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Why you should care about banning change therapy

March 11, 2014 By: Tom Coy Category: Gay Politics, Sexual Orientation Change Efforts

February 11, 2014

Joseph Backholm of the Family Policy Institute has articulated 6 reasons to be concerned about the bill in Washington State which seeks to ban sexual orientation change therapy to minors. The reasons apply to all similar bans and are as follows:

“1. Licensed therapists are not currently involved in coercive therapy to change sexual orientation: The Washington State Department of Health has no records of complaints filed against a licensed therapist for coercive therapy intended to change their sexual orientation. If anyone is receiving counseling to change their sexual orientation from a therapist, it is probably because they asked for it. Why would that bother you?”

“2. Bans ‘aversive therapy’ as well as talk therapy: Proponents of this bill claim it is necessary to prevent children from receiving shock therapy or forced to take ice baths as a form of therapy. However, it goes far beyond those issues upon which there is general agreement to make it illegal for a licensed therapist to provide talk therapy to a client regarding unwanted same-sex attraction.”

“3. Coercion is already professional misconduct: This bill is unnecessary because it is already professional misconduct for a therapist to dictate therapeutic goals to the client. Current professional guidelines provide a recourse if a licensed therapist tries to force a client to change their sexual orientation.”

“4. Denies counseling options to those with unwanted same-sex attraction: Since coercion is already professional misconduct, the only real impact of this bill is to make it impossible for clients to get therapy to help with unwanted same-sex attraction. Telling a client there is no help for something they want help with can be just as damaging as forcing someone to get help for something they don’t want help with.”

“5. Places legislature in the middle of counseling sessions: Parents, counselors, and clients are in a much better position than the legislature to know what a child needs.

6. Creates inconsistent policy: If this bill were to pass, it would be ok for a minor to seek professional help to change their gender but not to change sexual attraction.”

“No one thinks children should be forced to take ice baths and watch pornography. If that is the concern, there are ways to deal with that that don’t include banning speech legislators personally disagree with.
Homosexuality specifically, and human sexuality generally, will always be controversial subjects. Human understanding of these topics has changed over the generations and is likely to change in the future.”

“Taking away the freedom of other people to express contrary perspectives about a highly politicized topic because we’ve decided we know all there is to know is neither enlightened nor progressive.”
“When you oppose legislation like this, you aren’t simply defending consumer choices for clients and conscience rights for therapists, you’re defending liberty generally.”