Lesley Pilkington, the Christian counsellor who is being investigated by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) for giving counselling to an undercover gay reporter, has had her confidence breached once again after Patrick Strudwick released a misleading article about the hearing, while the investigation still continues, and against the express instructions of the BACP.
The Professional Conduct Hearing took place on 4th May 2011 in relation to Mrs. Pilkington providing Reparative Therapy to Mr. Strudwick. The decision was communicated to the parties on 23rd May, with a stipulation that its contents were confidential.
Reparative Therapy is recognised in the primary textbook <em>Essential Psychopathology and its Treatment</em> (2009) which reads:
“[H]omosexual orientation can be theraputically changed in motivated clients, and that reorientation therapies do not produce harm when attempted”.
Mr. Strudwick is a gay activist seeking to end the practice of Reparative Therapy. In 2009, Mr. Strudwick pretended to be a Christian individual who wished to undertake Reparative Therapy. He approached Mrs. Pilkington at a Christian conference pretending to want counselling for unwanted same-sex attraction. He attended two counselling sessions with Mrs. Pilkington during which he secretly recorded her. He then reported her to the BACP.
What happened at the Hearing on 4th May 2011:
The BACP did not question the validity and effectiveness of Reparative Therapy, and found that:
The Professional Conduct Panel found that certain procedural rules had been breached by Mrs. Pilkington, such as extending the session over the allotted hour and for failing to counsel Mr. Strudwick after a meeting with her husband whilst Mr. Strudwick was on a purported toilet visit, but in fact, his purpose of going to the toilet was to change the tapes he was using to record Mrs. Pilkington. Further, the BACP found that Mr. Strudwick was a “client” and “was the recipient of counselling related services”.
A Complaint to the Press Complaints Commission:
Lesley Pilkington said:
“I am deeply concerned that the privileged and confidential relationship between a counsellor and her patient will be undermined by a journalist seeking a sensationalist story without any substance. It is an abuse by the Guardian newspaper. Accordingly, I propose to act with restraint. I will seek to make a joint complaint with the BACP to the Press Complaints Commission in relation to the subterfuge and deceit used by Mr. Strudwick. Reparative Therapy is a valid therapy that many people want and it should not be damaged by irresponsible reporting. The hearing is still subject to an appeal.”
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre said:
“We are grateful that the decision of the Professional Conduct Committee has not questioned the validity of Reparative Therapy and individuals are still free to seek counselling services for reorientation when they choose to change their behaviour.
“Christians are being targeted and increasingly unable to access justice in this country. To think a gay activist, engaged in deception, can seek out a Christian therapist by pretending to be a Christian seeking to choose to change his behaviour, manipulate the counselling sessions for the purpose of a story, use a clandestine taping device and then report the therapist to the professional body is almost beyond belief. The fact that the BACP even entertained the complaint is wholly unacceptable. Lesley Pilkington is a caring and devoted counsellor, inspired by her Christian faith to help people. She is being persecuted by persons who dislike the love, ethics and transforming power of Christ. One can only imagine the reaction if a Christian tried to do this to a Pink therapist.”
<strong>Source:</strong> Christian Legal Center, May 27, 2011.