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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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5/14/19  11:26 pm
Commenter: Danielle Carson, LPC, LMFT

Support our LGBTQI Youth, Ban Conversation Therapy

Dear Virginia Board of Social Work,

As a practicing Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Virginia who has extensive experience in working with LGBT clients across the life span, I am writing to provide my strong support for the proposed guidelines – essential to the protection of harm and in keeping with a practitioner’s ethical responsibility in best serving young clients in danger of potentially irreparable damage that often occurs when forced to undergo such ‘therapy.’ Our role as mental health practitioners is to not harm our clients and as such, this archaic practice that has been shown to be determinetal should be banned.

Conversion ‘therapy,’ sometimes referred to as “reparative therapy,” has no basis in the literature. ‘Conversion therapy’ does not support healthy growth and development, but instead as been shown to increase shame, depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, and suicidal thoughts, and is grounded in stigma, religious ideology, and misinformation. The American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the National Association of Social Workers have all issued statements regarding the detrimental impact of such ‘therapeutic’ practice.

These guidelines provide further support and are upheld by current Virginia law prohibiting discredited and unsafe practices by licensed therapists. Minors, particularly LGBTQ+ minors, rely on the oversight of responsible, trained, licensed, and ethical practitioners in ensuring their safety and protecting them exposure to therapeutic practices that are damaging to their growth. These guidelines serve to fortify the existing laws and protections in place, and if anything, protect the ‘freedom’ of these clients and children that those opposed falsely accuse the guidelines of denying.  I wholeheartedly thank you for these guidelines and urge their adoption and implementation as soon as possible.


Danielle Carson, LPC, LMFT


Reference for Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (APA, 2009):

Reference regarding Reparative Therapy/Conversion Therapy as a Significant and Serious Ethical Violation by the ACA Code of Ethics [2017]:

Position Statement from the National Association of Social Workers on Sexual Orientation Change Efforts and Conversion Therapy [2015]:

Report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA] on Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth [2015]: