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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Guidance Document Change: Consistent with the established position of the NASW, the Board considers “conversion therapy” or “sexual orientation change efforts” to be services that have the potential to be a danger to clients, especially minors. Thus, under regulations governing practitioners licensed or registered by the Board, practicing conversion therapy/sexual orientation change efforts with minors could result in a finding of misconduct and disciplinary action against the licensee or registrant.
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5/13/19  12:04 pm
Commenter: Geoffrey Blackwell, American Atheists, Inc.

"Conversion therapy" is child abuse by another name.

As an attorney, I must always act in my client's best interest. A physician must "place patients’ welfare above the physician’s own self-interest or obligations to others." (AMA Code of Medical Ethics 1.1.1) Social workers should be held to a similar standard.

"Conversion therapy" is a misnomer. It is not therapy and it converts no one. The term is a euphamism designed to make the psychological abuse of children more palatable. I would liken it to forcing a left-handed child to use her non-dominant hand, except that comparison is wholly inadequate to convey the degree to which this "therapy" endangers the children subjected to it. The American Psychiatric Association stated it plainly in 2013: "No credible evidence exists that any mental health intervention can reliably and safely change sexual orientation; nor, from a mental health perspective does sexual orientation need to be changed." There is no credible evidence that this "therapy" can accomplish what its proponents claim without causing harm to the victims.

Social workers, like doctors and lawyers and other licensed professionals, must prioritize the safety and wellbeing of those in their charge over all other interests.

Thank you for your time and attention.

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