|Action||Unprofessional conduct - conversion therapy|
|Comment Period||Ends 10/30/2020|
I am an LCSW who has been in practice for over 20 years, serving a wide range of clientele including members of the LGBTQ+ community. I am also a professor in a social work graduate program. There is no scientific basis for “conversion therapy“ and substantial research demonstrating the significant harm it can cause. It is based on the religious and associated political perspectives of those who believe (falsely) that sexual orientation is a choice and something that individuals can “overcome” through through coercive practices. Science has consistently shown, however, that sexual orientation is not a “lifestyle” or a “choice” but rather a biologically based, inborn trait. We are ethically bound to refrain from imposing our own religious, social, or political perspectives on those we work with, and we are ethically and legally bound to provide appropriate, evidence-based services. Conversion therapy is based on intolerance for human diversity and a biased moralistic perspective that conflicts with science. As with any practices that have been consistently shown to cause harm or to be ineffective, licensed professionals in Virginia and elsewhere must be prohibited from engaging in conversion “therapy” as it violates the principles to which we are ethically and legally bound.