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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8/6/19  3:36 pm
Commenter: Richard Patton

Do not limit counseling

The Board’s definition of ‘conversion therapy’ is very one-sided, with the result that, by prohibiting such counseling, counselors would only be allowed to use words that promote transgenderism, and not words that would support the patient’s chromosomal sex.  This would deprive patients of needed guidance.  Licensed counselors should not be punished for assisting patients in overcoming unwanted sexual feelings.  Depriving patients of needed guidance is to tell the patient, no, you can’t change, and there’s no one who can help you do so – this amounts to telling the patient that there is no hope.

It is incorrect to say that the counseling the Board defines as ‘conversion therapy’ “does not work” or that it is not effective or safe.  People can and have changed.  Even the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association report that up to 98% of gender-confused boys and 88% of gender-confused girls eventually accept their chromosomal sex by adolescence or adulthood if allowed to do so.  The real harm to children lies in keeping them from the help they need in their time of conflict.

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.  To prohibit biological-affirming counseling is to deny patients their basic right to direct the objectives of the counseling they seek.

CommentID: 75101