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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8/7/19  9:03 pm
Commenter: ALETA E. STRICKLAND, EDS, NCSP, Louisa Psychological Consulting, PC

Ban the abusive practice known as conversion therapy

Type over this

I am strongly opposed to allowing continued child abuse in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Conversion therapy is a misnomer as it is actually torture on minors. Conversion therapy is junk science that falsely claims to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Do you believe a straight person can be shamed into being gay? Of course not. The converse is also true. A gay person cannot be shamed or beaten into being straight. This practice is fraudulent and in direct violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.


That conversion therapy is abuse is not an unsubstantiated opinion. This cruelty has been condemned by nearly all major medical and mental health organizations. They include but are not limited to the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Osteopathic Association, the American Academy of Nursing, the American College of Physicians, the American Counseling Association, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American School Health Association, the American School Counselor Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists. Any ethical practitioner should never be taking part in any such practice.


Other states have followed the guidance of experts and banned this torment including New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, and Colorado. It is time that our great Commonwealth stood up for what is right as well.


Parents do not have the right to abuse their children. Religious leaders do not have the right to abuse children. Parents do not have the right to give permission for someone else to abuse their child. Licensed practitioners are ethically banned from such practice. Let’s make it legally banned as well. Do not choose to fail our vulnerable children and take advantage of parents.


The only proven result in children subjected to this torture is that they are more likely to attempt and/or complete suicide. I can only wonder if this is the intent of those who support, endorse, and practice “conversion therapy”.


CommentID: 75603