Iris Robinson’s gay cure therapist reported to GMC

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A psychiatrist who worked with shamed former MP Iris Robinson has been reported to the General Medical Council for his work in trying to “cure” gay people.

Dr Paul Miller, who has a private practice in south Belfast, was the therapist referred to by Mrs Robinson when she made her now-infamous remarks about gay people in June 2008.

Speaking after a gay man was beaten up in Northern Ireland, she said she knew a “lovely psychiatrist” who worked with her and was able to turn gays straight.

Dr Miller runs the Abeo umbrella organisation for therapists who try to cure homosexuality, believes that “same-sex attraction” in men stems from “core un-met needs” such as the lack of a father figure.

He worked with Mrs Robinson as a part-time advisor when she was chair of the Health Committee at Stormont.

He was exposed last month when gay journalist Patrick Strudwick went undercover to receive treatment from him.

Mr Strudwick had two webcam therapy sessions with Dr Miller, in which the psychiatrist encouraged him to become aroused and spoke about his own struggles to fight attraction to men.

The methods were condemned by Professor Michael King, a psychiatrist from University College and Dominic Davies, the founder and director of Soho-based Pink Therapy.

Following the experience, which he wrote about in the Independent, Mr Strudwick reported Dr Miller to the General Medical Council.

Mr Strudwick told the BBC: “It was very disturbing because I was acutely aware during the sessions of the effect this would be having on a vulnerable young person had I been genuinely seeking treatment.

“I felt disgusted and abused by his inappropriate sexual remarks during the sessions. To hear this from a psychiatrist during a session, it was like being sexually assaulted.”

He added that he wanted to see the psychiatrist struck off.

Dr Miller would not comment and instead gave a statement to the BBC saying: “I am currently responding to a complaint made to the GMC and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment at this time.”

The General Medical Council is expected to discuss his case next month.

Mr Strudwick has now set up a campaign group called Stop Conversion Therapy Taskforce (SCOTT) to expose such therapists and persuade professional bodies to condemn them.

He told earlier this month: “We want to get various professional bodies in mental health to change their codes of conduct on trying to change sexuality. Currently it’s all very vague, they don’t specifically condemn the practices in their guidelines.

“Also, as a part of that, we want to root out therapists and psychiatrists who are practising these techniques and ultimately bring an end to them through exposing them, as well as disrupting their meetings. We want to highlight the risks and the dangers.”

Research published last year found one in six therapists and psychiatrists had tried to turn a gay person straight, despite the fact that homosexuality was demedicalised in the UK years ago.

Critics of so-called reparative or ‘ex-gay’ therapy say it can lead to mental health problems and self-harm.