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Christian counsellor receives backing from Lord Carey

Lesley Pilkington tells her story

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Lord Carey, along with other senior figures, has co-signed a letter of support for Lesley Pilkington that she should be able to continue providing her therapy.

Lesley Pilkington is a Christian counsellor and psychotherapist who was approached by an undercover homosexual rights journalist at a largely Christian conference in 2009.

The journalist convinced her that he had unwanted same-sex attractions and needed her counselling assistance. He later attended several sessions with Lesley at her home where he secretly recorded her. He subsequently attacked her in the press and complained to her professional body, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

During the BACP investigation, the journalists secret recordings were not properly disclosed or scrutinised and Lesley's world-class expert witness, Dr Dean Byrd, was refused permission to give evidence on the effectiveness of her type of therapy. He also received threats and nuisance telephone calls which were reported to the Police.

The BACP is now hindering Lesley from practising, and Lesley will be appealing its decision on 30 January 2012, seeking to have her disciplinary case ‘struck out’ on the basis that the original hearing was unfair, lacked in due process and discriminated against her Christian faith.


Mrs Pilkington has now received backing from the Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. In a letter of support, Lord Carey, along with a number of senior figures, suggests that Lesley is a victim of entrapment whose therapy should be supported.

The letter has been co-signed by, among others, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Wallace Benn, the Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Rev Michael Langrish, the Bishop of Exeter and the Rt Rev Peter Forster, the Bishop of Chester.

It said: “We believe that people who seek, freely, to resolve unwanted same-sex attractions hold the moral right to receive professional assistance.

“Whether motivated by Christian conscience or other values, clients, not practitioners, have the prerogative to choose the yardstick by which to define themselves.

“Psychological care for those who are distressed by unwanted same-sex attractions has been shown to yield a range of beneficial client outcomes.”

It concludes: "Competent practitioners, including those working with biblical Judeo-Christian values, should be free to assist those seeking help."

Key Cases

The action comes amid a number of key legal cases involving Christians and their right either to express their faith or to stand by their beliefs that homosexual practice is wrong.

Christian counsellor Gary McFarlane was sacked because, on a staff training day, he mentioned that he may possibly have a conscientious objection to providing directive sex therapy to homosexual couples.

And magistrate Andrew McClintock was forced to resign after not being allowed to opt-out of cases where he would have to place children with homosexual couples.

Legitimacy of therapy

Lesley claims that her method of therapy is legitimate and effective. The method involves behavioural, psychoanalytical and religious techniques.

The primary and most prominent psychiatric textbook used in both the United States and the United Kingdom (Essential Psychopathology and its Treatment, Third Edition (2009)) states:

“Recent empirical evidence demonstrates that homosexual orientation can indeed by therapeutically changed in motivated clients, and that reorientation therapies do not produce harm when attempted.”


Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:

“Lesley is a wonderful Christian counsellor who has practised for many years with an unblemished record. When a young man asked for help to change his behaviour, she was happy to give it. Rather than breaching his autonomy, Lesley provided exactly what was asked of her. 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.

“We are standing by Lesley and believe that in a civilised society, therapy should remain freely available for those who wish to change their homosexual behaviour, without the fear of intimidation and threats by the homosexual lobby.

“Do we really want to live in a country where people who believe that homosexuals can change their behaviour are hounded from their professions? This is not an isolated case and this assault on freedom must stop.”


Press Release and full copy of letter co-signed by Lord Carey and others

Huffington Post

Daily Telegraph


Christian Legal Centre: Lesley Pilkington

Christian Concern: Religious Freedom