Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Christian counselor’s attempt to cure gay man was 'malpractice' - In The News - Springhill Group Counselling

A gay man was tried to be converted to become heterosexual, his Christian psychotherapist found guilty of professional misconduct.

Lesley Pilkington, a Christian psychotherapist, was condemned by the professional body for counselors subsequent to an undercover journalist posing as a patient furtively recorded her during a therapy session at her home.

British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy (BACP) ruled that she had breached the profession’s ethical code despite finding that Mrs. Pilkington’s client, Patrick Strudwick, “deliberately misled her”.

She now affronts being chastised off the association’s widely renowned professional register and is considering an appeal.

Mrs Pilkington, 60, practises “reparative therapy”, a contentious method which assumes that homosexual orientation can be “therapeutically changed” in clients who are motivated.

Back in 2009, Mr Strudwick met Mrs Pilkington at a largely Christian conference on therapy of homosexuality.  He told her he said he was unhappy with his gay lifestyle and that he wanted treatment for his same-sex attraction.

Mr. Strudwick recorded a session on a tape machine strapped to his stomach while he appeared to Mrs. Pilkington’s private practice, based at her home in Chorleywood, Herts, and

He collected evidences which he later used in a protest against Mrs. Pilkington to the BACP.  A decision by the BACP panel was made but both sides were advised to treat the issue as confidential while Mrs. Pilkington considered whether to use her right to an appeal.

Mr. Strudwick wrote about the BACP’s decision for the Guardian newspaper while Mrs. Pilkington then issued her own press statement through the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting her case. The BACP has refused to comment, stating that the process has not yet concluded.

The disciplinary panel described Mrs. Pilkington as “reckless”, “disrespectful”, “dogmatic” and “unprofessional” and ruled that her treatment of him constituted “professional malpractice”.

The ruling affirmed that her accreditation to the organization will be suspended at the same time she will be ordered to complete training. If she be unsuccessful to comply she will be forced off the register.

Mr. Strudwick said in his newspaper article, “I am an out, happily gay man. I was undercover, investigating therapists who practice this so-called conversion therapy (also known as reparative therapy) – who try to ‘pray away the gay’.

“I asked her to make me straight. Her attempts to do so flout the advice of every major mental-health body in Britain.”

Mr. Strudwick alleged that Mrs. Pilkington asked him whether he had been the victim of sexual abuse as a child and then prayed for God to “bring to the surface” his past suffering, and suggested he take up rugby.

The Christian Legal Centre released further excerpts from the ruling, which stated that “Mr. Strudwick was not open about his true intention” and “in significant ways deliberately misled” Mrs. Pilkington into believing that he was comfortable and accepting of her approach”.

This had the effect of “lulling Mrs. Pilkington into a false sense of security” in which he could “manipulate” the sessions “to meet his own agenda”.

Mrs. Pilkington said: “I am deeply concerned that the privileged and confidential relationship between a counselor and her patient will be undermined by a journalist seeking a sensationalist story without any substance.

“Reparative therapy is a valid therapy that many people want and it should not be damaged by irresponsible reporting. The hearing is still subject to an appeal.”

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