For a number of years, VACP has supported efforts to prohibit “conversion therapy” in Virginia.  To address this issue, some licensing Boards under the Virginia Department of Health Professions are considering a work group to address this issue.  As a result, the VACP Board of Directors has formally adopted this as a position statement of VACP.

Significant research by both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association substantiates that “conversion therapy” should be prohibited in that it has the potential to be harmful to patients.  “Conversion therapy,” or, efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation” shall mean any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender. "Conversion therapy" does not include counseling that provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition, or counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person, or facilitates a person's coping, social support, and identity exploration and development.  This includes sexual-orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, as long as such counseling does not seek to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity. 

It is the stance of VACP that “Conversion therapy” should be considered as a violation of standards practice in that rendering such services is considered to have real potential of jeopardizing the health and well being of patients.

The above should be promptly adopted, as an emergency regulation if possible, and adopted such that this regulatory policy applies to any person licensed by a regulatory Board of the Virginia Department of Health Professions who performs counseling as part of their training, including those professions licensed by the Boards of Psychology, Counseling, Nurses and Medicine (meaning all such Boards would adopt such)

It is suggested that The Virginia Board of Psychology proceed immediately with the promulgation of such a regulation so as to set an example for other Boards under the Department of Health Professions.


Approved by VACP Board of Directors
May 7, 2018