British journalist Patrick Strudwick has spoken with Queerty before about his attempts to debunk the fraudulent practice of reparative therapy. Now he’s happy to report that Lesley Pilkington, the quack who tried to “cure” him of his gay ways, has lost her license.
The professional body under which she practiced, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), has withdrawn her membership. She becomes the first therapist in history to be struck off after trying to convert a gay client to heterosexuality – despite decades of such abusive interventions by the profession.
Many believed the 60-year-old Christian had already been booted out in May when she lost her appeal against the BACP’s verdict of “ professional malpractice”. (They described her as “negligent”, “dogmatic” and “unprofessional”). This week, while covering a story about the organisation, many newspapers reported as such. But the appeal merely upheld the original verdict and most of the original sanctions.
In 2010, Strudwick went undercover and approached Pilkington as a gay man looking to change his sexuality. She claimed she had helped at least ten other men find their inner hetero and made laughable assertions that homosexuality was caused by a “difficult birth” and “freemasonry,” and can be repressed by playing rugby.
Not in the games we’ve seen.
The not-so-good doctor, who has a gay son of her own, also hypothesized Strudwick’s homosexuality was caused by sexual abuse, even though he had never been molested: “I think it will be there,”she said in a recording he made of their sessions. “You’ve let things be done to you.” Strudwick writes that the tapes also recording Pilkington “praying to God to bring these memories to the surface.”
As glad as Strudwick is that Pilkington has been forced to take down her shingle, he’s dismayed that the BACP gave her a chance to stay in its good graces:
To retain her membership, after being suspended, all she needed to do was write a report within a month of May’s verdict, reflecting on the findings against her, and then, between four and twelve months, write another more detailed response, countersigned by her supervisor, explaining changes she had made in her practice that ‘ demonstrate her learning’.
The end result, though, is that the BACP has finally declared that it”opposes any psychological treatment such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy, which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder or based on the premise that the client/patient should change his/her sexuality.”
Let’s hope the next step is following California’s lead and banning the practice altogether.