In July 2007, and then again in February, 2008, I wrote the American Counseling Association Executive Committee regarding a 2006 Ethics Committee article on sexual orientation and counseling. Check the link for the full background; in short, I was not defending conversion or reparative therapy per se, but rather seeking clarification of a counselor’s ability to work with a client in harmony with that client’s religious beliefs and value direction.
Recently, ACA President, Brian Canfield wrote back to alert me to the process.
Highlights from my vantage point:
Dr. Canfield acknowledges that the ACA cannot resolve social and religious differences. He says, “While there are ardent voices on both sides of this issue, as you correctly note in your communications, there is no social consensus regarding homosexuality.”
He returns to a familiar stance at ACA: If there is no disorder, then there is no need for a treatment. He then adds:
However, to what extent a counselor may ethically engage in providing counseling services to a client who expresses conflict and dissonance over their sexual attraction/orientation with their personal, cultural or religious beliefs and values is, in my opinion, a very legitimate question which needs to be clarified.
I certainly agree.
The letter notes that my letters will be forwarded to the Ethics Committee with a request for review.
I am heartened by this response in that Dr. Canfield has taken the matter seriously and set forth an appropriate review.