A psychotherapist has had her professional credentials revoked after being discovered advising patients that she could cure their homosexuality.
The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) suspended Lesley Pilkington last year following an expose by an undercover journalist. Patrick Strudwick was told that he must have been abused as a child and was mentally ill.
Following her appeal, the BACP have now revoked her membership. Her case has become a campaigning flashpoint for those Christians arguing that they are being repressed by, as she puts it, “militant secularists and aggressive atheists.”
Pilkington told Channel Four News:
It can be changed for those who are motivated. For those who want change, they can certainly be changed. There is good evidence to show that.
There was an investigation by a psychotherapist called Bob Spitzer several years ago who in fact was at the forefront of wanting this kind of change therapy.
A lot of people still regard it as an aberration which is a global world view. Well, I don’t agree it is prejudice because it is a valid point of view. It is an aberration from normal.
Dr. Robert Spitzer renounced his 2001 study that was used as evidence that people could really “choose to change” earlier this year. Last month he apologized to the gay community.
California is currently considering a law which would restrict the activities of those professionals regulated by the state. It bans treatment of minors, regardless of the wishes of his or her parents, and would force psychotherapists to tell patients about the mental and physical harms of undertaking any so-called ‘gay therapies.’
The Pan American Health Organization, identifying a growing, commercial ‘reparative therapy’ industry in South and Central America, just called therapies to change sexual orientation “‘cures’ for an illness that does not exist,” and called on governments to ensure that “clinics offering them should be reported and subject to adequate sanctions.”
Ecuadorian authorities have been cracking down on ‘ex-gay’ clinics following allegations of torture and abuse by former ‘patients.’
Leading American gay activist Wayne Besen is calling on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to follow the British lead and expel ‘cure the gay’ quacks.
He notes that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) sent a complaint last week about a Portland psychiatrist to the Oregon Psychiatric Association (OPA) and the APA charging that the psychiatrist unethically subjected Max Hirsh, a 22-year-old University of Oregon student, to conversion therapy.
The SPLC is also encouraging those who were forced into ex-gay therapy to speak out and tell their stories. You can find more details on the SPLC webpage, which also contains an ex-gay therapy map.
Besen writes for Huffington Post:
In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declared that homosexuality is not a mental illness, so how does the American Psychiatric Association or the American Counseling Association or the American Psychological Association justify the existence of a rogue cottage industry that promises to heal people who are not sick and fix clients who are not broken?
Photo credit: Lesley Pilkington, Channel Four screen grab