Memorandum on rejecting ‘conversion therapy’ published

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Organisations across the UK have signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy.

The memorandum acknowledges that conversion therapy, or “repareative therapy”, which attempts to change a person’s sexuality, is unethical and harmful. It also sets out plans to tackle conversion therapy and protect patients from it.

14 different organisations have signed the memorandum including NHS England, Association of Christian Counsellors, Relate, and the Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists.

Dr Lyndsey Moon of the British Psychological Society (BPS) said: ““I am delighted that we have been able to build on the clear position the British Psychological Society has taken on this issue over a number of years.

“The BPS believes that people of same-sex sexual orientations should be regarded as equal members of society. This includes freedom from harassment or discrimination in any sphere, and a right to protection from therapies that purport to change or ‘convert’ sexual orientation.

“With so many national organisations signing up to this document it can only strengthen the way forward for real equality. The Memorandum of Understanding sets out a framework for further work in this area. This is an important document and I am pleased to have represented the Society on this working group.”

The document makes clear that patients who appear distressed or unhappy with their sexual orientation should be helped to live more comfortably with their sexuality, and not try to change it.

Janet Weisz, Chair of the UK Council for Psychotherapy said: “The public must know that they can access therapeutic help without fear of judgement.

“For a therapist to agree to try and “cure” or “reduce” same sex attraction would be unethical and potentially harmful. I am clear this practice has no place in the modern psychotherapy profession.

“It is great to see so many parts of the psychological and medical profession uniting on this key diversity and equality issue.”

The document does not mention conversion therapy directed at trans people. Trans teenager Leelah Alcorn took her own life after being forced to undergo conversion therapy.

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