Agencies | Governor
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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5/14/19  7:54 pm
Commenter: Lori Gallagher

Protect Parental Rights

I am against this proposal to regulate and ban licensed counselors from providing reparative or “conversion” therapy to children. Reparative therapy is simply talk therapy used by the counseling profession to assist children or adults to work through struggles with unwanted same-sex or mixed-sexual attractions.

This is a parents’ rights issue, not a “state” issue. Parents should have the right to choose who they want to counsel their children, and the type of counseling given.

This ban would bypass the parents and the citizens of this state; allowing the Board to impose counseling choices of their own choosing on children, who are most vulnerable of our population. It leaves out parents from a most important decision.

If parents wish to have reparative or “conversion” counseling; that is their right and their decision. They know their own children the best; and, this is a decision that clearly belongs in the parents’ domain.

  • Parents are closest to their child’s challenges and they are in the best position to identify solutions and to make healthcare decisions involving the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of their child.
  • Under Virginia law, parents have the fundamental right to make decisions regarding the upbringing, education and care of their children.
  • Some young people may have attractions they desire to change or moderate. Others may simply desire guidance from a social worker to live a chaste life. In either instance, there should be options for families to make informed decisions.
  • A ban would deny families the religious freedom to seek counseling aligned with their faith.
  • Because the proposed definition and ban cover all communication between a social worker and the client, there is a serious risk that children and families will lose the right to client “self-determination” in setting care goals (a core principle of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics).

 I I also believe that this is a First Amendment issue, and this ban seems to undermine it. I ask the Board of Social Work to reject 140-20.

CommentID: 72449