by Stephen Gray
28 May 2012
28 May 2012
A Christian psychotherapist lost her appeal last week against a ruling by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy that her behaviour in offering to therapeutically change a patient’s sexuality was negligent.
A decision given last week confirmed that Lesley Pilkington had been described by the BACP as “negligent”, “dogmatic” and “unprofessional” in her behaviour after she was approached by undercover journalist Patrick Strudwick.
In 2009, Mr Strudwick had pretended to be a gay Christian struggling with his orientation who wanted to become straight and received two counselling sessions from Ms Pilkington. Ms Pilkington was found guilty of professional malpractice in 2011 and filed an appeal against the decision, which was rejected last week.
Although it did not address gay conversion therapy directly, the appeals panel said the counsellor’s behaviour amounted to “professional malpractice in that Mrs Pilkington had failed to provide the complainant with adequate professional services that could reasonably be expected of a practitioner exercising reasonable skill and care.”
The BACP appeals panel said it was “of the opinion that, given that the complainant presented with depression and unhappiness, it is incumbent upon a practitioner to explore why he was depressed/unhappy and not to take at face value his assertion that it is because of an unwanted same sex attraction. Not to do this and to rush in and assume that the complainant’s depression and unhappiness must follow from his unwanted same sex attraction was below the standard expected of a reasonably competent practitioner.”
Stephen Evans, Campaigns Manager at the National Secular Society said Ms Pilkington was “guilty of religiously inspired bigotry parading as psychotherapy.”