Two bills written to interfere with licensed counselors, HB 587 and SB 244, will get House votes in January 2018 after being retained by the House Health and Human Services Committee last spring. These two bills are about what sponsors call “conversion therapy,” but the truth is that these bills would create a therapy ban for licensed counselors working with minors struggling with same-sex attraction.
The committee that studied these bills voted 12-8 to recommend “inexpedient to legislate” (ITL), and House members should vote to accept the committee’s ITL recommendation.
- Therapy bans would put state law in the way of the therapist/client relationship.
- If an adolescent client experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction were to seek professional counseling to work through that issue, therapy bans would restrict the therapist’s options.
- Therapy bans put patient confidentiality at risk. Who would review patient records and determine that a therapist has or has not complied with the law?
- Minors who want to get counseling for gender transition – changing one’s gender identity by means of hormonal and surgical intervention – may currently do so. Why is counseling for gender transition accepted under current law, while counseling for changing unwanted same-sex attraction might be made a violation of professional ethics if New Hampshire passes a therapy ban?
- If a teen is sexually attracted to a pre-pubescent child of the same sex, a therapy ban would prohibit a therapist from working with the teen to reduce or eliminate those feelings.