As the Chairman of your Government Relations Committee for OCA, I love that you all are engaging in conversation regarding legislative advocacy! All these questions (and more) are what we as professional counselors and stakeholders in the legislative process must ask ourselves for ALL aspects of our work.
Although I will not address all of questions posed through this thread, I did want to clarify this bill and the legislative process at hand, as well as invite all of you who are passionate about this topic or other legislative issues to contact me or any of the Governmental Relations Committee Members (most chapters/divisions have a representative that serves on OCA's government relations committee as a liaison between the committee and a division/chapter).
1. Many have pointed this out, but practicing conversion therapy as a licensed counselor is a violation of our code of ethics, specifically as it relates to "doing harm" to clients as research has identified conversion therapy as holding great potential for harm (see ACAs website)
2. 6 cities in Ohio already ban the practice of conversion therapy with minors
3. The practice of conversion therapy with a minor in the state of Ohio by an individual that holds a license issued by the OCSWMFT board may result in board discipline, including license suspension. This was an initiative championed by Equality Ohio that OCA and the Government Relations Committee supported a couple years ago. Out of this initiative came a strong statement from the board regarding conversion therapy with its licensees. Equality Ohio provides information on this board statement as well as the boards official statement regarding the change: https://www.equalityohio.org/ohio-licensing-board-conversion-therapy-harmful-can-discipline-licensees/
4. The proposed bill is more expansive than the OCSWMFT board, but in essence, will place the boards current stance on conversion therapy with a minor into Ohio Revised Code language, ORC 4757.46. The current ramifications for practicing conversion therapy with a minor involve licensure discipline. If enacted in law, would involve both licensure discipline and legal discipline. I would encourage all of you to review the details and history of the bill here: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA133-SB-130
If you have any specific questions or concerns regarding OCA's legislative efforts through our Governmental Relations Committee, please feel free to reach out to me or one of our committee members! I love legislative advocacy and our hope within OCA is to connect you as a member to the process of legislative advocacy.
Also, every spring we hold a Legislative Advocacy Day in Columbus Ohio at the State House where we engage in may aspects of the legislative process (Conversion Therapy was a heavy topic of discussion 2 years ago). Dont miss out on your opportunity to be proactive in the legislative process instead of just reactive to supporting or fighting legislation others propose.
WITH ALL OF THIS SAID, I always encourage every individual to advocate and promote a legislative agenda that is congruent with YOUR BELIEFS, even if that goes in opposition of OCA.
Peace be the journey,
Sean Gorby, M. Ed, LPC, Certified Wellness Counselor
The Ohio Counseling Association
Government Relations Committee, Chairman