UK clients not allowed to ask for help leaving homosexuality: professional therapist guidelines
LONDON, April 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While most medical ethics throughout the western world has adopted the primacy of patient autonomy as its guiding principle, the psychiatric and psychological professions in the UK are becoming increasingly authoritarian in matters of sexuality, according to one would-be therapist.
Recently published professional guidelines in the UK say it is an “ethical offense” to either offer to help a client overcome homosexual temptations and feelings, or to accede to a request to do so from a client.
“I would agree that the focus is no longer on autonomy” in ethics in psychotherapy, said Dr. Michael Davidson, PhD, Director of the Core Issues Trust. In Britain’s main psychotherapeutic organisations, “the person-centred approach is not being respected,” he said.
The Core Issues Trust is a Christian organisation that helps equip Christian ministers to help those with unwanted same-sex attraction and who want to leave the gay lifestyle.
Dr. Davidson told LifeSiteNews.com this week that he has fallen afoul of a “politically motivated” shift within the counselling and psychotherapeutic professional organisations, one that he says is betraying the real needs of clients and patients, and their freedom to make choices.
“I started my training in 2009 with the UK Psychodrama Association, and was very open and explicit about my position, including about my own journey out of homosexuality,” he said.
Nonetheless, two years into his training to become a therapist, Davidson was suddenly presented with an “interim order” telling him he was a threat to “public safety” and was not allowed to practice any type of therapy or even to train and attend classes, pending the outcome of an investigation into his conduct.
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Since the publication last summer of the professional guidance, he said, the psychotherapeutic community has created a climate in which therapists who do not toe the official “gay affirming” line, daring to assert that homosexuality is not, or does not have to be a fixed condition, face severe censure, even the loss of their professional credentials.
Dr. Davidson said that the system overrules even the wishes of patients, telling them, in effect, that they must remain in the homosexual lifestyle, whether they want to or not.
The association that Davidson trained with, the UK Psychodrama Association, is affiliated with and accredited by the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). The recently published UKCP guidelines say, “It is exploitative for a psychotherapist to offer treatment that might ‘cure’ or ‘reduce’ same sex attraction as to do so would be offering a treatment for which there is no illness.
“It is exploitative to offer treatment to reduce same sex attraction when various studies bring into question whether such treatments change a person’s sexuality.”
Citing a single research paper, the guidance says, “Research has shown that offering, or agreeing to the client’s request for, therapy for the reduction of same sex attraction is not in a client’s best interests.”
Dr. Davidson’s troubles started with an interview on BBC radio in which he “expressed the idea that therapeutic support should be made available to those who want to move away from homosexuality.” The result was that his membership and trainee status were revoked by the British Psychodrama Organisation. His future remains in question.
Davidson adamantly denies being a Christian fundamentalist. “I’m not into ‘praying away the gay,’” he said. “I do come from a faith background, but I believe that the psychotherapeutic literature [supporting the idea that homosexuality is a form of pathology] goes way back.”
The scientific literature, he said, “indicates consistent attempts to document the fact that people can and do change. Some to full heterosexuality, others to celibacy. Some cannot be helped at all.”
Although the possibility of helping clients leave homosexuality is accepted by some in the U.S., the current thinking in the UK is more rigid, and the hostility within the organisations precludes even making the case. Despite a long history of examining the issue in the professional literature, Davidson says, the British Royal college of Pscychiatrists will accept nothing less than “gold standard research,” that is, randomised, double-blind controlled trials, which Davidson says are almost impossible to produce while protecting clients.
In effect, the result has been not only a “closing down of critical debate,” he said, but the adoption of a “scientistic point of view.”
“This is a dogmatic use of science to say that we should never again look at this issue.”
He called it a “very worrying” trend, and one that can back both clients and therapists into impossible corners, while research into the possible physical and neurological sources of sexuality is halted due to political bias.
“The more I look at the stuff coming out of neural science, the more I see indications that there are biological sources to the role of motherhood, fatherhood, femaleness, maleness.” But these cannot be investigated under this climate, he said.
“Radical feminism has taken us into a context in which the only difference between the sexes is the genitalia, not paying attention to what neural science is telling us about the brain and hormones.”
Davidson cited the well-documented case of a man who had a head injury and “woke up gay.” He entered the homosexual lifestyle, but if he had chosen another route and asked for help, the current rules would have prevented it.
“It’s anti-scientific,” he said. “That’s not to say that I think the science is black and white. I don’t think we know very much about human sexuality, its plasticity, the fluidity of sexuality, but I think this old binary model of gay and straight is not working.”
“I think we are doing damage when we make these categories something that are so fixed. So if a nine year old boy has homosexual thoughts we have to tell him to take on a gay identity. It’s an appalling abuse of freedom.”
“I think it’s a political motivation,” he continued, “favouring a sexual liberation. I think Judeo Christian values are being challenged, that there seems to be a move for an extreme individualism, that puts the rights of adults above needs of children, privileging adult sexuality.”