Ban Conversion Therapies
I write to strongly exhort the Board to enact a ban on practitioners providing conversion or so-called “reparative” practices. I do this both as a queer- and trans-identified citizen of the Commonwealth and as a resident in counseling who works to discharge shame and provide knowledgeable, competent, and affirmative support to members of the LGBTQQIA+ community. The clinical literature has consistently highlighted the damage wrought by conversion therapies. Moreover, practically every major medical and psychological/psychotherapeutic professional association (including the American Medical Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Work, the American Counseling Association, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, and the American Association for Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) have concluded that the provision of conversion therapies is harmful, shame-nourishing, unethical, and thoroughly unsupported in the research and clinical literature. The Code of Ethics for the American Counseling Association (2014) specifically directs counselors and trainees to engage in care that respects client autonomy and does not provide harm. It also directs counselors and trainees to engage in evidence-based treatments. Conversion therapy violates each of these core values.