Leading UK psychology, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy organisations' statements on reparative therapy and sexual orientation
29 January 2013
The leading organisations in the UK for psychology, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy all have issued statements either opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or opposing 'reparative' or 'conversion' therapy.
The British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) issued its position statement on homosexuality in 2011, stating that it opposes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It does not accept that a homosexual orientation is evidence of disturbance of the mind or in development. In psychoanalytic psychotherapy, it is the quality of people's relationships which are explored, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.
On 15 January 2013, the British Psychological Society (BPS) published a position statement opposing any psychological, psychotherapeutic or counselling treatments or interventions (often referred to as 'reparative' or 'conversion' therapies) that view same-sex sexual orientations (including lesbian, gay, bisexual and all other non-heterosexual sexual orientations) as diagnosable illnesses.
The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) has campaigned for some years against 'reparative' therapy and issued guidance to its members in 2011. It believes that for a UKCP member to offer or conduct psychotherapy or psychotherapeutic counselling with the express aim of altering 'sexual orientation' is an ethical offence.
Speaking in early 2012, the Revd Canon, Adrian M Rhodes, who is President of the European Association of Psychotherapy, a UKCP member and former UKCP Vice-chair, said:
'Both psychotherapy/counselling and the religious quest, are powerful explorations of what it is to be human, in all its richness and diversity. They have much to offer each other and the interplay between these fields is profoundly enriching and enlightening. However, to use either activity as a covert way of achieving the aims of the other is both unworthy and unprofessional. It is as wrong to pursue through psychotherapy, a religious agenda which predetermines homosexuality as wrong, as it would be to use psychotherapy to define religious faith as pathological state to be eradicated.'
Notes to editors
- The British Psychological Society (BPS) promotes excellence and ethical practice in the science, education and practical applications of psychology.
BPS position statement opposing sexual conversion therapies: http://www.bps.org.uk/news/opposing-sexual-conversion-therapies
- The British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) is a professional association, representing the profession of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapy. The organisation is itself made up of twelve member institutions which are training institutions, professional associations in their own right and accrediting bodies. There are around 1,450 registrants of the BPC, working across the public, voluntary and private practice sectors. Many of its members are senior consultant psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and leading figures in the field of mental health.
BPC position statement on homosexuality: http://www.psychoanalytic-council.org/sites/psychoanalytic-council.org/files/6.2%20Position%20statement%20on%20homosexuality.pdf
- The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) is recognised as the leading professional body for the education, training and accreditation of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. It represents training organisations and over 7,500 individual therapists - working privately or in the NHS or voluntary sector - offering a wide variety of psychotherapeutic approaches or modalities. As part of its commitment to protecting the public, it works to improve access to psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic counselling, to support and disseminate research, to improve standards and to respond effectively to complaints against our members.
UKCP's full statement on reparative therapy along with its Guidance on the Practice of Psychological Therapies that Pathologise and/or seek to Eliminate or Reduce Same Sex Attraction
- The European Association of Psychotherapy (EAP) represents 128 organisations (28 national professional bodies, 17 European-wide modality associations for psychotherapy) from 41 European countries and by that more than 120.000 psychotherapists. Membership is also open for individual psychotherapists. Based on the "Strasbourg Declaration on Psychotherapy of 1990" the EAP represents high training standards for a scientifically based profession and stands for the free and independent practice of psychotherapy.
- Statements or policy guidelines on reparative therapy and sexual orientation have also been issued by other professional organisations, including the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In February 2010, for example, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) issued a position statement which says that it 'believes strongly in evidence-based treatment. There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish.' (http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/PS01_2010x.pdf)
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