CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A controversial therapy method could soon be outlawed in North Carolina.

  • A new bill aims to ban conversion therapy in NC.
  • Supporters of the bill say the therapy has not proven to work and has harmful effects. 
  • The bill has a long way to go before it becomes law. 

Conversion therapy aims to change a person's sexuality.The belief is that gay peoples' sexual identities is a mental disorder.

But Terry Rhodes, who is a UNC-Charlotte pyschologist, says the approach isn’t proven to work.

“There's no research, no scientific research, credible research that shows that happens,” Rhodes says.

Rhodes says minors are often forced into the therapy. In the past she says the approach involved shock therapy and showing images to people that caused painful emotions. Today she says it sometimes involves teaching people about heterosexual dating and educating gay boys, for instance, to be more masculine.

Rhodes says that can have harmful effects.

“It increases psychological and mental health issues like depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, increased suicide ideation, and even suicide attempts,” Rhodes says.

This is why there's a push to get rid of it.

Kendra Johnson is the executive director of Equality North Carolina. She's backing a bill that would ban conversion therapy in the state.

While she says the bill hasn't received pushback from lawmakers it still has a ways to go before becoming law. She says the Mental Health Protection Act hasn’t received a hearing yet.