ACA President Canfield promises Ethics Committee review

In July 2007, and then again in February, 2008, I wrote the American Counseling Association Executive Committee regarding a 2006 Ethics Committee article on sexual orientation and counseling. Check the link for the full background; in short, I was not defending conversion or reparative therapy per se, but rather seeking clarification of a counselor’s ability to work with a client in harmony with that client’s religious beliefs and value direction.

Recently, ACA President, Brian Canfield wrote back to alert me to the process.

Highlights from my vantage point:

Dr. Canfield acknowledges that the ACA cannot resolve social and religious differences. He says, “While there are ardent voices on both sides of this issue, as you correctly note in your communications, there is no social consensus regarding homosexuality.”

He returns to a familiar stance at ACA: If there is no disorder, then there is no need for a treatment. He then adds:

However, to what extent a counselor may ethically engage in providing counseling services to a client who expresses conflict and dissonance over their sexual attraction/orientation with their personal, cultural or religious beliefs and values is, in my opinion, a very legitimate question which needs to be clarified. 

I certainly agree.

The letter notes that my letters will be forwarded to the Ethics Committee with a request for review.

I am heartened by this response in that Dr. Canfield has taken the matter seriously and set forth an appropriate review.

2 thoughts on “ACA President Canfield promises Ethics Committee review”

  1. Warren,

    I absolutely agree – it IS a legitimate question that needs to be clarified. And its worth stating that just because someone is at odds with their sexuality, that doesn’t mean that they want to CHANGE (whatever that means), their sexuality – their dissonance could also be addressed, if they wished, by gay affirmative therapy. It would require the therapist to be more engaged in such a discussion with their clients though. And if the client isn’t sure what to do about their dissonance we are going to need educated therapists to aid in helping the client reach such a decision 🙂

  2. I think harm can be done both ways – by insisting that somone accept a counselor’s position or belief system. Some people cannot live as gay people. They also need a place to define how they will live. Not everyone is going to be driven by their sexuality.

    And some people cannot live in constant struggle with their sexuality and are driven more by that and come to different conclusions about what their sexuality means to them.

    Is it right that someone else or a group of others determine for you or for me which one we will live by??

Comments are closed.