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Ohio Licensing Board Advocates Against Dangerous Conversion Therapy Practices



On Friday, the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board (CSWMFT Board) voted to release a strong statement regarding their stance against harmful conversion therapy efforts.

The Ohio CSWMFT Board is comprised of 15 members, all appointed by the Governor. They are a combination of licensed professional counselors, licensed/independent social workers, marriage and family therapists, and general public representatives. According to their official website, “the Board’s primary responsibility is to protect the citizens of the State of Ohio through the licensure of Counselors and Social Workers.”

This means the CSWMFT Board establishes and upholds the standards for proper licensing and practices in the professional fields of counselling, social work, and marriage and family therapy.

In a 12-2 vote, the CSWMFT Board took a solid step forward in banning this incredibly harmful practice. Conversion therapy is a long-standing and violent effort targeted mainly towards LGBTQ+ youth.

Their statement is clear: sexual orientation change efforts (a.k.a. “Conversion therapy”) are dangerous, and therefore not supported by or included in lists of acceptable practices by the Board. In fact, professionals who utilize conversion therapy practices could potentially lose their licenses.

The statement asserts that “licensees should be aware that the Board can discipline licensees (up to and including license revocation) when they use a practice or intervention that results in harm to a client.” This warning makes it explicit that the Board will no longer stand for the malicious practices which have not been upheld by research.

The Board directs interested parties to review relevant information released by national behavioral and medical healthcare associations, all of whom have already come forward against conversion therapy practices.

The full statement reads:

The practice of Counseling, Social Work and Marriage and Family Therapy does not include sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE, also sometimes referred to as “conversion therapy”) or efforts to change gender identity. Attempts to “change” sexual orientation or gender identity can be harmful, particularly when the client is a minor. However, supporting clients in exploring their questions and concerns about their sexual orientation or gender identity is appropriate assistance for a Counselor, Social Worker, or Marriage and Family Therapist to provide to a client. The CSWMFT Board expects its licensees to practice their professions by relying upon the best evidence-based research available. Licensees should be aware that the Board can discipline licensees (up to and including license revocation) when they use a practice or intervention that results in harm to a client. Licensees seeking additional information regarding the issues covered in this statement may wish to review the statements and guidance from the following behavioral and medical healthcare associations: American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Medical Association.


For more information about the CSWMFT Board and their duties to the community, visit them online. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for news updates and more.

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