Senior Clergy back Christian Counsellor in 'Homosexual Treatment Trial'
Issued on behalf of Christian Legal Centre
For Immediate Release
29 January 2012
SENIOR CLERGY BACK CHRISTIAN COUNSELLOR IN ‘HOMOSEXUAL TREATMENT TRIAL’
SENIOR churchmen have backed Lesley Pilkington, a Christian Counsellor whose appeal against the decision of her professional body, The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) will be heard this week. Lesley Pilkington is to appeal and seek to have her disciplinary case ‘struck out’ on the basis that the original hearing was unfair, lacked in due process and discriminated against her Christian faith.
Lesley Pilkington is an experienced counsellor and has, in effect, been barred from her professional register after attempting to assist a homosexual client in a therapy session at her clinic at home. Her client/patientwas actually a ‘gay rights activist/journalist’ and deliberately misled the counsellor by secretly recording the sessions. He then reported her to her professional body. Mrs Pilkington was subsequently found guilty of professional misconduct – despite the claimant’s recordings not being properly disclosed or scrutinised and her world-class expert witness, being refused permission to give evidence on the issue of 'change therapy'. Her expert witness, Dr Dean Byrd, also received threats and nuisance telephone calls which were reported to the Police.
Ahead of Wednesday’s appeal against the BACP ruling, Mrs Pilkington has received backing from the Rt Rev Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Exeter, Michael Langrish, Bishop Michael Baughen, Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith, the Bishop of Chester, Peter Forster, and the former Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt, amongst others.
In their letter the Bishops claim Mrs Pilkington is herself a victim of entrapment and whose therapy should be supported. They say: “We believe that people who seek, freely, to resolve unwanted same-sex attractions hold the moral right to receive professional assistance. Whether motivated by Christian conscience or other values, clients, not practitioners, have the prerogative to choose the yardstick by which to define themselves. Not everyone stakes their identity on sexual feelings. “Competent practitioners, including those working with biblical Judeo-Christian values, should be free to assist those seeking help."
The case against Mrs Pilkington – first reported a year ago – was brought by Patrick Strudwick, a freelance journalist, who approached her at a Christian conference, posing as a Christian struggling with same-sex attraction and asking for her professional help.
In May 2009, Mr Strudwick attended a therapy session at Mrs Pilkington's private practice, based at her home in Chorleywood, Herts, and subsequently wrote an article on his ‘experience’ of it for a national newspaper, and submitted an official complaint against Mrs Pilkington with BACP.
Mrs Pilkington said: 'I was denied a fair hearing because all the evidence was not considered. If the evidence had been properly considered the result would have been different'.
The counsellor is being supported in her appeal by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which has instructed human rights barrister, Paul Diamond, to fight the case.
Andrea Williams, Director of CLC said: “Lesley Pilkington has been the subject of an ongoing, premeditated attack by a homosexual activist whose aim was to remove her from her profession and to make a political point. Her professional body has failed to protect her. She has not had a fair trial and all attempts at making her case have been thwarted. It is time to stand up to a militant homosexual lobby who are unable to tolerate difference of opinion and who seek to coerce behaviour and thought.”
For further information:
Andrea Williams 0771 2591164
Text of the letter reads as follows:
Lesley Pilkington is a practising psychotherapist who distinguishes very carefully between her non-directive counselling and the biblical and pastoral counselling which, as a Christian, she also offers. She was approached, at a conference, by a man who said he was unhappy being homosexual, and wanted her to help. Lesley explained to him that she only works in this area within a biblical Christian framework, after which he claimed that he was a Christian.
After two sessions he announced that he was in fact a gay journalist, wanting to ‘expose’ her and people like her. He then lodged complaints against her with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). He objected to the biblical Christian values used in this case of therapy, and also to the claim that ‘change is possible’ even though he had expressed his willing agreement to undergo this therapy.
Psychological care for those who are distressed by unwanted homosexual attractions has been shown to yield a range of beneficial client outcomes, especially in motivated clients. This is supported by recent empirical evidence from Byrd, Nicolosi, Shaeffer, Spitzer, Jones and Yarhouse. Such therapy does not produce harm despite the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) and others maintaining the contrary. In this area, the RCPsych seems to be guided by the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Mental Health Special Interest Group, and could therefore be partial to one view.
We believe that people who seek, freely, to resolve unwanted same-sex attractions hold the moral right to receive professional assistance. Whether motivated by Christian conscience or other values, clients, not practitioners, have the prerogative to choose the yardstick by which to define themselves. Not everyone stakes their identity on sexual feelings.
If practitioners reject or challenge a client’s right to self-determination, they risk causing potential harm to that client’s well-being. They would also be violating professional ethical codes which, among other things, call for respect for client autonomy.
The mental health profession, which professes to be sensitive and respectful towards diversity and equality, should be aware of taking a paternalistic line that says, effectively, ‘Not all clients know what is best for their lives.’ Furthermore, competent practitioners, including those working with biblical Judeo-Christian values, should be free to assist those seeking help.
FULL LIST OF SIGNATORIES
The Rt Revd Michael Baughen, former Bishop of Chester; former Member, House of Lords; former Rector, All Souls, Langham Place
The Rt Revd Colin Bazley, former Primate of the Southern Cone; former Bishop of Chile
The Rt Revd Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes
Revd Mario Bergner, President, Redeemed Lives Inc.; author, “Setting Love in Order”
Elaine Silodor Berk, Co-Director, Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH International), New Jersey, USA
Prebendary Richard Bewes OBE, former Rector, All Souls, Langham Place
Anthony Busk, Elloughton cum Brough
The Rt Revd Ken Clarke, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh
The Rt Revd Lord Carey of Clifton, former Archbishop of Canterbury
Rev Fr Paul Check, Executive Director, Courage International
Revd Graham Cotter, Vicar, St Andrews Church, Buckland Monachorum, Devon
Quentin Cross, Guildford
Dr Mike Davidson, Co-Director, Core Issues Trust, Northern Ireland
The Rt Revd Timothy Dudley-Smith, OBE, former President, Evangelical Alliance; former President, Church of England Evangelical Council; former Bishop of Thetford
The Rt Revd John Ellison, formerly Bishop of Paraguay; Hon. Assistant Bishop, Winchester
Mrs Sarah Finch, Member, General Synod, Church of England
The Lord Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, House of Lords
Dr Robert A. J. Gagnon, Associate Professor of New Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Author: “The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics”
Revd Francis Gardom, Hon. Secretary, Cost of Conscience
Arthur Goldberg, President, PATH (Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality), New Jersey, USA. Author: “Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change”
Regina Griggs, Executive Director, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX)
Miriam Grossman MD, psychiatrist and author, Los Angeles, USA. Author: “You're Teaching My Child What?: A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child”
Janelle M. Hallman LPC, Author: “The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction”
Dr Julie Hamilton LMFT, President, National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality; Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, California, USA
Robert Harris, London
Thaddeus Heffner LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Tennessee, USA
Benjamin Kaufman, MD,Co-founder, National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, California, USA
Revd Prof Dale S. Kuehne, The Richard L. Bready Chair in Ethics, Economics, and the Common Good, Saint Anselm College, New Hampshire, USA. Author: “Sex and the i World: RethinkingRelationship Beyond an Age of Individualism”
The Lord Bishop of
Pastor Peter Loo, Senior Pastor, Emmanuel Evangelical Church, Westminster, London
Dr Alan Loveless, retired GP, Frome, Somerset
Jill Mans, Greater London
Dr Peter May, retired GP; former Member, General Synod, Church of England
David Matheson LPC, The Center for Gender Wholeness, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Patricia Morgan, Sociologist. Author: “War between the State and the Family”
The Rt Revd Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester; former Member, House of Lords; President, Oxtrad
Revd Prof John Nolland, Academic Dean, Trinity College, Bristol; Visiting Professor, University of Bristol
Dr Lisa Nolland, Co-editor: “God, Gays and the Church”
Dermot O’ Callaghan, Member, General Synod, Church of Ireland
James Parker, EnCourage, London facilitator
Professor David Paton, Nottingham University Business School
Baxter Peffer MS NCC, Counsellor, Connecticut, USA
Revd Paul Perkin, Chair, Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans UK
David H. Pickup, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, California, USA
The Rt Revd David Pytches, former Bishop of Chile, Bolivia and Peru
Revd Charles Raven, Rector, Christ Church Wyre Forest; Director, SPREAD. Author: “Shadow Gospel: Rowan Williams and the Anglican Communion Crisis”
Revd Lynda Rose, Trustee, LIFE
Dr Christopher Rosik, President-Elect, National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, California, USA
The Venerable Norman Russell, The Archdeacon of Berkshire. Former Prolocutor, Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury
Canon Dr Vinay Samuel, Chairman, Divya Shanthi Trust, Bangalore, India; Exec Secretary, PIM ASIA, Oxford, UK
Jeffrey Satinover MD PhD, Author: “Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth”. Former William James Lecturer in Psychology and Religion, Harvard University
Revd Dr Nigel Scotland, Hon Research Fellow, University of Gloucestershire; Tutor, Trinity College, Bristol
The Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt, Former Bishop of Winchester; former Member, House of Lords
The Rt Revd Maurice Sinclair, Honorary Assistant Bishop of Birmingham, formerly Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone of America
David Skinner, Dorset
Dr Trevor Stammers, Author: “Saving Sex”. Retired GP
Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream. Member, General Synod, Church of England
Dr. Philip M. Sutton LP LMFT, LCSW, Licensed Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker; Director, International Federation for Therapeutic Choice, Los Angeles, USA
Keith Tiller, Founder-Director, Parakaleo Ministry
Dr Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg, Psychotherapist, Aerdenhout , Netherlands
Robert L. Vazzo MMFT, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Los Angeles, California, USA
Dr Christl Ruth Vonholdt, Director, German Institute for Youth and Society, Reichelsheim, Germany
Professor William Wagner, Professor of Law; former federal judge in U.S. Courts, former, diplomat
Canon Nigel Walker, former Chancellor, Anglican Pro Cathedral, Brussels
Norman Wells, Director, Family Education Trust
Dr Gordon Wenham, Emeritus Professor, University of Gloucestershire
Andrea Williams, CEO, Christian Legal Centre and Christian Concern
Revd Dr Hadden Wilson, Pastor Emeritus, Ballynahinch Baptist Church, Northern Ireland
Dennis Wrigley, Leader, Maranatha Community
Rich Wyler, Founder & Director, People Can Change, Ruckersville, Virginia, USA
Revd Thomas Yap, Anglican Chaplain
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