The Association of Christian Counsellors, the United Kingdom's largest organization of Christian counselors is abandoning so-called "ex-gay" therapy, instructing its members to stop the practice "in the interests of public safety."
"Ex-gay" therapy, also known as conversion therapy and reparative therapy, attempts to turn people from gay to straight. It has been rejected by every mainstream organization of medical and mental health professionals as ineffective, lacking in scientific merit, and dangerous.
The Guardian reports:
The decision by the ACC to speak out against the practice follows similar statements in the last two years by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the UK Council for Psychotherapy and the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Department of Health.
The ACC said the treatment, also called reparative therapy, "implies that sexuality can be 'repaired' and so introduces the idea of treatment or cure ... it suggests that a specific outcome is possible and appears to make an a priori assumption that it should happen".
The statement makes it clear that the practice is incompatible with the Equality Act 2010 and it is not endorsed...
The ACC justified its new stance - a change since their its last statement in 2012 - explaining "such models have the potential to create harm and therefore [we] view them as incompatible within the ethos of counselling".
It advised members not to "commence or continue" using such methods and to remove or modify any promotional material advertising such a service, adding: "In the interests of public safety, we have decided to make clear what is expected by those who choose to be part of ACC."
Of course, die-hard reparative therapy devotees are resisting the move, but mainstream professionals, including Dr. Dinesh Bhugra, the incoming president of the World Psychiatric Association, are applauding the ACC for taking a "major step forward."
Sadly, the ACC's U.S. counterpart, the American Association of Christian Counselors, is nowhere near as enlightened: the group still vigorously defends "ex-gay therapy," and even sued to try and prevent California's landmark conversion therapy ban from going into effect.