8 February 2014

Gay Conversion Therapy Rant

I have just left a comment on a LinkedIn discussion regarding gay conversion therapy. You can read more about the exposé of conversion therapy by journalist Patrick Strudwick here. There were some comments being left on the discussion that concerned me. Some therapists (a minority I might add) believe that if a client has unwanted gay feelings then we have a duty to help convert them to heterosexuality. This jars with my way of being and I wanted to share my contribution here:


I have had the honour of working with gay clients who have come out through our work together, although that is not what brought them to therapy per se. I suppose one could say that this is the opposite of conversion therapy.

I have no agenda other than facilitating somebody's quest for personal authenticity. It makes no difference to me personally, or to my religious and/or political agenda if they want to be upfront about their sexuality or not, but the difference I have seen in their personal growth when they have allowed their authenticity to shine through is joyous and a privilege to witness. If a client came to me with unwanted gay feelings I would look at why they are wanting to deny their natural feelings rather than colluding with them to constrict their sexuality. I think most therapists worth their salt wouldn't be up for collusion.

Conversion therapy feels wrong on an intuitive, gut level. Thankfully it is generally not accepted by the majority. My hunch is that it's a power game for the therapist. Having been on the receiving end of unethical therapy with a religious therapist, it sickens me to think that people can use their twisted interpretation of a higher authority to justify their behaviour. Regulation, or at the very least accountability, is needed in my opinion because of this shadow side of our profession.

Kudos to Patrick Strudwick for exposing this topic.

Finally, there's a Facebook meme going round which I think is appropriate here:

"I hate the word homophobia. It's not a phobia. You are not scared. You are an asshole"

    2 comments:

    Matt Ridley said...

    Here here Amanda, I couldn't agree more. In my experience with people that are struggling to accept their sexuality, in every case once they have accepted that aspect of them selves they move on to live happy and fulfilled lives. It is the fear of judgement .of parents, friends, work colleagues and society that inhibits a persons coming out, but ultimately it boils down to self acceptance and the realisation that if you can accept yourself it fails to matter what everyone else thinks. Per portraying judgement and suppressing a persons completely natural sexuality is a hideous thing to do in my opinion.

    Spirit of 1976 said...

    Totally agree. Being gay is not a problem. People's attitudes to people being gay is a problem.

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