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Protecting Counselors Amid “Conversion Therapy” Debate by Gabe Lyons

Can gay people become straight? Is human sexuality modifiable? Are we really still discussing this?

Yes, according to U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb, who controversially ruled last week. that three licensed psychotherapists have the right to practice therapy that attempts to change the sexual orientations of gay and lesbian minors.

At the heart of this controversy is the idea that same-sex attraction is not a permanent and inborn condition but an aberration often rooted in childhood trauma. Few of these therapists promise patients will emerge from their programs “straight.” Rather, they seek to provide guidance, counsel and tools to help reframe desire, its nature and its ends.

Gay activists claim such therapy shame patients and repress natural desires. Proponents of civil liberties support it, believing the greater threat is limiting a client’s right or the therapist’s abilities.

So, if a client asks for this kind of help, should we prevent a counselor from offering it?