"We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice,
we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself." Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison (1943-1945)

The ‘Therapy vs Discipleship’ debate

A new wave of teaching in the church of Christ has revised a very ancient misunderstanding of how we are to appreciate our humanity as composed of our created bodies and our spirits - the spiritual capacity Christians believe humans are endowed with. Gnosticism, in all its many permeatations, distingusied in value between the two and controversies raged throughout the early centures of church hostory.  In simplistic terms, spirituality was valued while the functions of the body and our material existence was devalued. 

The writings of the Apostle Paul, for example, leant themselves well to this false dichotomy...


Another dichotomy now establishing itself on both sides of the Atlantic, is that which distinguises between a 'Biblical' approach to unwanted same-sex attractions, and what is offered via therapeutic interventions.  This distinction seems to be mutually exclusive, and its parts unable to co-exist - especially if therapists offer Change Oriented Therapy (COT).  Christian counsellors and psychotherapists who offer Sexual Identity Therapy (SIT) or who support clients in behavioural modification towards abstinance and celibacy (SIT) do find acceptance.  The issue is 'change'.

According to the Association of Christian Counsellors' Ethics and Practice Frame work, there are four guiding principles to be taken into account when evaluating any therapeutic modality, as follows"


a) Counsellors / therapists do not make assumptions that the client is looking for a particular outcome
b) Do not allow counsellors/ therapists to suggest,impose, advertise that therapy would achievea particular outcome / change etc.
c) Counsellors / therapists do not make the achievement of a particular outcome (determined by the counsellor/therapist), be the measure by which success / failure of the therapy is determined
d) Counsellors / therapists do not impose a particular moral standpoint or belief system on theclient.


We have considered Reparative (or Conversion) Therapy by these principles and have decided that it does not fit the above criteria for the following reasons:

(i) Its language implies that sexuality can be ‘repaired’ and so introduces the idea of treatment or cure.
(ii) Where it is proposed, advertised, or practiced as a therapy, it suggests that a specific outcome is possible and appears to make an a-priori assumption that it should happen. This would not fit any of the above guiding principles.
(iii) It is incompatible with the Equality Act 2010.

For this reason, we do not endorse Reparative or Conversion Therapy or any model that implies a predetermined direction of outcome of counselling at the outset. We recognize that such models have the potential to impose situational demands on the client at a time of vulnerability with the potentia l to create harm and therefore view them as incompatible within the ethos of counselling.