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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Psychology
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3/19/19  10:24 am
Commenter: GLSEN Richmond Policy Coordinator

Regulation of Conversion Therapy by licensed professionals

GLSEN Richmond  is pleased to support Guidance Document 125-9, on the Practice of
Conversion Therapy, which would protect youth under the age of 18 from so-called
“conversion therapy” at the hands of licensed psychologists in Virginia. GLSEN is the leading organization in the US working for safe schools - particularly LGBTQ+ youth. 

Conversion therapy, sometimes referred to as “reparative therapy,” “ex-gay therapy,” or
“sexual orientation change efforts,” is a set of practices by mental health providers that
seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes efforts
to change behaviors or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings
toward individuals of the same sex. Conversion therapy does not include psychotherapy
that aims to provide acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or the facilitation
of clients’ coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including
sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe
sexual practices. Nor does it include counseling for a person seeking to transition from
one gender to another.
There is no credible evidence that any type of psychotherapy can change a person’s
sexual orientation or gender identity. In fact, conversion therapy poses critical health
risks to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer young people, including
depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, risky
behavior, and even suicide. Nearly all the nation’s leading mental health associations,
including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological
Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social
Workers, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for
Marriage and Family Therapy have examined conversion therapy and oppose it

CommentID: 70160