UKCP and Pink Therapy "gravely concerned" about research into curing gays

26 May 2009

The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and Pink Therapy are deeply concerned about the research by Professor Michael King of University College Hospital which demonstrates that 17% of psychotherapists and counsellors have been willing to help gay and lesbian clients eliminate their homosexuality.

"Homosexuality is not an illness and therefore is not curable" said Tom Warnecke, vice chair of UKCP. "These 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 their sexuality. We have invited Pink Therapy to hold a joint conference with UKCP on this subject in London on 15 and 16 May, which will explore the mental health difficulties and distress experienced by sexual minorities and propose ways to address the issues that sexual minority clients bring to therapy."

Dominic Davies is Director of Pink Therapy - the UK's largest independent therapy organisation specialising in working with gender and sexual minority clients. He said: "I can understand how therapists faced with a distressed client who is deeply unhappy about their sexuality will want to help them, but attempts to eliminate same-sex desire are futile. Even 'Ex-Gay' evangelical activists admit to still having homosexual desires. As the failure of sexual abstinence programmes for teenagers in the USA has shown, it is difficult to prevent the expression of natural sexual responses - and it's impossible to make someone heterosexual if they are not.

Davies added: "The data presented by Professor King clearly demonstrates a training need for therapists to update their knowledge in this area. Most therapy training programmes pay scant attention to sexual diversity if it's covered at all: this is perhaps how we've got into this situation with therapists thinking they can cure homosexual feelings."

Professor King will open the conference by presenting the full data from his study of therapists' attitudes towards sexual minority clients and will review other research into Mental Health Issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Other presentations and workshops will update therapists on the latest developments in working with gender and sexual minority clients.

Working with Gender and Sexual Minorities will take place on 15 and 16 May 2009.



news section 2009