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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Psychology
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3/20/19  3:40 pm
Commenter: Angela P. Callahan, Serenity Counseling LLC

Conversion Therapy is harmful

If we as counselors, just like medical professionals, do our ethical duty in "First, Do No Harm", conversion therapy would be in direct violation of our ethical code, as we know CT to be extremely harmful to people who have been subjected to it by parents and others who felt they were trying to make a child's life better, but the opposite has occurred. If we attempt to deny a person's own thoughts and feelings, regardless of subject on things that cannot and should not be changed, and ignore the client's right to self-determination on continuing to believe themselves someone other than cisgender and straight, we are violating our ethics, and for this, we should be called upon by our Board of Counseling to submit to these allegations. If a client is not harming anyone, is acting healthily, legally, and is attempting to be affirmed in how they feel, our obligation as counselors is to validate and affirm, and to provide supportive resources to ensure that a client can have a sense of community. It is not a threat to free speech, as in our roles we aren't allowed to judge another person based on our own personal beliefs being in potential conflict with theirs. Counselors are here to serve, and no helping professional should ever subject a client to attempting to change them into someone they are not.

I am in support of the categorical ban to practice conversion therapy, and to make it a violation of our ethics and practice to use CT as a means of changing a person's affectual orientation and/or gender identity.

CommentID: 70523