The announcement this week of a Government pledge to consider options to end the practice of conversion therapy is a positive development says the Coalition against Conversion Therapy.
Dr Igi/Lyndsey Moon, who is chair of the Coalition and British Psychological Society lead said:
“This is a clear sign that the Government has at long last listened to LGBT individuals and national organisations who have tirelessly campaigned for change. We, along with our Coalition partners, have repeatedly called for an end to the practice of Conversion Therapy and will work with the Government to ensure it delivers on its promise. The Coalition will fully engage with the forthcoming consultation on the best way to implement an end to this practice.”
The Coalition against Conversion Therapy launched a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU2) against conversion therapy with the backing of all major psychological, psychotherapeutic and counselling organisations in the UK, including the British Psychological Society (BPS), British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, The National Counselling Society and the UK Council for Psychotherapy in October 2017. It has been supported by Stonewall, NHS England and NHS Scotland.
It makes clear that conversion therapy in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation (including asexuality) is unethical, potentially harmful and is not supported by evidence. Conversion therapy is the term for therapy that assumes certain sexual orientations or gender identities are inferior to others and seeks to change or suppress them on that basis.
It’s important to note that the MoU2 is not intended to deny, discourage or exclude those with uncertain feelings around sexuality or gender identity from seeking help from an appropriate and qualified professional. It aims to help therapists to provide appropriately informed and ethical practice when working with a client who wishes to explore their sexual orientation or gender identity, or experiences conflict or distress in these areas.
Dr Igi/Lyndsey Moon said:
“I am extremely proud that the BPS has led the way in offering its full support to ending conversion therapy. We have played a major role in bringing together national organisations, including voluntary regulators, government departments, NHS England and NHS Scotland to share their full commitment to protecting the public from the risks of conversion therapy.
“The BPS believes that people of same-sex orientation and people with all varieties of binary, non-binary and gender-fluid identities should be regarded as equal members of society. This includes freedom from harassment in any sphere and a right to protect from therapies that purport to change or ‘convert’ sexual orientation or gender identity.
“All organisation who signed up to the Memorandum want to ensure that those people wishing to explore their sexual or gender identity with psychologists and other health professionals feel encouraged to do so with practitioners who are free from any agenda that favours one gender or sexual orientation over another.
“With so many organisations wanting to make a real difference to those who are sexually or gender diverse and now with the backing of the Government, we can finally begin to see what equality is and feel what a difference it can make to our society.”
The Coalition will continue to work towards the aims of the MoU2 and LGBT Action Plan by ensuring that:
. The public are well informed about the risks of conversion therapy
. Healthcare professionals and psychological therapists are aware of the ethical issues relating to conversion therapy
. New and existing psychological therapists are appropriately trained
. Evidence into conversion therapy is kept under regular review
. Professionals from across the health, care and psychological professions work together to achieve the above goals. ENDS
The Coalition against Conversion Therapy is hosting an event to celebrate the MoU2 on Wednesday 4th July from 4 to 6 pm in the Stranger’s Dining Room, House of Commons.
The Coalition against Conversion Therapy is a consortium of 16 national organisations:
The British Psychological Society
The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Association of Christian Counsellors
The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists
British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
British Psychoanalytic Council
College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists
The National Counselling Society
Royal College of General Practitioners
UK Council for Psychotherapy