

Conversion therapy refers to attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. For example, conversion therapy may involve efforts or attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation from lesbian or gay (same sex orientation) or bisexual to heterosexual. Conversion therapy may also focus on changing a person’s gender identity from transgender or nonbinary to cisgender (the gender that matches the sex assigned at birth). These efforts to change sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression lack scientific credibility.

Names for Conversion Therapy: Conversion therapies and practices similar to those found in conversion therapy are sometimes referred to by other names, such as reorientation therapy, sexual orientation change efforts, gender identity change efforts, ex-gay therapy, gender expression therapy, and more. Another common term for conversion therapy is reparative therapy (trying to “repair” gender identity, sexual orientation, or gender expression). However, diverse sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity are not traits that needs to be “repaired.” They are not mental health disorders, do not mean a person is mentally ill, and are not included in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Warnings About Conversion Therapy: Sometimes religious or other groups use different terms for conversion efforts or conversion therapy to change sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. No matter what term is used for conversion therapies, research consistently shows that conversion therapy or reparative therapy efforts do not work for changing sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. In fact, conversion therapy and reparative therapy (and other sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts, conversion therapies, or similar unsubstantiated psychological interventions) can be significantly harmful. Aversion therapy can also be harmful when used for similar intentions. In addition to the ineffectiveness and possible dangers of conversion therapy and reparative therapy, conversion attempts or reparative efforts are typically not guided by licensed mental health professionals or a reputable mental health services administration and often involve the use of unmonitored practices that are unsupported by evidence and lack scientific credibility.

The Strong Opposition and Rejection of Conversion Therapy By Mental Health Professions

The American Psychiatric Association and numerous other mental health, therapy, and medical associations have stated that same-sex orientation and variable gender identity are not mental health disorders and do not require conversion or repair. Diverse sexual orientation and gender identity are not mental health disorders and aren’t included in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Similarly, conversion therapies, interventions like conversation therapy, and reparative therapy are not recognized therapies by the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, or American Medical Association for anyone of any sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The Human Rights Campaign outlines other major health organizations’ statements on the dangers of sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts. The Human Rights Campaign also warns against what they call the lies and dangers of conversion therapy.

The American Psychiatric Association has formally and strongly stated that no credible evidence supports that mental health intervention can change sexual orientation. In other words, there is no data that shows that conversion therapy “works.” The association also states that from a mental health perspective, sexual orientation does not need to be changed by conversion therapy. Same sex orientation is not a mental health issue (and is not recognized as such in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and does not mean a person is mentally ill.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (that includes the national mental health services administration) emphasizes that sexual orientation and gender identity are not mental illnesses and so do not, in themselves, warrant mental health interventions or any kind of therapy. Many states and U.S. jurisdictions have passed bills or resolutions to ban conversion therapy. Many other countries and municipalities also have laws that ban conversion therapy. (One reason that they’ve banned conversion therapy is because it lacks scientific credibility.)

Dangers of This Therapy

Research shows that conversion therapy is strongly linked to negative mental health outcomes, including depression, increased substance abuse, and more serious attempts of suicide, among other serious concerns. Additionally, people whose families or religious groups support conversion therapy and efforts to change sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity may feel a harmful sense of rejection. When a person’s community believes in conversion therapy, the belief sends a message that any gender identity, sexual orientation, or gender expression that is different from what the community views as “mainstream” are mental health disorders in need of treatment. But sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity are not mental health disorders. (They are not recognized nor found in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.) In fact, mental health can be harmed not by gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation, but by the feelings of rejection or isolation by others that may in turn lead to substance abuse, depression, or other negative mental health outcomes (which can contribute to the development of a person becoming mentally ill).

A person who is LGBTQIA+ may feel shame and a negative stigma about how they identify when their community sends them a message that they need to change or be converted via conversion therapy or they need to “be repaired” via reparative therapy. They may also suffer from fractured relationships or broken religious connections resulting from the non-acceptance of their identity or sexual orientation and the pressure placed on them to undergo conversion therapy or reparative therapy. Such feelings of rejection can have very damaging effects on mental health. For example, they may lead to depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. (Please seek the help of licensed mental health professionals, medical professionals, or behavioral health experts if you are concerned about mental health.)

If Conversion Therapy is Harmful and Does Not Work, Why Does It Exist?

Discomfort: If there is clear evidence that conversion therapy (or anything similar to conversion therapies) does not change sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity, people might wonder why it exists. There is no clear justification for conversion therapy. Still, research shows that approximately 700,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults have undergone conversion therapy at some point in their lives. The practice of conversion therapy, even though it is scientifically and medically ineffective, potentially harmful, and illegal in many states, may still take place because people are uncomfortable with gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientations (such as same sex orientations) that do not match those of the majority in society. Still, conversion therapy is ineffective and harmful. Conversion therapies can’t alleviate the discomfort those who support them may feel, nor can they change sexual orientation. (They can, however, harm relationships.)

Religion and Family: Some with certain religious or moral beliefs may fuel conversion therapy (or similar efforts) despite data indicating the uselessness and harm of the efforts. Research shows that some parents believe that the best way to help their children thrive and survive is to make them fit in with peers in the majority through conversion therapy. Some parents may feel they are protecting their children from what they worry or perceive will be a more difficult or dangerous life and future by sending them to conversion therapy or insisting on interventions to try to change sexual orientation and gender identity. However, cultural or religious beliefs, family concerns, and fears do not make conversion therapy scientifically, medically, and ethically credible, regardless of a family member’s sexual orientation. Conversion therapy practices are not a way of protecting loved ones of any sexual orientation. In fact, conversion therapies may be the opposite of protective, leading to negative mental health outcomes like substance abuse or depression, both of which are mental health disorders as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Despite the fact that there are people and groups who still support conversion therapy and efforts to change sexual orientation, if you are LGBTQIA+, please know that there are also many people and groups who recognize the ineffectiveness and harm of conversion therapies or practices similar to conversion therapy. You have a great amount of societal support and many allies who are just a click or phone call away. The LGBT National Hotline offers an anonymous, safe space to support people of all ages and can be reached at 888-843-4564 and www.glbthotline.org. Your local mental health services administration may also have resources to help.

Understanding Gender Identity And Gender Expression

Some people or groups may believe that conversion therapy or other gender identity and expression change efforts can change those whose gender identity doesn’t align with their birth gender. However, conversion therapy will not change gender identity or gender expression and can cause harm. If you want to support a loved one who is gender nonconforming, what can be helpful is to gain a greater understanding of gender identity. There is much more to gender identity than two genders (male and female). Gender and human sexuality are multidimensional.

Gender identity is not the same as sexual orientation or gender expression. Gender identity is considered a social construct—an idea that each gender comes with a set of expectations. For instance, gender identity that is associated with being male may come with the expectations of dressing, talking, feeling, and interacting like a “stereotypical” male according to society’s expectations. Society has defined gender roles related to gender identity—what it means to be female or male, a girl or boy, a man or woman, for instance. However, there are many different ways that people can express gender identity. Gender identity can exist on a spectrum. Gender identity is a personal sense of what your own gender is.

Instead of judging a person’s gender identity or gender expression (or mistakenly thinking you’re being helpful by offering a dangerous suggestion like trying conversion therapies or practices resembling conversion therapy), what can you do to be supportive of gender identity diversity (as well as gender expression and others’ sexual orientation)? First, show respect for a person and their gender identity and gender expression. For example, if they’ve told you what pronouns they use, try to make every effort to use those pronouns. If you’re in doubt, you can try asking them respectfully and listen respectfully (but without dwelling or being intrusive). You might also try paying attention, without judgement, to how they refer to themselves regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. For instance, do they refer to his, their, or her homosexual orientation (or other sexual orientation)? Do they mention a particular sexual orientation? Do they refer to her, his, or their gay or transgender identity (or other identity traits)? Do they discuss same sex attraction?

Recognize that their gender identity may be an inherit gender identity, not a preference. Try to be an ally and advocate and show your support for gender identity diversity.

Make genuine efforts to avoid misgendering people. Misgendering can including using the incorrect pronouns or form of address for a person’s gender identity. If you do misgender mistakenly, sincerely apologize and try to do better respecting the person’s gender identity in the future. Purposefully misgendering or making microaggressions to someone whose gender identity is not normative can be hurtful.

Remember that you can tell someone’s gender or gender identity by looking at them. Some people may not want to label themselves according to gender or gender identity. Gender and human sexuality cannot be seen. Their gender identity or gender expression may be fluid or they may not want to specify a gender identity. There’s not a right or wrong for a person to define their gender identity. Gender identity is personal!

Keep trying to learn more. Your local mental health services administrations or a local LGBTQIA+ task force may have helpful resources for best practices to support people who identify as sexual minorities. You might also try to spread understanding and best practices by joining a task force or group to promote inclusivity of LGTBQIA+ people. Your school, workplace, or community may have a task force or perhaps you could ask about forming a task force. A safety-related task force can also help promote a safe environment. The Human Rights Campaign also offers resources and information regarding educating and supporting LGBTQIA+ individuals, their loved ones, and their greater community.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, gender expression refers to an expression of one’s gender identity through appearance, behaviors, and personality styles. It is different from sexual orientation (including homosexual orientation) or gender identity. The expression of gender (such as clothing or make-up, for instance) is often defined by society or a culture as feminine or masculine. A specific sexual orientation is not something that can be seen through gender expression.

If you’re trying to understand gender identity, you might find it helpful to seek your own support and guidance to increase your knowledge of gender identity diversity. You can build your knowledge and awareness of gender identity so that you can best support those you care about who are gender nonconforming. Conversion therapy and efforts stemming from types of conversion therapies to change sexual orientation or sexual identity are not safe or useful, but you can support a loved one with a diverse gender identity by listening, learning, being accountable and supportive, and committing to learn more about gender identity.

If a person is experiencing gender dysphoria, they may benefit from the support of a licensed mental health professional. The American Psychiatric Association describes gender dysphoria as psychological distress that can result from one’s gender identity not matching sex assigned at birth. Criteria for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Conversion therapy attempts are not helpful for gender dysphoria, but helping a client explore their feelings and experiences of gender identity and gender expression can be. The goal can be to help relieve the distress through therapy in healthy, productive ways.

Understanding Sexual Orientation

An individual’s particular sexual orientation or gender expression is clearly very personal. If your sexual orientation, gender identity or other personal aspect varies from what is considered heteronormative, you deserve to be treated with respect and acceptance. Conversions therapies are not shown to be effective, but if you feel you could benefit from therapeutic intervention to support your mental health and wellbeing, please know that mental healthcare can be very effective, and please reach out for help. 

If you are a friend or loved one of someone whose sexual orientation, gender identity, or other personal aspect differs from what is considered heteronormative (homosexual orientation, for example), what can you do that will be in their best interest? Instead of focusing on conversion therapy or another unsupported therapeutic intervention, what can you do to support an individual’s sexual orientation and help boost their wellness? You can start by understanding sexual orientation, gender identity, and individual differences.

According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attraction to men, women, or both sexes. (For example, a woman who is heterosexual may have a specific sexual orientation towards men, while attraction towards the same sex, sexual feelings for the same sex, or romantic interest in the same sex may be referred to as homosexual orientation.) Sexual orientation also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those patterns. Sexual orientation is often spoken of in terms of heterosexual, gay/lesbian/homosexual, or bisexual, pansexual, or asexual. Sexual orientation involves a person’s feelings and identity; a person’s particular sexual orientation isn’t something that you can see.

Many things can contribute to a person’s sexual orientation, identity, and expression. For instance, many experts say that sexual orientation may be determined by environmental, emotional, hormonal, and biological factors or a combination of these factors that are part of human development. You can’t know exactly what contributed to others’ sexual orientation.

A person’s sexual orientation does not mean they have a mental health condition. The American Psychiatric Association issued a formal statement that same sex attraction implies no impairment. However, people can face burdens and stress due to prejudices about same sex sexual orientation. On the other hand, accepting people of every sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression can support their mental health. Conversion therapy is not a helpful response to others’ sexual orientation. The American Medical Association calls efforts to change sexual orientation “clinically and ethically inappropriate.”

Many people discover or explore their sexual orientation during their teenage or young adult years, although they may not pursue their attractions. If their attractions are same sex, they may feel worried that others won’t accept them. They may question their specific sexual orientation.

According to experts, sexual orientation is not something that can be changed. Some people might try to hide their sexual orientation. They may have been taught to feel a certain way about sexual orientation or they may feel shame about same sex orientation or sexual orientation that isn’t heteronormative. Sexual orientation change efforts or reparative therapy may reinforce this shame and harm mental health.

Special Consideration: Supporting the Mental Health of LGBTQIA+ Youth And Young Adults

Teens and young adults who identify as a sexual or gender minority (sometimes called LGBTQ youth or LGBTQIA+ youth) may be at a greater risk of developing a mental disorder (mental health disorder). For example, research shows that LGBTQ (LGBTQIA+) youth engage in substance abuse at higher rates than their heteronormative and gender normative peers. (Substance use disorder can require medical treatment and treatment from behavioral health experts or another licensed mental healthcare professional, so please seek help if you are concerned about substance use.)

This age and stage of human development is often a time when LBGTQ youth (and others) are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. They may be wanting to learn more about homosexual and bisexual issues, topics, identities, and personal feelings, for example. This stage of human development can also be a time when LGBTQ youth reveal their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Sometimes families or religious groups may feel they can still “form” or influence a young person’s particular sexual orientation or sway one’s gender identity. They may attempt to use the harmful practice of conversion therapies to try to intervene as LGBTQ youth explore or express their identity or sexual orientation.

However, these efforts may harm the mental wellness of sexual minority youths (LGBTQ youth), who are already vulnerable. On the other hand, community and family acceptance and understanding can be a protective factor for mental health during this and all times of human development. Acceptance and support at school can also help LGBTQ youth. Secondary school principals and other school leaders (both adults and fellow students) can help by establishing an environments and policies that are inclusive of diversity. Societal stigmatization discussed openly and respectfully may help people be more inclusive and understanding of one another. Many schools have established a task force to develop inclusive, welcoming, safe measures.

Promoting the Mental Health of LGBTQIA+ Individuals Through Acceptance and Support

If the goal is to support the mental health and physical health of those who identify as LGBTQIA+, there are many ways to achieve that goal without conversion therapy, sexual orientation change efforts, reparative therapy, or similar interventions. While conversion therapy and reparative therapy are considered ineffective and even harmful, acceptance and a supportive environment from family and loved ones, as well as society, are a protective factor for individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) or who are gender diverse. Satisfying interpersonal relationships can support emotional health and wellbeing.

Additionally, therapy methods that are research-based and offered by a licensed mental health professional can be incredibly helpful (unlike conversion therapy or reparative therapy or other efforts to change one’s sexual orientation and gender identity). These mental health services are not necessary for someone based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression—whether diverse or normative—but can be very effective and positive for supporting mental health and treating an existing mental disorder (mental health disorders).

An individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression do not mean they have or will have a mental disorder (mental health disorders). However, some people who are LGBTQIA+ may face increased challenges that can harm mental health. For example, they may experience rejection, discrimination, trauma, harassment, labeling, stereotyping, bullying, assault, abuse (verbal, emotional, or physical), unwanted same sex attraction or different sex attraction from others, hate crimes or intense fear of hate crimes, and more. Conversion therapy, reparative therapy, and attempts to change sexual orientation from same sex will not stop this danger. However, there are legitimate, positive ways to support the safety of people whose sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression varies from what is considered heteronormative.

To support the mental health of those who are LGBTQIA+, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has several helpful suggestions. Loved ones, families, friends, and allies in the community can play a critical, positive role in supporting the mental wellness of people who are LGBTQIA+. First, respecting and affirming sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression can offer a positive sense of acceptance. Being publicly supportive can also be helpful, as can using respectful language and terminology regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. Other supportive measures include letting LGBTQIA+ family members know they are loved, keeping lines of communication open, providing a safe environment for physical and mental health, being a role model for kindness and inclusion, showing that all people can be authentic around you, and creating safe spaces

Rejecting negative practices—such as conversion therapies, reparative therapy, efforts to change an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity, and practices stemming from conversion therapy, discrimination, hatred, and more—can show LGBTQIA+ individuals that you care about their safety, wellbeing, and human development and rights.

Wondering If Conversion Therapy Is Dangerous?

Being aware of the signs of a mental disorder or mental health disorders can help you help LGBTQIA+ loved ones (and others) who might be in need. Signs of mental illness may include feeling excessively sad, problems concentrating, confusion, extreme mood changes, prolonged feelings of irritation or anger, difficulties relating to others, changes in sleep patterns, low energy, difficulty understanding reality, changes in eating habits, changes in sex drive, excessive worry or fear, substance abuse (overuse or misue of substances like drugs and alcohol), and thinking about suicide.

If you or a loved one is in crisis or in danger of harming yourself, please reach out for help immediately. If anyone is in immediate danger, call 911. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline provides 24/7, free, confidential support, as well as prevention and crisis resources. It can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. The Crisis Text Hotline can connect anyone in crisis with a crisis counselor; text “HELLO” to 741741.

If you are concerned with your mental health or that of someone else, please reach out for help. Your healthcare team (including a primary care doctor or staff) can be a good resource to connect you with help. Online therapy is another excellent resource. Online therapists can help you strengthen your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and relationships. They can also help you with mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and more.

You can also reach out to your local mental health services administration or mental health organization. Many communities offer mental health services and behavioral health treatment that are allied with the LGBTQIA+ community. Some also offer specific resources for LTBTQ youth.

Many therapists make a point of saying that they are LGBTQIA+ allies. Therapists can offer those who identify as a sexual or gender minority support without judgement. The American Psychological Association encourages mental health professionals to recognize the positive aspects of being a sexual minority person and to be educated about best practices for working with and supporting sexual minority persons.

If a loved one is living with a mental illness, there are steps you can take to support them. Helping them find mental health services can be life changing and healing. Offering to help them find a licensed mental health provider can be a supportive and important step. (You can ask the therapist about working with LGBTQIA+ clients to be sure that they do not support conversion therapy. The American Psychiatric Association offers best practice highlights for working with LGBTQIA+ patients. If you are working with a psychiatrist, you might talk to them about their experience and background.)

With the understanding that sexual orientation and gender identity (heteronormative or otherwise) is not a mental disorder (mental health disorder), it’s important to recognize that anyone, including those who identify as LGBTQIA+, can experience a mental health disorder. So, how can you help?

Expressing your concern, support, and reassurance that you care about your loved one can be a source of strength, as can reassuring them that help and effective treatments are available for mental health disorders. Showing love and acceptance for who they are, including their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, can be protective factors. Offering to help them with everyday tasks and spending time with them can also help them heal. You can show support by treating them with respect and compassion. There are good resources available for how to speak about mental health concerns and finding help for mental illnessThere are also hotlines and websites available to specifically help and support people who are LGBTQIA+ and to offer information to their allies. Your local mental health services administration, behavioral health treatment center, or a LGBTQIA+ task force may also have helpful resources. You might also try contacting or joining a local task force to promote LGBTQIA+ inclusion and respect.

Finding the Right Licensed Mental Health Professional if You Identify as LGBTQIA+

Whatever your particular sexual orientation is, finding a therapist who is a good fit for you can be an important step in addressing your mental health concerns. The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) has suggestions for finding a therapist who is a good fit. Many therapists are inclusive and are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community. You can look for information on their websites or through your insurance company, a reputable mental health organization, community mental health services, a local mental health services administration, a trusted healthcare provider, a local LGBTQIA+ task force, or a trusted referral. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions about things that are important to you. For example, you might ask if a therapist has experience working with those who are LGBTQIA+ or who are exploring their sexual orientation and gender identity. You might also ask them more questions about any more specific topics you’d like to discuss, such as same sex attraction or gender identity.

 NAMI suggests that if you are concerned that a therapist might use a potentially harmful, ineffective form of therapy resembling conversion therapies, reparative therapy, “ex gay therapy,” or practices used in conversion therapy, you can ask them specifically about it. You can also ask someone you trust to make the call for you. It’s important that you feel you can speak honestly to your therapist about your specific sexual orientation or gender identity and whether you’re questioning sexual orientation, gender identity, and more. Asking questions and communicating will help you find a therapist who can best meet your needs and work with you to address your mental health concerns.

Online therapy can be a very effective, positive experience for people seeking support and mental healthcare. At BetterHelp, you can connect online with licensed mental health professionals who offer convenient, accessible, affordable, compassionate support and therapy. Therapists at BetterHelp are licensed mental health professionals who use research-based, effective forms of therapy (not practices like “conversion therapy.”) Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are part of who you are. Reputable, licensed mental health professionals will respect these parts of you. Mental health services and behavioral health treatment are available to benefit and help you be the best version of yourself. Working with a therapist can help you explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, cope with stress, understand yourself, others, and relationships, and effectively manage mental health concerns (such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse) so that you can live a positive life.

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