APNS Statement on Conversion Therapy


This publication contains references to discrimination—which may bring up past experiences of discomfort, anxiety, and or trauma. Please engage with this content only when you feel prepared.

The Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia (APNS) supports the Canadian Psychology Association (CPA) position statement opposing any therapy with the goal of ‘repairing’ or ‘converting’ an individual’s sexual orientation, regardless of age. Conversion therapy, or reparative therapy, refers to any formal therapeutic attempt to change the sexual orientation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and pansexual individuals to that of heterosexual (e.g., Serovich et al., 2008).

Conversion therapy is not an evidence-based practice and has been shown to be ineffective (e.g., Bradshaw et al., 2014). Additionally, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that conversion therapy can result in negative mental and physical health, such as distress, anxiety, depression, suicidality, sexual dysfunction, and negative self-image (e.g., Beckstead & Morrow, 2004; Bradshaw et al., 2014; Haldeman, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2002, 2004; King & Barlett, 1999; McConaghy et al., 1981; Rao & Jacob, 2012; Shildo & Shroeder, 2002; Tozer & McClanahan, 1999).

The CPA has affirmed that “lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) identities are normal and healthy variations of human experience and that all human beings are worthy of dignity and respect, including respect for diversity on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, and differences of sex development.” (CPA, 2018).

The CPA endorses the International Psychology Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Issues (IPsyNet) policy and statement that “Given that conversion therapies actively stigmatize same-sex orientations and transgender identities, as well as have the potential for harm, we support affirmative approaches to therapy for LGBTQ+ people and reject therapies that aim to cause harm to LGBTIQ+ people.” (IPsyNet, 2018).

The APNS strongly supports banning the practice of conversion/reparative therapy in the province of Nova Scotia. The APNS would ask to be part of any further consultations as this process unfolds.

A message from the Executive Committee, Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia

Publication also available as a PDF document.


On September 25, 2018 the Respect for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Act passed unanimously banning conversion therapy in Nova Scotia.