Christian counsellor faces being struck off after trying to help change homosexual

A Christian counsellor has been summoned before a professional conduct panel after trying to help an undercover homosexual journalist who posed as a Christian wanting to change his sexual orientation.

Lesley Pilkington, 60, will face the panel on Thursday to defend herself against a formal complaint made by Patrick Strudwick, a freelance journalist who secretly recorded two therapy sessions with Mrs Pilkington.

He approached Mrs Pilkington at a Christian conference where he told her that he wanted help in leaving his homosexual lifestyle. He contacted her after the conference and asked for an appointment.

Unaware that he was a journalist working undercover, Mrs Pilkington agreed to help Mr Strudwick and she held two therapy sessions with him.

According to the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Mrs Pilkington’s legal defence, Mr Strudwick repeatedly told her during the sessions that he wanted to leave his homosexual lifestyle.

However, following the sessions Mr Strudwick lodged a complaint with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, alleging that Mrs Pilkington had tried to force her beliefs on him, thereby breaching the principle of patient autonomy.

Mr Strudwick’s report based on the sessions was published in the Independent and he was later awarded Journalist of the Year by gay rights group Stonewall. He has since become a campaigner against therapies aimed at converting homosexuals and runs the campaign group, Stop Conversion Therapy Taskforce.

The CLC believes Mrs Pilkington is the victim of the deliberate targeting of Christians by the homosexual lobby.

The BACP’s proceedings against her note her “praying to God to heal him [Mr Strudwick] of his homosexuality” and an “agenda that homosexuality is wrong”.

The CLC is angry that Mrs Pilkington appears to be facing investigation for her view that homosexuals can be changed.

“Rather than breaching his autonomy, Lesley provided exactly what was asked of her,” said Andrea Minichiello Williams, Chief Executive of the CLC.

“It is shocking that she was targeted, lied to and misrepresented by this homosexual activist and even worse that her professional body consider her actions worthy of investigation.

“It seems that what the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy object to is Lesley Pilkington holding the professional and personal view that sexual orientation is not fixed.

“Many people have come forward to say that they have stopped the practice of homosexuality and many well respected professionals also believe that ‘change is possible’, yet when this is the basis on which Lesley offered therapy, she is hauled before her professional body.”

Mrs Pilkington is challenging the complaint on the grounds that sexual orientation is a lifestyle choice and that therapists should be allowed to offer their expertise to people seeking to change their sexual orientation without fear of losing their job or professional credentials.

Mrs Minichiello Williams added: “The equalities and anti-discrimination agendas are undermining the freedom of individuals to choose to change their lifestyles. These laws are leading to the elimination of a fundamental human right.”