What’s the problem?

So-called 'conversion therapy' is a harmful pseudo-medical practice promoted by some religious groups. It refers to a range of practices which aim to convert LGBT+ people to their 'correct' gender or sexual orientation.

All reputable health and psychological organisations consider the practice to be ineffective, unethical and harmful. The 'therapy' is usually promoted by religious organisations. 'Conversion therapy' does not include legitimate therapeutic options to assist people struggling with their gender identity or sexual orientation to live more comfortably.

In 2009 Patrick Strudwick's undercover exposé of 'pray away the gay' therapists bought the issue to wider public attention.

A major promoter of 'conversion therapy' is the Core Issues Trust. They promote a narrative that efforts to promote LGBT+ rights are an attack on the family and free speech, and represent a form of anti-Christian persecution.

In June 2018 we welcomed the government's announcement that it will bring forward proposals to end the practice of 'conversion therapy' in the UK.

There is no good evidence this works and we believe it has the potential to cause harm. Often these approaches are based on religious interpretations about sexuality rather than on a researched and informed understanding of sexual orientation.

UK Council for Psychotherapy (2014 consensus statement on 'conversion therapy')

What are we doing?

  • We welcome the government's announcement in June 2018 to bring forward proposals to end the practice of 'conversion therapy' in the UK.
  • In 2009 we wrote to the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) and the British Psychological Society (BPS) to issue guidance to their members not to provide or recommend these therapies, and not to refer people who are confused or distressed about their sexuality to religious groups that promise "cures". Since then, the UK Council for Psychotherapy has released a consensus statement on 'conversion therapy', and all major counselling and psychotherapy bodies have condemned the practice by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with a commitment to ending the practice.

What you can do:

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More information

Dr Christian Jessen goes undercover to investigate 'conversion therapy' in the UK and the US.


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