SPLC Files Complaint Against Chicago Social Worker Offering Conversion Therapy

The recent ban on reparative therapy for minors in California has inspired advocates in other states to pursue similar efforts. Today, the  Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) announced they had filed a complaint against Chicago social worker Paul McNulty, who offers conversion therapy to gay patients.

Sent to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the complaint calls for an investigation into McNulty’s “professional integrity” and claims that conversion therapy is a violation of Illinois’ Professional Counselor and Clinical Professional Counselor Licensing Act.

“It is deeply concerning that a mental health professional, licensed by the state of Illinois, is allowed to freely practice a discredited form of counseling that has no place in modern therapy,” said SPLC deputy legal director Christine Sun, whose name is on the complaint. “Conversion therapy has caused nothing but pain and devastation. The state of Illinois must hold mental health professionals accountable for unethical and harmful conduct.”

McNulty, who has been in private practice since 1989, earned his master’s degree in social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a member of Exodus International, NARTH and the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Yamani Hernandez, executive director for ICAH, said the group joined with SPLC because McNulty “is offering a practice that is harmful to the health of young people. We are concerned about his licensure as a form of endorsement of his behavior.”