Stonewall and the UK Council for Psychotherapy have released a joint statement against gay-to-straight conversion therapy.

It was prepared by the leading psychological professional bodies in the UK, at the request of the Department of Health, and is endorsed by gay rights charity Stonewall.

The statement offers accessible information for those who may feel under pressure to seek ‘treatment’ for their sexuality, and signposts people to places where they can access safe and non-judgemental therapeutic support.

UKCP Chief Executive David Pink said: “There have been high profile cases featured in the media and the public are worried about gay conversion therapy.

“The public needs to know where responsible professionals stand on this.

“Using psychotherapy to change or convert gay people is an abuse. This guidance is designed to help those who feel pressure to seek a ‘cure’ for their sexuality.”

James Taylor, head of policy at Stonewall, added: “We’re deeply concerned about voodoo ‘gay-cure’ therapies and their promotion and it is vital we stamp out this damaging practice.

“In 21st century Britain lesbian, gay and bisexual people should be able to access therapy and counselling services without fear of discrimination or judgement.”

In November last year, the UK Government resisted calls by MPs to introduce statutory regulation of psychotherapists in order to prevent them from being able to carry out gay-to-straight conversion therapy.

Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb said it was “utterly abhorrent” but that the Department of Health was not aware of cases of it being prescribed on the NHS.

Labour MP Geraint Davies has published a Private Members’ Bill in Parliament aimed at banning the practice by regulating the psychotherapy sector.

The bill will receive its second reading in June.