5 April 2024
UKCP's recent withdrawal from the MoU2 on conversion therapy

On the eve of the 25th Anniversary celebration of Pink Therapy (the UK’s first and largest organisation created to help LGBTQIA+ clients and therapists to have a better experience in the counselling world), the current UKCP leadership has announced its withdrawal as a signatory of the current version of the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy (MoU2) (and from being a member of the coalition).

The withdrawal apparently comes about because the MoU2 includes conversion therapy against children, and the current UKCP board would appear to disagree with this stance. This is despite the UKCP being part of a coalition of professionals that is fully aware that conversion therapy impacts young LGBTQIA+ people. There is no evidence that suggests that conversion therapy works (and indeed, UKCP’s own website still states that they expect practitioners not to engage with conversion therapy) and extensive evidence exists that it is harmful.

We remain unclear about why including children (some of our most vulnerable potential clients) in a ban on conversion therapy is perceived as a negative. Statistics concerning homeless people show a significant over-representation of LGBTQIA+ people, including homeless youth. These statistics, considering the existence of the LGBTQIA+ child, suggest that children and young people are at significant risk of being forced into some kind of conversion therapy (or risk losing their home). The current UKCP leadership suggests that it does not disagree with the notion that ‘conversion therapy is bad’, but with the idea that ‘children’ and ‘young people’ should be included in the ban. We hold that if conversion therapy is bad (and we know from evidence that it is), then the age of the person does not actually matter. Conversion therapy kills. That does not change when someone reaches 18.

UKCP’s statement suggests that their concerns have not been listened to on “a number of occasions”, however, the fact that they voluntarily signed the MoU version 2 several years after they mention these concerns suggests that this is in fact a position change by UKCP, rather than an ongoing issue, where the wording for the MoU2 would have been robustly discussed as part of coalition membership.

Not only does this move potentially leave LGBTQIA+ clients undefended but also leaves the many queer and cisgender straight therapists who are UKCP members, and queer and cisgender straight trainees on UKCP-accredited courses feeling blindsided, betrayed and demoralised that a membership organisation they have either chosen to join, or are required to join as part of their training or job commitments, and no longer represents them safely. The UKCP has happily taken members’ membership fees and then made a unilateral decision not in the best interests of the membership, the profession, or clients, and indeed has done so entirely without consultation with its paying members. Who then does the UKCP represent?

UKCP’s current Board of trustees have made this unilateral decision, with no discussion or consultation with the UKCP membership as a whole, many of whom find themselves disgusted by an apparent ‘knee-jerk’ response, with no parallel documentation in place to apparently achieve the same aim (the withdrawal letter states their own policy on conversion therapy will be created). This comes after the UKCP repeatedly refused to respond to invitations for dialogue about serious concerns raised by multiple UKCP members, Members’ Forum Representatives as well as over a thousand signatories of Therapists Against Conversion Therapy and Transphobia (TACTT)’s open letter (last updated in January 2024). This letter was initiated as a result of the UKCP’s recent position concerning the promotion of so-called 'exploratory therapy' for so called 'gender-critical' therapists, again without any consultation of its UKCP members or concerned therapists and clients.

This latest decision made by the current UKCP leadership seeks to undermine the efforts of a broad-based coalition of professional organisations, respectfully working together for a number of years to achieve the agreed goal of ending conversion therapy. Undermining several years’ work and broad-based professional opinion that conversion therapy is harmful seems to be a retrograde step. Given the current climate of discrimination which has led to a record rise in violence against LGBTQIA+ people, this action of withdrawal from the MoU2 is an act of hostility which would not be supported by the UKCP membership, clients, or other stakeholders who are LGBTQIA+ or allies if they were consulted.

We suggest that the UKCP has acted against its own code of ethics (point 32) in making this decision. We firstly call upon UKCP’s board to reverse this decision made on behalf of its membership and other stakeholders without consent or any form of referendum, to establish members’ agreement with such action, with immediate effect.

Secondly we call on UKCP members to join us in calling for a vote of no confidence in the UKCP board, and in calling for their removal from office by a removal election. This letter serves as the petition calling for this, which needs to be signed by 2% of the membership (approximately 250 UKCP members, based on UKCP’s current listed membership statistics).

Join us in letting UKCP know that conversion practices for any age of client are not acceptable, and the most ethical way to ensure that clients are safely held in this regard is by adherence to the membership code, supported by UKCP being an MoU2 signatory.

We the undersigned, agree with the text above.

If you are a UKCP current member, please state this next to your name.

Update 05 April 2024

UPDATE

Please make sure you state you are a UKCP member in the ‘affiliation’ or ‘name’ section!

Update 06 April 2024

Resources for taking further action

You can visit our blog to get further ideas for taking action here: therapistsagainsttransphobia.org/2024/04/06/how-to...

Update 09 April 2024

PLEASE verify your email

We’ve become aware that a small number of people aren’t getting verification emails. If you don’t get an email straight away, please would you try with a different address?

Update 09 April 2024

Please verify your email

We’ve become aware that a small number of people aren’t getting verification emails. If you don’t get an email straight away, please would you try with a different address?

1,588
signatures
1,487 verified
  1. LJ Potter, Psychotherapist and academic, Private practice, Stafford
  2. Sophie Hickson, Trainee systemic and family psychotherapist, Kings college (training), London
  3. Danny van Deurzen-Smith, Deputy Principal, NSPC, London
  4. Tristan Brooks, Psychotherapist, NCPS Senior Accredited Registrant, Bristol
  5. Sarah Favier, Systemic Family Psychotherapist, UKCP registered, Birmingham
  6. J F Evans, Psychotherapist and researcher, Private Practice, Glasgow
  7. Gail Simon, Psychotherapist, The Pink Practice, London
  8. Faye mcdonell, Family and systemic psychotherapist, Private practice & NHS, Cambridge
  9. Erin Stevens, Counsellor, Ilkley
  10. Alec Warner, Trainee Psychotherapist, Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute, Leicester
  11. Jenny O'Gorman, Psychotherapist, Gloucester
  12. Katie Fisher, Trainee Person Centred & Experiential Psychotherapist, Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute, Sheffield
  13. Diana Hurwitz, Trainee Psychotherapist, Sherwood Psychotherapy Institute, Nottingham
  14. David-John Cooke, Therapist, York
  15. Kathryn Nawrockyi, Counsellor (BACP) & trainee psychotherapist (UKCP), The Minster Centre, London
  16. Addison Raven, Psychotherapist & academic, Private practice & SPTI, Nottingham
  17. Ambika Erin Connelly UKCP member, Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Trainer, Private Practice, Derby and Trainer SPTI, Nottingham, Derby England
  18. Salvo La Rosa UKCP reg, Integrative Psychotherapist, Private Practice, London
  19. Rachael Peacock, Person-centred Psychotherapist, UKCP Member, London
  20. Anna Morelle-Grey MBACP, Psychotherapist / Counsellor, Clearview Counselling & Psychotherapy, Cardiff
...
1,447 more
verified signatures
  1. Luanne Grima, DMP Trainee, University of Derby, Derby
  2. Hsun Fok, DMP trainee, University of Derby, Derby
  3. Deepanjali, Dance movement psychotherapy trainee, UNIVERSITY OF DERBY, DERBY
  4. Melina Maliogka, DMP trainee (ADMP), University of Derby, Leicester
  5. Niranjana Sajan, DMP Trainee, University of Derby, Derby
  6. Mariana Jindřichová, Trainee, ADMP, Derby
  7. Holly Boden, Counselling & Wellbeing Coordinator, Sheffield
  8. Alexandra Michael, Psychotherapist, Enfield
  9. Gemma Latimer, UKCP Gestalt Psychotherapist, Kindling Therapy, Glasgow
  10. Paolo Plotegher, Psychoterapist, Queen Margaret University, Glasgow
  11. Elizabeth Pittock, Psychotherapist, LP Psychotherapy, Glasgow
  12. Alexander Lopez-Glynne, trainee therapist, Alex Glynne Psychotherapy, Falmouth
  13. Vanessa Lindley UKCP member, Trainee Psychotherapist, Coventry
  14. Tanja van Oudtshoorn, Psychotherapist, Private practice, London
  15. Mark Chidgey, Systemic Family Therapist, AFT, London
  16. Sarah Wood, Therapist, Private Practice, London
  17. Jon Musker, Trainee Psychotherapist, Metanoia Institute, London
  18. Pippa Bolger, Counsellor & social worker, Milton Keynes
  19. Stephanie Lockett, Psychotherapist, Private Practice, Nottinghamshire
  20. Frances Thompson UKCP student member, Trainee children's psychotherapeutic counsellor, University of Cambridge (student), Cambridge
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