as therapists reduce feelings of homosexuality
by Angela Hussain
and counsellor organisations have expressed their "alarm"
after it was found that some of their members help clients to "reduce"
feelings of homosexuality.
significant minority of therapists had agreed to help at least one
client to reduce their gay or lesbian feelings when asked to do
so, according to a survey published last week in the journal BMC
survey was carried out on 1,400 members of The British Psychological
Society, The Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British Association
for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the United Kingdom Council
for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
Only 4% said they would attempt to change a client's sexual orientation.
asked by a troubled client if they would help curb homosexual feelings
some 17% - or one in six - said they had done so.
response to the survey Tom Warnecke, vice chair of UKCP, said: "Homosexuality
is not an illness and therefore is not curable.
alarming figures confirm our view that more training opportunities
are needed to ensure that psychotherapists and counsellors can respond
appropriately to people who are distressed about some aspect of
Phillip Hodson of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
said: "It would be absurd to attempt to alter such fundamental
aspects of personal identity as sexual orientation by counselling.
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is dedicated
to social diversity, equality and inclusivity of treatment without
sexual discrimination or judgmentalism of any kind."
survey team was led by Professor Michael King of University College
London. Questionnaires were sent to 1,848 practitioners selected
at random from the membership of the four professional organisations
Each was asked whether they would offer to help someone change their
sexual orientation, and whether they had ever done so.
Of the 1,328 forms that were correctly filled in and returned, 222
practitioners gave details of at least one patient they had tried
There has been no decline in the number of patients being treated
in recent years, according to the study.
Most respondents said they would try to help patients come to terms
with their sexuality if they felt it was problematic, but a small
number were openly discriminatory.
One member of the British Psychological Society said: "Although
homosexual feelings are usual in people, their physical expression,
and being a person's only way of having sexual relations is problematic.
The physical act for male homosexuals is physically damaging and
is the main reason in this country for Aids/HIV. It is also perverse."
Survey in BMC Psychiatry
Simone Moore, assistant psychologist, Oxleas NHS Trust, England
April 14, 2009
I am very concerned that a member of the BPS is quoted as saying
"although homosexual feelings are usual in people, their physical
expression, and being a person's only way of having sexual relations
is problematic. The physical act for male homosexuals is physically
damaging and is the main reason in this country for Aids/HIV. It
is also perverse."
last statement is incredibly loaded and a value-laden sentence.
Also, the reason we have HIV/AIDS in this country is due to unprotected
intercourse and that is between hetrosexuals and homosexuals.
how is it that the physical expression of only homosexual feelings
is problematic? I am friends with many well adjusted, happy and
in love gay couples, they do not find this 'problematic', I do not
find this 'problematic' so who exactly is it 'problematic for?
Brent Magee, psychotherapist,
Harley Street, London
April 24, 2009
This story only goes to show how important regulation is in our
profession. If therapists are attempting something as harmful as
"conversion Therapy", 40 years after being shown to be
complete a waste of time, what else are they doing behind closed
am also a little confused as to why the organisations which these
particular therapists are registered with, are not withdrawing registration
from these members?
far as I am concerned regulation cannot come quick enough. Let’s
have these "quacks", removed from the profession, and
allow the rest of us to regain some type of respect among the general
public, and the patients we treat.
I would also like to remind therapists that homosexuals have families
and friends; the last thing we want is to alienate whole sections
of society towards our profession, because of the few who frankly
cause much more harm than good, to both their clients and the profession
we belong to. So let’s all move forward towards decent regulation,
and have therapists like this removed for good.
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