Gay conversion therapy, sometimes known as reparative or ‘gay cure’ therapy, attempts to alter a person’s sexual orientation or reduce attraction to others of the same sex. It often assumes that homosexuality is a mental disorder.
The BPC thinks it is wholly unethical, has no evidence base and can cause a lot of harm to individuals.
At the request of the Department of Health, we have worked with UKCP, the BACP and other professional partners to produce a leaflet offering information and advice on gay conversion therapy.
The leaflet will be of help to anyone who feels pressurised to seek such therapy for their sexuality. It includes information on organisations which can offer safe and non-judgemental support.
The leaflet was written with the help of lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall:
The BPC also issued a position statement on homosexuality, which made it clear that we oppose discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Gay conversion therapy is also antithetical to psychotherapeutic approaches. A psychotherapist may sometimes help people explore their sexuality but they should not try to change a person’s sexuality. The emphasis is rather upon helping people to have greater well-being and emotional health and upon helping people to maintain healthy relations with each other.
As Gary Fereday, the BPC’s Chief Executive, says:
‘Gay conversion therapy is diametrically opposed to psychoanalytic psychotherapy, where therapists should approach patients without any preconceived aims or prejudices. Patients may benefit from exploring their sexuality with a therapist, but this would be within the context of helping each individual patient come to live a fuller and happier life. The BPC’s vision is of a society which places value on emotional wellbeing and healthy human relationships whatever the sexual orientation.’