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Association of Christian Counsellors criticised over gay therapy ban

A Christian group that offers support to men and women with homosexual 'issues' has slammed a decision by the Association of Christian Counsellors to ban its members from practising so called 'Reparative' and 'Conversion Therapy'.

The ACC has decided the treatment has the potential to 'create harm' to 'vulnerable clients', describing it as inconsistent within the ethos of counselling.

The organisation has also branded the practice 'incompatible' with the UK's Equality Act 2010. The decision by the ACC to speak out against it follows similar statements in the last two years by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the UK Council for Psychotherapy and the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Department of Health.

However, Mike Davidson from Core Issues Trust, which promotes this type of therapy, told Premier's Victoria Laurence on the News Hour why he thinks the ACC's decision is wrong:

The ACC follows a decision in December by Labour MP Geraint Davies to publish a Private Members' Bill in Parliament aimed at banning gay-to-straight conversion therapy by regulating the psychotherapy sector. If passed into law, the Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Regulation) Bill would require all therapists to register with a government-approved body. Then, if it is discovered that they are offering treatments such as gay-to-straight conversion therapy, these registered therapists would be removed from the approved list and banned from practicing in the UK.

Prior to formal publication of the bill, it received cross-party support from Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Plaid Cymru MPs.

This Bill is expected to have its second reading debate on February, 28th. Meanwhile, in a statement the Association of Christian Counsellors has acknowledge that its latest policy will not be the view of 'some' of its members, but says in the interests of 'public safety', they decided to make clear what is expected by those who choose to be part of ACC. As counsellors working in the UK, ACC members are expected to adhere to both ACC Code of Ethics and Good Practice and to UK Law.

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