Reporter Patrick Strudwick went undercover for the UK’s Guardian in an attempt to hold therapists practicing dangerous and worthless anti-gay reparative therapy on gay clients accountable. While every major medical and scientific body in the history of the world has denounced “gay cure” therapy as hogwash, nobody has ever help psychologists and psychiatrists responsible for continuing to prescribe a medicine that is more akin to poison.
In a landmark ruling this week, Pilkington, 60, was found guilty of “treating” a patient for his homosexuality. A hearing of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy – the largest professional body for therapists – concluded that the treatment she gave constituted “professional malpractice”.
The unanimous verdict came with heavy sanctions. Pilkington’s accreditation to the organisation was suspended. She was ordered to complete extensive training and professional development. If she does not file a report in six to 12 months, satisfying the board that she has complied, she will have her membership fully revoked: she will be struck off.
The report concluded: “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.”
The client Pilkington tried to cure was me. I am an out, happily gay man. I was undercover, investigating therapists who practise this so-called conversion therapy (also known as reparative therapy) – who try to “pray away the gay”. I asked her to make me straight. Her attempts to do so flout the advice of every major mental-health body in Britain.
But despite the decades of abuse that gay patients have received from therapists and psychiatrists – despite the electro-convulsive therapy used until the 1980s, despite the chemical castrations, the aversion therapy (where pain is inflicted to dissuade same-sex fantasies) and despite the recent rise in fundamentalist talking therapy – no one has ever been held to account.
The details of this case, and another I am pursuing, explain why not only gay clients but mental-health patients in general do not come forward to complain. Psychiatrists and psychotherapists routinely avoid accountability – and the government is helping them do so.
Amazing. We sincerely hope that this case has lasting repercussions throughout the world. The rest of Strudwick’s investigative report is extremely illuminating. You can read it in its entirety HERE at The Guardian.