British Mental Health Group Calls Conversion Therapy Unethical

Jim Burroway

October 2nd, 2012

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the U.K.’s largest professional organization for psychotherapists, has issued a new policy statement (PDF: 627KB/1 page) which reminds members that “there is no scientific, rational or ethical reason” to try to change someone’s sexual orientation:

The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) is dedicated to social diversity, equality and inclusivity of treatment without discrimination of any kind. BACP opposes any psychological treatment such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder, or based on the premise that the client/patient should change his/her sexuality.

BACP recognises the PAHO/WHO (2012) recent position statement that practices such as conversion or reparative therapies ‘have no medical indication and represent a severe threat to the health and human rights of the affected persons’.

BACP recognises that the diversity of human sexualities is compatible with normal mental health and social adjustment (Royal College of Psychiatrists). A recent research review (King, et al 2007) showed that those who do not identify as heterosexual may be misunderstood by some therapists, who see the client/patient’s sexuality as the root cause of their presenting issue. The ability to appreciate differences between people, to commit to equality of opportunity, and to avoid discrimination against people or groups contrary to their legitimate personal or social circumstances, is central to ethical and professional practice (BACP 2010, Ethical Framework).

BACP believes that socially inclusive, non-judgemental attitudes to people who identify across the diverse range of human sexualities will have positive consequences for those individuals, as well as for the wider society in which they live. There is no scientific, rational or ethical reason to treat people who identify within a range of human sexualities any differently from those who identify solely as heterosexual.

The BACP cites a recent statement from the Pan American Health Organization which called on governments to impose “adequate sanctions” against Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE), which PAHO said, “health professionals who offer ‘reparative therapies’ align themselves with social prejudices and reflect a stark ignorance in matters of sexuality and sexual health.”

In 2010, the British Medical Association approved a motion saying the National Health Service should not fund SOCE. That statement came after a reporter for The Independent went undercover and reported on a NARTH-affiliated therapist who offered SOCE. In the first session, the therapist sought to uncover the source of the reporter’s homosexuality by asking about childhood neglect, whether he had a difficult birth, and whether anyone in the family practiced Freemasonry. That therapist, later identified as Lesley Pilkington, was expelled from the BACP last May for professional malpractice.

Priya Lynn

October 2nd, 2012

Great news! Now hopefully other countries will follow the lead and do what’s right.


October 2nd, 2012

Well now, seems there is a God.

F Young

October 2nd, 2012

California’s ban on sexual orientation change efforts for minors signed into law yesterday.

And now this.

This is sure a bad week for NARTH.

It’s really important for professional associations throughout the Western world to make similar statements. We will need them for the court cases.


October 2nd, 2012

My British friend who underwent electro-shock therapy will be thrilled. If he still has a brain.

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