Leslie Pilkington, the Christian therapist suspended from practice after offering to help turn a gay client straight, has had her appeal rejected by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
The hearing that led to her suspension found her conduct “reckless,” “disrespectful,” “dogmatic” and “unprofessional,” and concluded that she let her “personal preconceived views about gay lifestyle and sexual orientation … affect her professional relationship in a way that was prejudicial.”
Although several high-profile Christian leaders rushed shamelessly to her defence, the facts of the case are clear. She told her client, undercover journalist Patrick Strudwick, his “same-sex attraction” could be traced to a family history of Freemasonry, which has “a spiritual effect on males … [which] often comes out as SSA.” Absolute quackery, and Strudwick denied any masonic connections anyway.
She told Strudwick that bullying and low self-esteem were part of his problem. He denied experiencing either.
Finally, she told him he had been molested as a child. He denied it at least twice, and she insisted he had repressed the memory. She prayed that his memories of childhood sexual abuse would “come to the surface.” Eventually, she told him it had probably taken place within his family.
As the BACP rightly concluded, Pilkington’s behaviour was an outrageous abuse of her professional role as a therapist. Note that the suggestion Strudwick could change his sexual orientation didn’t even come into the verdict. Her ruthless and irresponsible peddling of pseudoscientific, religious claims about the origins of her client’s SSA were damning enough.
Image: Channel 4