Our statement on conversion ‘therapy’

Our statement on conversion ‘therapy’

What is conversion ‘therapy’?

‘Conversion therapy is the term for therapy that assumes certain sexual orientations or gender identities are inferior to others and seeks to change or suppress them on that basis’. (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy). We should in fact use the broader term of conversion practices. We therefore use apostrophes with the word ‘therapy’.

It is the case that some of these practices can include talking therapy, but they may also be in the form of prayers, or more extreme forms such as exorcism, physical violence, or food deprivation. There are also more subtle forms of suppression such as practices which result in shaming a person because of their sexual orientation of gender identity.

Sexual orientation (including asexuality) refers to the sexual or romantic attraction someone feels to people of the same sex, opposite sex, more than one sex, or to experience no attraction.

Gender identity in this context is interpreted broadly to include all variety of binary (male or female), non-binary and gender fluid identities, including people who identify as transgender.

We will not practice conversion ‘therapy’

Professional Bodies involved in the accreditation of therapists have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK. We will refer to this document in this statement. You can find this document at

Therapists at Talk to the Rainbow will not practice conversion ‘therapy’ and agree with the signatories of this Memorandum of Understanding,

-          ‘That the practice of conversion therapy, whether in relation to sexual orientation or gender identity, is unethical and potentially harmful.’

-         ‘That neither sexual orientation nor gender identity in themselves are indicators of mental disorders.’

We will support our clients in understanding themselves better

As per this Memorandum of Understanding, we aim to ‘provide appropriately informed and ethical practice when working with a client who wishes to explore, experiences conflict with or who is in distress regarding, their sexual orientation or gender identity’.

We support our clients in understanding themselves better. ‘Clients make healthy choices when they understand themselves better’.

The UK context and our position

In 2018, the UK had pledged to outlaw conversion ‘therapy’ in England and Wales. In October 2021, the Government’s launched a consultation on Conversion ‘therapy’ and how the ban could work. We responded to the consultation by fully supporting a complete ban of conversion practices. We are disappointed by the Government’s U-turn in April 2022 to exclude trans people from the conversion ‘therapy’ ban.

In Northern Ireland: The ban on conversion therapy is not in place yet. The Northern Irish Government is currently considering its own legislative process to ban conversion therapy. See Stonewall statement of 10 March 2022.

In Scotland: No proposed legislation for a ban yet. A report has been published in October 2022 from the Expert Advisory Group on Ending Conversion Practices.

Additional sources of information

Mind, a leading UK mental health charity, fully supports an outright ban of conversion therapy:

Galop is a charity that provides support for LGBTQ+ person who have experienced abuse or violence. They have a dedicated Conversion Therapy helpline:

Stonewall has led campaigns against Conversion Therapy:

openDemocracy is an independent international media platform and they produced this article on what is conversion therapy in April 2022:

The United Nations commissioned a report for their Human Rights Council which argued for a global ban on conversion therapy (June 2020).

Ban Conversion Therapy is a coalition of LGBTQIA+ and faith communities and organisations, and mental health practitioners united in calling for the UK Government to Ban Conversion Therapy and support victims and survivors. They provide a platform where you can email your UK Member of Parliament about this.


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