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Philosophy and Conversion Therapy

This project involves Craig French and Andy Fisher. It involves applying the tools of philosophy to thinking about the harmful practice of so-called "conversion therapy". 

Applied Philosophy

Image by Daniel Olah

In 2021 Craig and Andy were consulted in parliamentary research on government plans to ban conversion therapy.


Many psychotherapy and healthcare bodies in the UK take an appropriately negative stance towards conversion therapy. One question Craig and Andy are interested in is: what justifies this stance? 

One angle that Craig is taking on this question connects to his research in the philosophy of psychotherapy. He is considering whether there is anything inherent to psychotherapy that justifies this stance, or is the stance instead justified just by factors such as the harmfulness of conversion practices.

In August 2022, French gave a talk entitled 'Against Conversion Psychotherapy: Philosophical Foundations' to the Public Policy Exchange, exploring the idea that the therapeutic alliance, an integral part of psychotherapy, is difficult to reconcile with the practice of conversion therapy.

We will share any materials from this project as and when they emerge.

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