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A CHRISTIAN quack, parading as a “psychotherapist”, has lost her appeal against a malpractice finding by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). An investigation arose following her attempt to foist a “gay cure” on an undercover journalist.

BCAP’s unanimous verdict against Lesley Pilkington was today applauded by the gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT).

PTT Secretary, George Broadhead, commented:

This is a very important verdict. Treatments which attempt to ‘cure’ homosexuality are morally objectionable because they imply that homosexuality is a disease. They have no scientific foundation and have been condemned by the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, as well as in the recent judgement by the BACP.

He added:

Therapies which claim to be able to ‘cure’ homosexuality are completely discredited. Nevertheless, to their shame, they have been supported by prominent religious figures such as the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, the former Bishop of Rochester Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, as well as the lobby group Christian Concern, all of whom supported Lesley Pilkington.

The complaint against Pilkington that began this case was made by the award-winning journalist Patrick Strudwick, who was investigating therapists who claim to be able to “treat” homosexuality. Strudwick, who is gay, received two counselling sessions from Mrs Pilkington in 2009, in which she used the techniques of 'conversion therapy' (also known as 'reparative therapy') in an attempt to turn him 'straight'l.

The treatment, which also involved praying to God to make Strudwick straight, failed.

The BACP said that:

The appeal panel is unanimous that Mrs. Pilkington failed to exercise reasonable care and skill and was thus negligent.

The panel also said it was “entirely wrong” for Pilkington to suggest that Strudwick had been sexually abused as a child, and that this:

Falls below the standard to be expected of a reasonably competent practitioner.

The BACP has suspended Mrs Pilkington’s accreditation, and have ordered her to submit a report between four and 12 months from now, in which she will have to demonstrate that she has changed her practice to meet the BACP’s requirements. 

Strudwick said:

I am delighted that the BACP has upheld their original decision. Mrs Pilkington’s therapeutic practices have been held up to scrutiny and found to be fundamentally flawed.

He added:

This case sets a vital precedent.  I urge anyone involved in this harmful practice to take note of this case and desist.  Love needs no cure.

Pilkington is now complaining that  counsellors who held views like hers are at risk of being shut down:


They simply won’t operate in this area at all, they won’t offer the possibility of change. Christians will think twice about using traditional biblical Christian counselling methods. It will definitely close people down, it will definitely engender a climate of fear.

Her abortive appeal was supported by Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern and director of the Christian Legal Centre. Williams said:


A truly tolerant society would allow for this therapy to continue, not to treat it with suspicion and those who practise it with suspicion. Lesley has been penalised because she was targeted as a Christian and because she believes that people are free to choose to change their behaviour if they wish.

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