Following recent case law, and the publication of the interim Cass Review report, the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) is today issuing a statement on the law regarding gender-critical views and its implications for the practice of psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic counselling. This statement is also being made to highlight the fact that exploratory therapy must not be conflated with conversion therapy.
Case law has confirmed that gender-critical beliefs (which include the belief that sex is biological and immutable, people cannot change their sex and sex is distinct from gender-identity) are protected under the Equality Act 2010. Individuals who hold such beliefs must therefore not be discriminated against.
Psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors who hold such views are likely to believe that the clinically most appropriate approach to working therapeutically with individuals who present with gender dysphoria, particularly children and young people, is exploratory therapy, rather than medicalised interventions such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones or reassignment surgery.
The exploratory approach can, of course, be taken whether or not the practitioner has sympathy with gender-critical views, with effective UKCP practitioners not allowing their own personal views to impede or bias an open, genuinely exploratory approach.