Psychotherapists, including Christian Counsellors group, unite against gay and trans ‘conversion’ therapy
Leaders in the world of psychotherapy have united to call for an end to so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for LGBT people.
In a new document, 13 major professional bodies state that conversion therapy for gender identity and sexual orientation is “unethical, potentially harmful and is not supported by evidence”.
The memorandum goes further than a document published in 2015 by the Department for Health, which focused exclusively on sexual orientation.
The professional bodies now want to make clear that gender can also not be affected by so-called conversion therapy.
Dominic Davies, CEO Pink Therapy, said: “This document has the potential to change the way therapy is delivered in the UK for future generations, as it requires therapists to be trained to work with gender and sexual diverse clients.”
The UK Council for Psychotherapy, the Royal College of GPs, the British Psychoanalytic Council and the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy are among the organisations to sign the document.
It is also backed by the Association of Christian Counsellors.
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, said: “Trans identities are not something to be ‘cured’ or changed.
“Stonewall is today delighted to join counselling and psychotherapy bodies across Britain to support a Memorandum of Understanding, which makes clear that any attempt to change a person’s gender identity through therapy is unethical.
“Trans people seeking support need to be accepted for who they are, not subjected to prejudice and harmful practice.”
Despite the condemnation from experts and LGBT campaign groups, the government continues to refuse to outlaw the practice.
It is currently legal to attempt gay ‘cure’ therapy in the UK, though the practise is banned on the NHS.
LGBT activists have called for a new effort to directly outlaw it, but the government rejected a petition on the issue earlier this year.
The UK government claims it is “not aware” of gay cure therapy in the UK, despite a man who carries out the ‘therapy’ appearing on Good Morning Britain.
Conservative Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price claimed there is no evidence of “widespread” gay cure therapy in the UK.
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She claimed: “This Government does not recognise so-called ‘gay conversion therapy’ as a legitimate treatment. A person’s sexual orientation is not an illness to be cured.
“We have already worked with the main registration and accreditation bodies for psychotherapy and counselling practitioners, including the UK Council for Psychotherapy, to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to put a stop to this practice.
“We are not aware of widespread instances of gay conversion therapy happening in the United Kingdom, but we want to get a better idea of the extent to which it is being practised.
“That is why we included questions on this topic in our national LGBT survey, which was launched this summer. We will publish the survey results and our response in the new year.”
The memorandum is backed by Association of Christian Counsellors, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC), British Psychological Society (BPS), College of Sex and Relationship Therapists (COSRT), GLADD (The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists), National Counselling Society, NHS England, NHS Scotland, Pink Therapy, Royal College of General Practitioners and UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).