Conversion therapy, the controversial set of unproven and often harmful treatments that purport to “cure” same-sex attraction, is a practice that counselors and many other medical professionals have fought to ban for decades. Conversion therapy is already banned in 19 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Many municipalities and counties across the country have also banned the practice within their city or county limits. As state legislative sessions get underway for 2020, many more states are considering bills to outlaw conversion therapy.
Most recently, on Jan. 21, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed an executive order outlawing conversion therapy for minors in the state. The legislatures in Missouri and Oklahoma are currently considering banning the practice for minors in their states. The Virginia Board of Counseling has also released a statement declaring that practicing conversion therapy is punishable by disciplinary action from the board. This trend is likely to continue as public opinion polling shows Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to the practice.
NBCC supports all bans on conversion therapy in all its forms. Conversion therapy directly contradicts every moral and ethical standard that mental health counselors are held to, including the NBCC Code of Ethicsand theACA Code of Ethics. Not only is the practice wholly based on unproven claims, it has been shown in multiple scientific studies to cause great mental and emotional harm to those who undergo it. Our Government Affairs team will continue to monitor all legislation concerning conversion therapy and advocate outlawing its practice.