According to reports, a threat against a witness for UK reparative Lesley Pilkington has postponed her hearing before the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy. I have heard through sources there that the threat is being investigated. Ms. Pilkington is being scrutinized due to her statements about homosexuality made to Patrick Strudwick, a journalist who went undercover to find out how a reparative therapist operated.
On the 17th, Ms. Pilkington went on radio to explain her approach and discuss the situation. Click the link to hear the broadcast.
In it, she refers to the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) as the largest reparative therapy organization in the world. I suppose it is, but she doesn’t mention that there are fewer than 100o members, with a smaller subset actually having advanced mental health degrees.
When asked by the host how one can convert someone from gay to straight, Ms. Pilkington said surveys show that “daddy issues,” namely relationship with father is the main factor involved. She says that the bond is the problem, but then hastens to add that “we’re not blaming parents, I am not blaming any father at all.” Hearing the contradiction, the host asks if Pilkington’s husband failed their son (he is gay), and she answered, “we don’t use words like that.” However, she then says, “there were serious mistakes” and adds that there was “a failure at some level.”
This kind of double speak is typical of my interactions with reparative therapists. Pilkington says reparative therapists don’t use the word fail, and then she uses it in the next breath. Reparative therapists often say they are not blaming the parents, and then proceed to do so.
Mrs. Pilkington then says she seeks to bring healing in her therapy because “there will always be pain.” No doubt in any therapy situation, one can find something that is painful. However, finding pain in the life of someone who is gay does not mean that it relates to the cause of the sexual orientation. Furthermore, many gays with warm, loving parents would have to manufacture problems in order to meet up with Mrs. Pilkington’s expectations.
Finally, Pilkington conflates spiritual healing with the repair of some kind of parent-child break. She believes God can heal the relationship problems which she is sure are at the root of the same-sex attraction. Sadly, when the religious techniques don’t work to effect change, as is often true, the result can be despair and a sense of failure. I know of young men who have become disillusioned with their faith, leaving it since it promised change without delivering on the promise.