The Christian psychiatrist at the centre of a legal row over counselling a gay client has been stripped of her hard-earned qualification, the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) has announced.
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) informed Christian counsellor Lesley Pilkington that, following her appeal, she will still lose her senior accredited status, after she was tricked into counselling a fake client who was an undercover journalist. However, the BACP’s Appeal Panel has lessened the original sanctions against her.
Lesley Pilkington, a counsellor of more than 20 years’ experience, had originally been the subject of a complaint by homosexual journalist Patrick Strudwick. He approached Ms Pilkington while attending a Christian conference about sexuality and pretended to be a Christian in need of help over unwanted homosexual attraction. She agreed to help him and they mutually agreed that the counselling be based on Christian principles.
Throughout the two counselling sessions, Mr Strudwick repeatedly told her he wanted to leave his homosexual lifestyle, and that it had become meaningless to him, and that he wanted to change.
Following these sessions, he lodged a complaint to the BACP to get her struck off. He also secretly recorded the sessions and then sold his story to a national newspaper.
In May, the Appeal Panel upheld the BACP’s decision to lose her senior accredited status because she should not have assumed Mr Strudwick wanted to proceed under the same therapeutic approach that she offered, despite the fact they both agreed to do so.
The panel also found that she should not have taken his claim that he was depressed because of his homosexuality at face value. It ruled that Mr Strudwick was a real client, despite him being an undercover reporter who had approached her on false pretences.
However, the panel also found he had not been open about his true intention and had ‘deliberately misled’ her. Her membership of the BACP has not been revoked, despite Mr Strudwick’s request.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of the CLC, said, ‘An experienced counsellor was targeted as a Christian, because she believes people are free to choose to change their behaviour if they wish.
‘For Mr Strudwick to seek to take away her professional accreditation and malign her in this way exposes the more sinister side of the homosexual lobby. It’s incredibly intolerant’.