There has been a lot of presumptive conjecture, precipitate actions and misrepresentation of BACP’s position on the proposal to extend the joint MoU on conversion (reparative) therapy to include gender identity.
It has been said that BACP is opposed in principle to this amendment, despite our never having made any statement to this effect.
We would like to put the record straight on BACP’s position, although the final wording of the MoU has still to be agreed between all the signatories.
First, as BACP’s Ethical Framework makes very clear, BACP is utterly opposed to any misuse of counselling or psychotherapy to attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identification. To do so would be ineffective, potentially harmful, and as such in total contradiction with the ethics and principles of evidence-based, client-centred psychotherapeutic and counselling practice. No sexual orientation or gender identity is inherently superior to or more healthy or natural than any other.
Second, for this reason, we completely support the principle to include gender identity in the MoU on conversion therapy. While our Ethical Framework provides the underpinning ethics, we recognise the need to state this specifically and unambiguously where there is evidence that reparative therapy has been used in an attempt to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identification. We are at a loss to understand why we have been accused of blocking this amendment when we stated clearly that we had not completed our usual decision making process. It is our usual practice to refer such important and complex decisions to the Board, the membership’s elected representatives. These are not decisions for our CEO or executive officers to make on their behalf. The Board has now met, which is why we are able to issue this statement.
Third, the BACP Ethical Framework is our lodestone for best practice with regard to working with the vast panoply of diversities – sexual, gender and others. The MoU makes fundamentally clear our position on reparative therapy, in whatever context and with whomever it is applied. To simply list all possible human differences and diversities where it could be applied but isn’t would render the MoU itself a gesticulation of political correctness, rather than a powerful confirmation of principle.