A new website allows LGBT people to find sensitive, non-judgemental therapists and counsellors.
Soho-based counselling group Pink Therapy says its online directory will help LGBT people avoid therapists who believe they are mentally ill.
People can search for a therapist by area, stating whether they would like to see someone who is male or female, gay, lesbian or bisexual, transgender, asexual or androgynous.
The directory currently lists around 200 therapists, with more added every day.
Earlier this year, a Christian counsellor was found guilty of malpractice after she tried to ‘cure’ gay journalist Patrick Strudwick, who was working undercover.
The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy heard that Lesley Pilkington told Mr Strudwick that his homosexuality was a “mental illness” and she could help him overcome it.
Research published in 2009 found that a sixth of registered British therapist and psychiatrists have attempted to “cure” patients of homosexuality. The practice was declared harmful by the British Medical Association last year.
Dominic Davies, the founder of Pink Therapy, told PinkNews.co.uk: “It can be very difficult to find a non-judgemental therapist who has a sensitivity and understanding of what it means to be a gender or sexual minority in Britain.
“Our directory is unique because we ask therapists to be open about their own gender and sexual identification and so clients can actively choose whether or not to work with an LGB or T therapist. Many prefer not to.”
He added: “Most therapists graduate with virtually no specific training in understanding sexual minorities and so queer people are likely to be wary of being judged as ‘mad, bad, or dangerous to know.’ Our directory will hopefully help them find a safe and sane therapist!”
The directory will also include “open-minded” therapists who want to work with LGBT people, while the website offers guides to training and resources.
The launch was welcomed by Mr Strudwick, who began campaigning against ‘gay cure’ therapy after his expose was published in the Independent.
He said: “It’s important that gay people can access therapists who will fully respect their orientation and who will work with them in a way that respects the principles of therapy, rather than trying to impose their agenda on clients.”