Forty years after declaring that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, the American Psychiatric Association has appointed its first openly gay CEO and medical director.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against South Carolina and medical professionals charging that they violated the constitutional rights of an intersex baby.The child, now 8, is identified in documents only by the initials M.C.
Led by Paul Merritt, a professor in the psychology department at Clemson University, the researchers published their findings in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture.
By Xiomara A. Sosa, Clinical Mental Health – Forensic Counselor (Intern)
BS Psychology, MS Mental Health – Forensic Counseling (2013)
Founder and Principal of XAS Consulting, LLC
May 13, 2013
As a Latina mental health professional, I will be faced daily with the challenge of making a culturally relevant diagnosis with each individual client that I provide clinical services to. In making a culturally relevant diagnosis, a professional counselor is ethically obligated to begin with an understanding of the influences that describe identities, strengths, and contexts pertaining to the client. The client’s comprehensive make up must be understood without bias.
Cultural competency must incorporate the ability to consider problems associated with age and generation, possible disabilities, religious influences and identity, racial and ethnic identities, sexual orientation and gender identity or expressions, and socioeconomic status. It is very important that as a professional addressing the needs of multicultural communities that I intentionally and mindfully consider the client’s conceptualization of the problem and not impose my own perception of what his or her presenting problem is, and more importantly, not impose my personal views and belief systems about it. Once I, as a counselor, have been able to do so, it then becomes my duty to explain my diagnosis and possible treatment plan in a very clear way to my client.
As a clinical counselor I should be a good match with my clients. I should be able to understand their perspective and be familiar with their frame of reference. I must also be as prejudice-bias free as possible about customs within other cultures. For example, I am ethically bound to use interpreters in my first session with clients when English is not their first language to ensure that I am culturally competent prior to starting the session with the client.
I must also research and learn about the cultures that I have within my diverse clientele and learn the clients’ detailed history, cultural identity and context prior to beginning a counseling session. Not taking any of these steps can lead to a bad experience for the client who may choose not to continue or return to counseling or seek help elsewhere in the future. I can also inadvertently cause the client irreparable damage. This is unacceptable because above all else, I have taken the Hippocratic Oath to “Do No Harm”.
Sue, Derald Wing, David Sue. Counseling the Culturally Diverse, 5th Edition. John Wiley & Sons P&T. <vbk:9780470936641#page(107)>.
Homophobia and Heterosexism
Coming Out Resources
Affirmative therapy for LGBTQ individuals is based on the premise that LGBTQ and heterosexual identities are equally valid. An LGBTQ affirmative counselor has particular knowledge, awareness (specifically self-awareness), and skills specific to competent counseling for LGBTQ individuals.
Revitalized LGBT Mental Health Community
We’ve relaunched the LGBT Mental Health Community on the HealthyPlace website. You’ll find over 100 new articles and videos dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender mental health and related issues that are important to the LGBT community. Not only do we discuss gay mental health in detail, but there’s also plenty of information on where to find gay support, gay support groups and organizations. Other topics include gay bullying, gay suicide, and things you should consider before coming out at work. Plus we have articles that address parents of gay children and some of the issues they face. We invite you to take a look.
We are also looking for a new blogger to write on LGBT and mental health issues. Could you be that person? More info here.
- LGBT Mental Health Homepage
- All LGBT Articles
- Why Are People Gay? Gay By Choice or Is Being Gay Genetic?
- Coming Out Gay Step-By-Step
- Gay Therapy, Gay Therapists, Gay Treatment
- Cure the Gay: Gay Conversion Therapy – Real or Hoax?
- Gay Discrimination and Stigma and How to Cope
- Domestic Violence in Lesbian Relationships
- What is Biphobia?
Psychological research, especially the work of social psychologist Gregory Herek, has concluded that active sharing by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people of what their lives are like with people they know — whether in their families, communities or workplaces and schools — is very likely to reduce others’ prejudice against LGBT people and increase their support for social and political equality.
National Coming Out Day and Tell 3 are grassroots efforts to encourage and facilitate the sort of intergroup contact between LGBT people and non-LGBT people that will reduce the latter’s prejudice and promote their active opposition to discrimination.
Disclosure of Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity
The disclosure of sexual orientation and gender identity is stressful for a number of reasons. One, people “coming out” do not know how others will react. Two, helping others to overcome their lack of knowledge, reduce their discomfort and increase their empathy is not easy, and this may stir up negative feelings in the person who is coming out because of earlier prejudice or discrimination they have experienced.
The Know Us Project: Reducing Prejudice
The Know Us Project (KUP) uses mental health providers to provide facilitation and support to LGBT people who want to engage in the kind of intergroup contact that reduces prejudice. In the KUP workshops, participants learn to evaluate whether they are ready to act in this way, how to identify people to speak with, and how to reduce the listener’s anxiety in a personal conversation about LGBT issues and use words and body language that will make a conversation more effective. They also learn to address negative feelings they may experience during and after their intergroup contact and learn to cope with those feelings through self-care, stress management and professional help, if needed.
The longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation (Bell, Weinberg & Hammersmith, 1981; Bullough, 1976; Ford & Beach 1951 ; Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948; Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953 ). Homosexuality per se is not a mental disorder (APA, 1975). Since 1974, the American Psychological Association (APA) has opposed stigma, prejudice, discrimination, and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and has taken a leadership role in supporting the equal rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals (APA, 2005).