A report recently presented to Anglicans in the UK has warned that therapy to change sexual orientation is based on unproven methods and can cause severe damage.

In its submission to the Church of England’s Listening Exercise on Human Sexuality, the Royal College of Psychiatrists wrote that therapists who attribute their clients’ mental health problems to their sexuality are likely to cause “considerable distress.” The report went on to say:

A small minority of therapists will even go so far as to attempt to change their client’s sexual orientation. This can be deeply damaging. Although there is now a number of therapists and organisation in the USA and in the UK that claim that therapy can help homosexuals to become heterosexual, there is no evidence that such change is possible. The best evidence for efficacy of any treatment comes from randomised clinical trials and no such trial has been carried out in this field.

No mention is made of the recent Jones and Yarhouse study, which also falls short of a full, randomized clinical trial.

The report, which also addresses the nature of gay and lesbian relationships, the origins of homosexuality, and the mental health of gay men and women, concludes by urging Anglicans to accept gays and lesbians fully into the life of the Church:

[There] is no scientific or rational reason for treating LGB people any differently to their heterosexual counterparts. People are happiest and are likely to reach their potential when they are able to integrate the various aspects of the self as fully as possible. Socially inclusive, nonjudgemental attitudes to LGB people who attend places of worship or who are religious leaders themselves will have positive consequences for LGB people as well as for the wider society in which they live.

But will the Church listen?

Tip of the hat to regular XGW commenter Jimbo.

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