Patrick Strudwick, the gay muckraking British journalist who posed as a man in need of conversion therapy, might claim a new victim: Psychologist Lesley Pilkington, who’s practiced for 20 years and claims she treated about 10 patients for their homosexuality, will learn this week whether the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy will revoke her credentials. Writing in The Independent, Strudwick exposed a cadre of quack therapists doing more harm than good; the list of names includes Dr. Paul Miller, the psychiatrist who advised disgraced anti-gay former Irish lawmaker Iris Robinson. But for now it’s Pilkington who faces rebuke.
The shrink, who uses a program called Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, claims Strudwick engaged in entrapment. Which is silly, because only government officials can engage in “entrapment.” That, and it doesn’t change the fact that Pilkington led Strudwick down the same ex-gay therapy route she would have with an actual patient seeking to go straight. Sify.com relays:
On the tape, Strudwick asks Pilkington if she views homosexuality as ‘a mental illness, an addiction or an antireligious phenomenon’. She replies: ‘It is all of that.’ ‘Entering into therapy with somebody who thinks I am sick… is the singularly most chilling experience of my life,’ Strudwick told The Sunday Telegraph.
Strudwick approached Pilkington at a largely Christian conference — run by the US organisation The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality — where he said he was unhappy with his homosexual lifestyle and that he ‘wanted to leave it’. He then requested ‘treatment for his same-sex attraction’. In May 2009, Strudwick attended a therapy session at Pilkington’s private practice, based at her home in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, and recorded the session on a tape machine strapped to his stomach.
In the disciplinary letter sent to Pilkington, she is accused by BACP of ‘praying to God to heal him (Strudwick) of his homosexuality’. She is also accused of having an ‘agenda that homosexuality is wrong and that gay people can change and that you allegedly attempted to inflict these views on him’.
Pilkington told The Sunday Telegraph: ‘He told me he was looking for a treatment for being gay. He said he was depressed and unhappy and would I give him some therapy. I told him I only work using a Christian biblical framework and he said that was exactly what he wanted.’ The therapist added: ‘We don’t use the word ‘cure’ because it makes it (homosexuality) sound like a disease. We are helping people move out of that lifestyle because they are depressed and unhappy. We say everybody is heterosexual but some people have a homosexual problem. Nobody is born gay. It is environmental; it is in the upbringing.’
The kicker? Pilkington says she got into the field because her own son, now 29, is gay. Or rather, as she explained last week, he “is heterosexual. He just has a homosexual problem.”