Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Counseling
Regulations Governing the Practice of Professional Counseling [18 VAC 115 ‑ 20]
Action Unprofessional conduct - conversion therapy
Comment Period Ended on 8/7/2019
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8/3/19  8:44 am
Commenter: Ruth

Do Not Ban Conversion Therapy!!

The State Board of Counselor's members’ personal ideological biases against biologically-affirming and faith-based counseling should not be a valid basis for denying it to patients who are seeking it, or for punishing licensed counselors who are called to compassionately help them find it. You are trampling on our freedoms of choice from those you are to be serving. 

Even the APA admits that there is no “valid causal evidence” that SOCE is harmful.

The APA acknowledges that licensed mental health providers (LMHP) should “respect a person’s (client’s) right to self-determination,” allow the client to choose her or his own goals, and “be sensitive to the client’s . . . religion.” However, therapy bans directly violate this core ethical principle of client self-determination.

The APA has acknowledged that concerns about potential coercion could be mitigated by implementing a system of “developmentally appropriate informed consent to treatment.”

Opposition to SOCE is based in part on the belief that people are born gay, probably as a result of a “gay gene” or some other biological factor present at birth. However, the APA admits that “there is no consensus among scientists” about what causes homosexuality, and that nurture may play a role:  What causes a person to have a particular sexual orientation? There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.“Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality,” American Psychological Association, May 18, 2018,

CommentID: 74933