went undercover to expose a network of psychologists and mental health practitioners in Britain who practice what's known as "conversion therapy," the much-debunked and unethical practice of trying to cure patients of their sexual orientation. His findings were incredible: Strudwick documented that a number of British therapists, influenced by texts from Joseph Nicolosi (the founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality -- NARTH), not only worked with gay patients to turn them straight, but benefited from taxpayer money to help them do so.
One psychologist in Strudwick's research, Lesley Pilkington, was particularly aggressive with her support for the idea that homosexuality was a mental disorder in need of curing. Strudwick went undercover as a patient wrestling with his sexual orientation, and he turned to Pilkington for counseling. Her advice?
That homosexuality is an addiction and an anti-religious phenomenon.
"We say everybody is heterosexual, but some people have a homosexual problem. Nobody is born gay. It is in the upbringing," Pilkington told the Sunday Telegraph.
Ah, but therein lies a bit of a problem for Pilkington. That's because her position that homosexuality is a problem rightly runs counter to ethical standards and codes of conduct put forward by the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy (BACP). This week, the BACP will determine whether or not to strip her of her psychotherapy credentials.
Pilkington is entitled to hold whatever religious beliefs and principles she wants. But by championing and practicing the destructive concept of "conversion therapy," she's violating in very clear terms the mission statement and objectives put forward by the BACP for its accredited psychologists.
The BACP's vision is to work "toward an emotionally healthy society," and one of its core principles is to "promote equality of opportunity." Counselors who view homosexuality as morally bankrupt and in need of conversion, however, contradict both of these platforms.
That's a fact not lost on Strudwick, who noted this weekend that every major psychological and mental health organization has condemned the practice of "conversion therapy" as harmful.
"Every major mental health organization in Britain and America is opposed to attempts to change someone’s sexuality... because there is good evidence not only that it doesn’t work but that it is harmful," Strudwick said. "If a black person goes to a [psychologist] and says, 'I want skin bleaching treatment,' that does not put the onus on the practitioner to deliver the demands of the patient. It puts the onus on the healthcare practitioner to behave responsibly."
The point Strudwick is trying to make is pretty simple. Mental health practitioners -- at least those officially sanctioned and licensed by a governing board like the BACP -- have an obligation to treat their patients in a responsible manner that doesn't lead to harm. Pilkington's support of "conversion therapy," however, fails this test. She views homosexuality as a disorder, and suggests that LGBT people can change. That's a dangerous position to take, and one the BACP shouldn't reward.
Interestingly enough, Pilkington notes in the Sunday Telegraph that she has a gay son. How does she view him?
"'He (my son) is heterosexual. He just has a homosexual problem," she said.
Huh. Something tells me the one with the problem is Pilkington, and not her son, and not Strudwick. It's time to get the BACP to take note, and pledge to discipline psychotherapists who think it's healthy to try and "cure" gay people of their sexual orientation.
petition text -
Therapists who believe homosexuality is a disorder do not deserve credentials
This week your organization will make a decision over whether a British psychotherapist, Lesley Pilkington, violated ethical standards by engaging in what's known as "conversion therapy" -- the much-debunked practice of trying to "cure" gay people of their sexual orientation. I urge you to take this opportunity to make a bold statement condemning "conversion therapy," and pledging to discipline any mental health practitioner who tells their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender patients that they are disordered.
Pilkington, for her part, told the Sunday Telegraph this week that she views homosexuality as a problem. And an undercover journalist found that Pilkington believes homosexuality is a mental disorder, an addiction, and an anti-religious phenomenon.
Positions like this simply should be untenable with accreditation with the BACP. Again, I urge you to take this opportunity to show that mental health professionals who believe homosexuality is disordered and that gay people suffer from an addiction do not deserve standing with the BACP.
[Your name here]