Christian Psychologist tries to ‘convert’ gay man into a heterosexual

When I first caught wind of this news title, I was sickened to the back teeth. Who has a right to go round ‘converting’ people’s sexuality? It seems like an absolute disgrace.

But once I researched a little bit more, there were two sides to the story.The Telegraph had reported that Mrs. Lesley Pilkington faces being struck off as a psychologist after breaching the terms that are imposed on her as a professional.

Mrs Pilkington  practises what is known as “reparative therapy”. This is a controversial method of therapy which holds that homosexual orientation can be “theraputically changed” in clients who are enthused to want a sexuality change to occur.

A supposed Mr Strudwick (who was actually an undercover journalist) met Mrs Pilkington in 2009 at a Christian conference which discussed the therapy of homosexuality. He told her he said he was unhappy with his gay lifestyle and that he wanted treatment for his same-sex attraction.

Being tricked into this situation, Mrs Pilkington agreed and began therapy on Mr Strudwick as he had asked. He recorded the therapy sessions in order to compile evidence against Mrs Pilkington, which would then be sent to BACP, which governs the conduct of Psychologists.

A decision by the BACP panel was made earlier this week but the BACP advised that the matter was kept confidential while Mrs Pilkington considered whether to use her right to an appeal.

Ignoring this information, Mr Strudwick wrote about the BACP’s decision for the Guardian newspaper. Mrs Pilkington then issued her own press statement through the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting her case. The BACP has declined to comment, stating that the process has not yet concluded.

The disciplinary panel described Mrs Pilkington as “reckless”, “disrespectful”, “dogmatic” and “unprofessional” and ruled that her treatment of him constituted “professional malpractice”. In retaliation, the Christian Legal Centre have stated that Mrs Pilkington has been misled and abused.

Which party is right here?

I would conclude that none of them are. Let’s take each of the characters in this event one at a time…

Mrs. Pilkington: I hardly know ANYTHING about psychology, but something tells me that some form of special ‘therapy’ isn’t going to change the sexuality of a person. I mean, I could be wrong. But anyhow, what is this woman DOING? From a *normal* Christian point of view, a person’s sexuality is something to be discussed between that person and God. It certainly isn’t an illness or disease that has to be ‘cured’ in a medical sense. I find the fact that this sort of therapy is going a little disturbing. HOWEVER, if there are gay people who are unhappy with their sexuality and want to go to these sort of psychologists for treatment, then who are we to say that they shouldn’t?

Mr. Strudwick: He went to Mrs. Pilkington on false pretenses, misled her, and to be quite honest, sought for a fight. He found one, and has decided to milk it for all it’s worth. This just sounds like another way to get the issue of homosexuality back in the press, and, yet again, to try and paint Christians in a bad light, by which one MP would label as ‘British persecution of Christians’.

What is going on in this country at the moment?! I think it’s fair to say that this whole story is a load of rubbish. It’s morally flawed on both sides, and has turned out to be a huge set up. All this is going to do is make both parties angry and upset. Let’s not buy into this and speak truth into this situation.


Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @

  • AJ

    If a christian is suffering from sin then I think it is right for a fellow christian to help them come out of this sin, but then it sounds here like that is being done by some kind of manipulation as opposed to help being rooted in the word of God. It does get a bit confusing however when we’re talking about issues such as ones sexuality which have been described as ‘genetic’ although our genes have been shown to have different activity due to our surroundings, talking of epigenetics. So if our environment can force an effect upon our genetic makeup should it be looked down upon if somebody wishes to change that througha proposed method of psychology?

  • Eva

    Psychology was my major for 3 years until I switched, so I know reparative therapy is pretty much damaging at worst and just doesn’t work at best. While we only touched on it at school I knew what resources to check out for research and things like that. The APA conducted a multi-year report on the effectiveness of reparative therapy and found none. What I liked in that report, and that some others didn’t, was that it gave credence to religious perspective and acknowledges that sometimes people can be happier living in accordance to how they think they should live, so talked about things like religious counseling helping. It simply said that professional, psychological counseling to change your sexuality doesn’t work.

    As for what happened here, the fact that she was tricked is horrible. Still, as a practicing psychologist, I feel in her professional life she should have been aware of the fact that if anyone found out about it she’d be in trouble. Though I am gay and staunchly against reparative therapy, I don’t think that she should have gotten in so much trouble especially because it was a trick, and I don’t think that psychologists who do want to offer such therapy should in general get in much trouble and take as much heat as they do. From what I’ve learned, the methods are usually kooky and the patient can get hurt, so therapy that has been found to be non-effective should be careful monitored, but not clamped down on like it is.

    Even though I’ve grown to despise psychology, I could still talk about it forever >.< What is wrong with me.

  • Rosanna

    love these blogs Dean, keep em comin!

    • Thanks Rosanna! Will do – every day! 🙂