Board of Psychology,
I've spoken to you all about the proposed regulations and this proposed guidance document on the practice of Conversion Therapy before. I oppose the guidance document and the proposed regulations personally. As someone who is exclusively attracted to the same-sex - that is, as a man who is romantically and sexually attracted to other men - I have a personal interest in this discussion.
This proposed guidance document defines "conversion therapy" as "any practice" that seeks to change sexual orientation or seeks to change any behavior or reduce or eliminate any attractions. This includes talk therapy that supports certain positions.
What positions are opposed by this guidance document?
Does this guidance document oppose a small group that I was a part of in which we were encouraged not to engage in sexual practices with other men? Would that be understood as attempting to change behavior and therefore run afoul of this guidance document?
Anyone licensed under this Board would be guided by this document to avoid this kind of small group. Thus, this guidance document opposes the sexual ethics taught by Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and many other religions. My own religious convictions direct me to avoid sexual behavior with men. If these guidance documents are adopted, I would be prevented from receiving help in pursuing this religious conviction from anyone licensed under this Board.
Does this guidance document oppose the practice of reinforcing that men are not sexual objects, but are persons to be honored and respected as individuals? Would any effort to reinforce this view of men run afoul of this guidance document because it reduces sexual and romantic feelings?
Anyone licensed under this Board would be guided by this document to not counsel me to put aside my sexual desires for men and to pursue relationships that do not objectify them. Reducing sexual objectification is an effort to reduce sexual desires, and would run afoul of this guidance document.
This guidance document, as proposed, is opposed to the ethical teaching of many major religions.
This guidance document, as proposed, is opposed to the principle that desires can be set aside to pursue a higher goal.
Ultimately this guidance document prevents any professional under this Board from upholding a common ethical principle of self-denial. Just because I want to do something doesn't mean that I should do it. I may want to have sex with men, but that doesn't mean that I should. As I already stated, my religious convictions dictate that I ought not to. Do you oppose my religious convictions?
Don't prohibit this viewpoint. Let me get help in putting aside my desires in order to pursue another goal.
Don't oppose the practice of supporting men like me in putting aside our deep sexual and romantic desires in order to pursue our deeper desires of faith. Let me be free to receive help from small groups and individuals licensed under this Board to do just that.