Geraint Davies Labour and Co-operative MP for Swansea West has today published a Bill in Parliament to regulate Councillors and psychotherapists, to ban the use of so called ‘gay to straight’ conversion therapy, and so protect people from being groomed or sexually exploited by therapists.
Despite being condemned by every major professional body in the UK, conversion therapy is still being offered to patients, with some even referred to therapy by their GPs.
Mr Davies’ Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Regulation) Bill was formally published in Parliament today. The Bill would require all therapists to register with a Government-approved body and anyone found to be offering treatments like conversion therapy would be struck off and banned from working as a therapist in the UK.
Speaking shortly before the Bill was Published Mr Davies said:
“This year a million Britons will seek psychotherapy, but currently anyone can set themselves up as a psychotherapist with no training or recourse for the patient when something goes wrong.
“This gives a free rein to those offering bogus treatments like conversion therapy. It’s a scandal that someone can offer this discredited, so-called treatment and still call themselves a professional therapist.
“The only way to stop this awful practice is to make regulation compulsory and to strike off anyone attempting to “cure” a person’s sexual orientation.”
The Bill also seeks to stop any registered councillor or psychotherapist from grooming any person for unlawful or inappropriate sexual activity and engaging in any sexual activity with a patient or client.
Mr Davies said “Many vulnerable people are seeking professional help for mental health difficulties and some are facing being groped and sexually groomed by people who they see as being trained professionals.
“My bill will stop the abuse of clients by therapists who are naturally in a position of trust and can sometimes abuse their position”.
The move has cross-party backing with MPs from Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru all co-sponsoring the Bill. Earlier this year Mr. Davies proposed a parliamentary motion calling for the regulation of therapists which was backed by 53 MPs.
Mr. Davies also wrote to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about the claim that the NHS was paying for conversion therapy sessions and has raised the matter several times in the House of Commons.