A British therapist has been found guilty of “professional malpractice” for trying to turn one of her gay clients straight, known as “conversion therapy”.
Lesley Pilkington (60) was found to have behaved in a “reckless”, “disrespectful”, “dogmatic” and “unprofessional” way by attempting to “cure” a patient of his homosexuality, said the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
“Mrs Pilkington had allowed her personal preconceived views about gay lifestyle and sexual orientation to affect her professional relationship in a way that was prejudicial,” concluded a report by the professional body.
The patient in question was gay undercover journalist and activist Patrick Strudwick who pretended to want to be “treated” for his homosexuality; part of his investigation into conversion therapists.
‘heterosexual tips such as taking up rugby’
“I asked her to make me straight. Her attempts to do so flout the advice of every major mental-health body in Britain,” wrote Strudwick in The Guardian.
“She gave me how-to-be-heterosexual tips such as taking up rugby, abstaining from masturbation and distancing myself from gay friends,” he said.
Pilkington also apparently suggested that sexual abuse as a child might have caused Strudwick to ‘become’ gay.
Pilkington was suspended from the BACP and must complete professional training in the matter failing which she will lose her membership of the association permanently.
Mainstream medical and scientific organisations around the world have repeatedly rejected conversion therapy as ineffective, unscientific, unethical and potentially dangerous.