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  8:32 pm
Commenter: David Pickup, LMFT

Where's the evidence Governor?


You evidently have not been given anything but bias and hatred in the form of the LGBT activists who are seeking to ban therapy. Does anything below, (which is an example of part of what professional therapy really looks like and documentation to support it), look like harming therapy, electroshock or shaming people into changing? With all due respect you're making a political statement about LGBT issues without knowing all the facts, which will have a harmful and deleterious effect on the people of NC who might need and want the kind of therapy that is about expertise, compassion and that really works. As such, you are taking away constitutional rights away from NC people. And to think that there's actually no one conducting "conversion" therapy and no one that is trying to get funding for this therapy in your state anyway! (There is no such thing as conversion therapy…licensed therapists don't do this, or call therapy this demeaning, shame-based pray away the Gay kind of work.) I know you're in a sticky place now because if you do the right thing you're going to be hated and vilified by LGBT activists all over the US. So I expect that you will do nothing and let people of your state suffer with their rights being taken away. I in fact was one of the many kids in this country who was sexually abused as a child, which resulted in my homosexual feelings. In short, wonderful therapy resolved those issues and I don't have homosexual arousal anymore. Homosexuality is not my authentic self, but according to your actions, you are a part of forcing people to "must stay Gay" because of your laws. I beg you to stand up for the people of your state as a man of integrity. No one is saying you can't be gay. But you're saying, in effect, that change is impossible and that no one has a right to pursue their own lives. I beg you to read the identifiers below. As one of the world experts in authentic Reintegration Therapy, I would be happy to meet with you in your office at any time to discuss and give you documentation of these issues. 


Are all homosexuals gay?

Being gay is a self-chosen identity. Not everyone with same-sex attractions (SSA) identifies as gay. These individuals who do not identify as gay believe they are inherently heterosexual and seek help to identify the specific reasons why they experience unwanted SSA. In therapy, counselors and psychologists ethically help clients identify causes of SSA and sensitively assist them as they resolve the underlying factors that lead to homosexual feelings. These individuals are your constituents, and seek protection for their religious rights to receive help and support to leave homosexuality, change sexual orientation, and/or remain celibate. Many individuals are conservative Christians and Jews and seek the fundamental human right to pursue help for their unwanted SSA through gender affirming programs, including counseling and heterosexual-affirming therapy.

Why are gay activists attempting to ban heterosexual-affirming therapy?

Gay activist organizations instruct their members to reject ex-gays and individuals with unwanted SSA who refuse to self-identify as gay primarily because these individuals do not conform to the myth that people are born gay. In 2008, the American Psychological Association stated: “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.” Homosexuality has multiple causes and individuals experience it differently in their lives. Some individuals choose to seek counseling to help them resolve unwanted SSA, and this threatens the political agenda of gay activists. 

Is heterosexual-affirming therapy different from any other psychotherapy?

No. Counselors who work with clients who experience unwanted SSA are licensed and provide psychological services for a wide variety of issues, including unwanted SSA. Critics have falsely described this therapy as an invalid or even dangerous form of therapeutic treatment, while others refer to it as an attempt to “pray away the gay” that relies on purely behavioral methods of aversion (i.e., electroshock therapy), distraction, and/or suppression. Such descriptions are false and do not reflect the work of licensed mental health practitioners who work with clients who experience unwanted SSA. To understand what it is like to undergo counseling for unwanted SSA, read the Diary of an Ex-Gay Manat the counseling sessions of a young man undergoing therapy for his unwanted SSA.



Are children denied access to full mental health care if heterosexual-affirming therapy is banned?

Yes. Children who have been molested by a same-sex adult and are confused about their sexual orientation as a result of the sexual abuse will be denied access to therapy simply because it is not gay-affirming. In effect, a child will be raped twice – first by the perpetrator and then again by the political environment, which refuses to treat the child unless he sees a gay-affirming therapist.  

Is heterosexual-affirming therapy harmful?

Some gay activists suggest that therapy for clients with unwanted SSA is inherently harmful and may cause a teenage client to become anxious, depressed, and/or commit suicide. However, there is not one single peer-reviewed scientific study that has researched the outcomes of minors that have undergone this therapy therefore, allclaims that this therapy is harmful and ineffectiveare unfounded.


Legislation to ban therapy for unwanted SSA relies exclusively on policy statements from so-called mainstream mental and medical health organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA), who formed a Task Force in 2009 made up exclusively of gay-identified and gay-affirming psychologists. Not only did the Task Force refuse to include psychologists and licensed psychotherapists that actually worked with clients with unwanted SSA and/or were former homosexuals, but all of the members of this Task Force had previously gone on the record as opposing this therapy for philosophical and political reasons.

The APA Task Force advised parents to avoid non gay-affirming therapy for their children, and legislation to ban therapy for clients with unwanted SSA chooses only to include the APA and other so-called mainstream mental and medical health organizations' opinions, while ignoring the recommendations from the American Association of Christian Counselors, Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, Catholic Medical Association, American College of Pediatricians, International Network of Orthodox (Jewish) Mental Health Professionals, Christian Medical Association, Freedom2Care, and all who support a client’s right to resolve unwanted SSA and for parents to decide what medical and mental health treatment is best for their family. Collectively, these organizations comprise over 100,000 licensed mental and medical health practitioners and concerned citizens who value the right of self-determination for clients and their families.

Is there any evidence to prove that heterosexual-affirming therapy is effective?

Yes, 100 years of research, in fact. In 2009, the NARTHperformed a comprehensive review of literature and concluded that it is possible for some men and women to change from homosexuality to heterosexuality, and that efforts to change do not invariably result in harm. Additionally, agroundbreaking new book by Dr. James Phelan, entitled: “Successful Outcomes of Sexual Orientation Change Effort Therapy: An Annotated Bibliography” was released in 2014. This book cites 100 years of scientific research, revealing a comprehensive bibliographic review of the literature documenting success that shows that therapy has helped some clients resolve their unwanted SSA and experience heterosexual attractions.

Do parents force their children to undergo heterosexual-affirming therapy?

Some gay activists have made accusations that parents have forced their children to undergo therapy, which include camps that rely on aversive (i.e., electroshock) methods for conversion. Such claims are absolute myths and have been investigated and disproven, yet nonetheless are used as scare tactics to encourage legislators to pass bans on heterosexual-affirming therapy while allowing gay-affirming therapy to be practiced. Legislation to ban therapy threatens constituents’ constitutional rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and their first amendment rights to see a counselor who helps them resolve unwanted SSA while remaining faithful to their deeply held spiritual beliefs. All parents, children, and families deserve the right to pursue their own self-determination and should not be forced to choose between their counselor and their faith values.

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