Engaging mental health service providers to recognize and support conversion practice survivors through their journey to recovery

Joel R. Anderson*, Timothy W. Jones, Jennifer Power, Tiffany M. Jones, Nathan Despott, Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Percy Gurtler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Conversion practices include a range of efforts that attempt to change or suppress LGBTQA+ individuals’ sexual or gender identity. Formal versions of these practices are occurring less frequently in Western settings, yet informal versions and the ideology underpinning them continue to cause psychological and spiritual harm to people who are subjected to them. As evidence for the harmful nature of conversion practices increases, and some governments and professional bodies are responding with measures that restrict their use, there is a growing need for the mental health sector to be engaged with these issues so that practitioners are appropriately prepared to recognize and support survivors in ways that are effective and affirming of sexual and gender diversity. In this paper, we review the state of the evidence concerning associated harms and their lack of efficacy in changing sexuality or gender identity, and highlight the changing nature of research in this space to focus on the negative impacts of conversion practices on survivors. We then discuss the evidence around mental health practitioners’ knowledge and support capacity for conversion practices survivors. We close by commenting on specific features of therapeutic practices that can guide practitioners as they support survivors through the recovery process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-25
Number of pages6
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number1
Early online date13 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2024. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • conversion practice
  • conversion therapy
  • SOCE
  • LGBT


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