Following a request by the United Kingdom’s Department of Health, the nation’s leading bodies of professional psychologists released a joint statement officially condemning anti-gay “conversion” therapy on February 28.
Written by the UK Council for Psychotherapy, with assistance from the British Psychoanalytic Council, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the British Psychological Society, The National Counselling Society, Pink Therapy and Stonewall, the statement reads in part,
Conversion therapy is the umbrella term for a type of talking therapy or activity which attempts to change sexual orientation or reduce attraction to others of the same sex. There is no good evidence this works and we believe it has the potential to cause harm. Often these approaches are based on religious interpretations about sexuality rather than on a researched and informed understanding of sexual orientation.
The major therapy professional bodies in the UK have been united in speaking out against conversion therapy. This is because this particular approach is based on the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder, or begins from the pre-conceived view that the client should change their sexual orientation. As homosexuality is not an illness, it is both logically and ethically flawed to offer any kind of treatment…
Questions around sexuality and identity can be challenging and difficult. Nevertheless, we believe it would be irresponsible and potentially damaging for a therapist to offer to try and change sexual orientation.
The statement also offers links to informational pages put out by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, British Psychoanalytic Council, British Psychological Society, Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the UK Council for Psychotherapy.
In November 2013, the House of Commons decided against legally banning therapists from offering such therapies, a move that was severely criticized by LGBT rights activists.