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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8/5/19  6:42 am
Commenter: Dennis Pratte

Comment on pending policy

i object to the proposed policy on “conversion therapy”.  A patient (or in the case of a minor, the parents or legal guardian) have every right to help define the goals of counseling. Furthermore any guidance placed on a counselor must be even-handed. It is not reasonable to say that someone seeking counseling on sexual orientation or identity can  receive help in order to “transition from one gender to another” while denying help to someone else to identify with their biological gender and deal with unwanted feelings. I would find restrictions placed on a counselor to be especially objectionable if it prevented the expression of counseling from a biblical point of view.

Policies must be applied consistently.  

I am pasting a portion of text that further articulates my objection. 

“’Conversion therapy’ does not include counseling that provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition or counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person's coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual-orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, as long as such counseling does not seek to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity in any direction.” 

In other words, counselors are ALLOWED to help a minor client to explore and facilitate same-sex feelings, attractions and behaviors, or even to “change” their sex altogether, but they are strictly PROHIBITED from helping a minor client struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions from developing a natural and Biblical sexual ethic, or aiding a child dealing with gender dysphoria in learning to embrace his or her biological status as either male or female. So, children can change in one direction, but not the other. 

The Board’s “guidance” to counselors is clear and simple: If you hold to the natural, biological, historical and/or Biblical understanding of human sexuality, be prepared to lose your professional license


CommentID: 75000