In January, a professional conduct inquiry into a complaint against therapist Dr Mike Davidson was prefaced by four leading figures debating the legitimacy of therapy for those with unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction.
Some professional regulatory bodies, such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), have already banned sexual reorientation therapy.
The parliamentary inquiry, held in Whitehall in London, saw Dr Davidson take part, along with gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Professor Michael King and Dr Joseph Berger.
Mr Tatchell said that the motivation behind the therapy was homophobic rather than scientific. UCL’s Prof. King expressed strong objections against it, saying such therapy sprang from ‘moral outrage, not science’.
However, Dr Berger of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Canada, opposed the view that sexual orientation is innate. He stated that such orientation is a concept, not a biological phenomenon. Rejecting the view that therapists treating people for unwanted same-sex attraction see homosexuality as a disease, he stated, ‘I treat people, not homosexuality’.
Dr Davidson is a trainee with the British Psychodrama Association (BPA) and a director of Core Issues Trust, a non-profit Christian ministry supporting men and women with homosexual issues who voluntarily seek changes in sexual preference and expression.
Dr Davidson took part in a BBC local radio broadcast in January 2012 and, as a result of comments he made then about homosexuality, the BBC interviewer, among others, complained to Dr Davidson’s professional body.
This referral resulted in the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) of the BPA telling Dr Davidson that his comments breached the ethical principles and codes of professional conduct of the UKCP. It later suspended him, despite several of his supervisors telling the PCC that he was above reproach.
The Christian Legal Centre is supporting Dr Davidson in his response to the PCC inquiry. Andrea Minichiello Williams said, ‘There is a clear lack of tolerance for Dr Davidson’s Christian beliefs about sexual ethics.
‘The views of the BPA and UKCP amount to an attempt to rule on, and control, what he can believe as an individual. The BPA and UKCP’s attempt to ban those with Christian beliefs on sexual ethics from being therapists is the real unethical conduct here.
‘Along with the case of Lesley Pilkington, we are witnessing a worrying trend, where the door to practising professional therapy is being closed to people with Christian sexual ethics’.