Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Counseling
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4/10/19  9:58 am
Commenter: Jeff Lown, Virginia Counselors Association

Support this regulatory change to protect vulnerable youth.

Comments of opposition to this intended regulatory action on the basis of individual freedom and rights rest on the assumptions that engaging in conversion therapy causes no harm, or that requesting such therapy would be prohibited or dismissed. Neither of these suppositions are born out in reality. As studies and recommendations from the ACA and the NIH have shown, conversion therapy is at best ineffective but more likely it does in fact a traumatic and disruptive experience that can require years of ethical therapy to repair, if full recovery is ever possible. The research is plain and clear and I would ask the Board to review it again if necessary, but suspect they already have. Regarding the individual who is seeking treatment being able to request such therapy, this regulation does not require they be dismissed. The counselor may still be able to work with the individual within the ethical guidelines if the client is agreeable. If they are not, they would be free to pursue such activity from non-licensed individuals who purport to provide a service that would change their sexual orientation. This does not ban the practice of conversion therapy, this prohibits licensed counselors from doing so. The board is beholden to the code of ethics and ought to protect the integrity of the Virginia counselor by doing so. This regulation would achieve that. I therefore support this intended regulatory action.

CommentID: 71140