‘Cure The Gay’ Shrink Has Credentials Revoked

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?

Related stories:

Ecuadorian Clinics Torture LGBT to “Cure” Them

California Bill Would Ban ‘Pray Away The Gay’

Ex-Gay Study Author Apologizes to Gay Community

Photo credit: Lesley Pilkington, Channel Four screen grab


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

how can one be "cured" when there is nothing wrong with them?

Dale Overall

Interested in knowing whether or not Lesley Pilkington's psychotherapy services are covered under the National Health Services funded by the taxpayer in the U.K. If so, (some therapy is done privately) it is interesting that the taxpayer is being billed for her services since health care in the U.K. is paid by taxpayers and much of the service is free. If so, charging the government so to speak for "treating" someone without a legitimate mental illness seems to be rather unfair to the taxpayer let alone the person she is trying to "treat".

Homosexuality was no longer considered a mental illness back in 1974 by the American Psychiatric Association and it took the the World Health Organisation til 1992 to come to the same conclusion.

Odd that she is trying to enforce her own morality on a patient and perhaps charge the government for her pay cheque for a treatment no longer considered valid.

Just asking. There are of course charlatans in the medical field as there is elsewhere but treating people for something that is not a problem...getting paid for it seems quite unethical.

I do apologize if my grammar is not up to some people's standards! As long as one can read the basic message of another person's comment do we have to get snippy concerning the grammar and spelling of other people comments? Not everyone goes to university and is a scholar.

Helle H.
Helle H5 years ago

Some people will do anything to take your money.

Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch5 years ago

Pray the Gay away, Cure the Gay........ Good luck......

Let's try to pray the stupidity away, at least that may actually work.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal5 years ago

As a therapist, you do not proclaim to 'cure' anything. On that note, thank God the license has been revoked!

Philip Amos
.5 years ago

I'm delighted by this. I wrote a comment some time back that in the UK or Canada, and no doubt elsewhere, any psychiatrist who claimed to cure homosexuality would be struck off the Register in short order. And I was much taken aback to realize that such was not the case in the U.S. Psychiatrists are supposed to treat mental disorders, and what is and is not a mental illness is clearly defined in the DSM, which is to say, those who claim to be able to 'cure' what is not a mental disorder are clearly outside the mandate regulating what they may and may not do. The proper regulating body should be the APA and thus national, not state.As for counselling, any yahoo can hang up a shingle and claim to be one, so that simply needs regulation of some sort -- at present, there is none.

Lauren B.

As a psychotherapist who has practiced for almost 40 years I find it hard to understand how any real therapist could imagine they could change such a basic part of who a patient is! We can't even guarantee cures of depression or anxiety, though usually we can help. And in therapy the norm is to help people accept and grow into themselves, be kinder and clearer, learn to manage self destructive behaviors and develop constructive ones. Now, gay or straight, some behaviors are not good for people, but it's the patient who tells us that. How can a therapist buy into changing personality? I just don't get it.

Howard Evans
Howard Evans5 years ago

I'm actually good with Pilkington's treatments.

Last week at the Big Liberal Once a Week Meeting of Everyone (BLOWME), we decided to start kidnapping House Republicans for cult rescue interventions.

The first intervention was John Boehner. We smashed his tanning bed and bleached him to a non-flourescent orange skin color. Then we cancelled Paul Ryan's government health insurance and gave him a $500 voucher. We wired Alan Keyes' shorts so that every time he he makes a ridiculous claim the family jewels get a shot of house current; he disappeared in a ball of smoke about five minutes in.

The next target is Eric Cantor, but we're going to need a dump truck to haul his ego and a super-tanker for his ambitions.

Donna B.
Donna B5 years ago

Thanks for the interesting article.

Cheri L.
Cheri L5 years ago

There is nothng worse or sadder than a gay person who marries in hopes of refuting their gay side. Ther partners are eventually devistated and whole families hurt. We are all exactly what we are born to be. Some are gay, some are straight, some are transexuals, some are asexual, give us all a break. People who intentionally hurt children or others need some help but otherwise we are not crazy or in need of help.