The Psychotherapist Association for
Gender & Sexual Diversity

News

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  • March 10, 2014 4:30 PM | Myles Downes (Administrator)
    Posted by Jim Walker, Gaylesta Member

    Please sign this petition asking the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) to change their Code of Ethics to clearly state that SOCE practices are unethical for their members.
    http://www.convertmfts.org/

    A law protecting youth in California from SOCE by any licensed therapist was supposed to take effect in 2013. However, several California therapists - among them David Pickup, MFT, a CAMFT member--have stopped the law by repeatedly challenging it in court. This year Mr. Pickup is blocking the law from taking effect by taking it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Eventually the court will stop Mr. Pickup and other practitioners in California from blocking the law from taking effect. However the law only protects those under 18.

    By asking CAMFT to change their ethics for their 31,000 members, you will not only protect youth in California from SOCE being used by CAMFT members, you'll protect adults too from CAMFT members using it on them. CAMFT can provide extra protection from SOCE that the law can't. CAMFT changing their ethics will clearly educate the public and all therapists that SOCE is harmful and ineffective.

    In addition, certain CAMFT members also teach SOCE to other practitioners. By signing the petition, you'll stop people like Mr. Pickup from teaching their harmful practices to others when they're CAMFT members.

    Click on this link to download a graphic created by Gaylesta member James Guay that clearly outlines CAMFT's history of heterosexist policies and actions.

    Beth Greivel, a psychology grad student in Berkeley, launched this petition. Gaylesta proudly joins her in advocating for CAMFT changing their ethics and we urge everyone to sign her petition. Thanks very much!
  • February 22, 2014 7:40 AM | Myles Downes (Administrator)

    Gaylesta works to establish professional standards of appropriate LGBTQ-affirmative psychotherapy as well as to protect our population from harmful psychotherapy practices.  We were in the forefront of the movement to ban SOCE (sexual orientation change efforts, also known as ex-gay, conversion or reparative therapy) that led to the passage of SB 1172 in September, 2012.  This California law prohibits licensed mental health providers from practicing SOCE on minors.

     

    The need for such legislation emerged in 2010 when we became aware that the BBS, the licensing board for MFTs and LCSWs, had approved a well-known SOCE organization as a provider of continuing education for therapists.  We organized a letter writing campaign asking the BBS to prohibit these trainings, based on substantial research that such techniques are useless, fraudulent and result in substantial harm for clients subjected to these methods.  Since the BBS and the BOP (the licensing board for psychologists) took the position that they are merely enforcing state regulations on mental health, Gaylesta’s Advocacy Committee concluded that the most effective way to eradicate these practices was through legislation.

     

    Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) and Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) were the first legislators we contacted who took up this cause.  When Assemblyperson Ma’s legislative term was over, the work was carried forward by State Senators Ellen Corbett (D-Hayward) and Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).  Ultimately, Ted Lieu (D-Torrence) sponsored SB 1172.  As this bill took shape, Equality California (EQCA) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) became official sponsors and worked with legislators to ensure the bill’s passage.  AAMFT-CA (American Assoc. for Marriage and Family Therapy, Calif. Division) devoted considerable time and effort to shape a bill that mental health professional organizations could support.  We are grateful to all the organizations and individuals who worked on this bill, which is the first in the U.S. to prohibit SOCE for minors.

     

    Lawmakers in Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Virginia have followed California’s lead in proposing bills of their own, and New Jersey now has a similar bill that was signed into law.

     

    SB 1172 was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013, but has been facing legal battles since it was signed.  Two lawsuits were filed in district courts in California to try to prevent the bill from being enacted.  The primary argument is that SB 1172 violates First Amendment rights of free speech.  However, the court has consistently ruled (both here and New Jersey, where their bill is being similarly challenged) that the law is an appropriate regulation of medical practices, and is not restricting free speech.  The plaintiffs are now asking the United States Supreme Court to hear the case.  We are waiting to hear a decision from the Court.  If they opt not to take up this case, the law goes into effect without further delay.

     

    While we recognize the importance of this landmark legislation in protecting the well being of minors, we hope to see a total ban on SOCE.  This practice perpetuates the belief that LGBTQ people are sick, and that sexuality can be changed with enough effort.  The effect of these beliefs on LGBTQ individuals is often severe depression and suicide attempts as well as misery for their spouses and children.

     

    While most mental health organizations have taken strong stands against SOCE, there is one notable exception.  CAMFT (California Assoc. of Marriage and Family Therapists) has not taken a stand in denouncing this practice, and the plaintiffs who are challenging SB 1172 in court are CAMFT members.  This is consistent with CAMFT’s reluctance to support marriage equality despite significant pressure from many of its members, as well as their lack of support for other legislation that supports the mental health of LGBTQ people.

     

    We urge our membership, our community and our allies to help spread the word about SOCE and support the ban of this harmful practice.  We will continue to work for a clear delineation between mental health practices and religious beliefs, and for the acceptance of LGBTQ people in all sectors of society.

  • December 01, 2013 9:38 AM | Myles Downes (Administrator)
    One of Gaylesta’s members, Guy Albert, recently sent this letter to Lieutenant General Michelle D. Johnson at the United States Air Force Academy, protesting their staff choice of Dr. Rosebush, who has a history of practicing reparative therapy. Read the letter below.




    Lieutenant General Michelle D. Johnson
    United States Air Force Academy
    2304 Cadet Drive Suite 3100
    USAF Academy, CO 80840-3100

    Dear Ms. Johnson,

    It has come to our attention that the United States Air Force Academy has within its ranks a leader who has spent many years promoting the treatment of homosexuality. Dr. Mike Rosebush, who is currently director of counseling at the USAFA, has an extended history of attempting to “cure” gay people of their homosexual desires. These practices, known as Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE), have been denounced by nearly all the leading mental health associations in the US, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

    As members of the largest LGBTQ therapist’s association in the country, we are increasingly aware of the damages that SOCE have caused countless people, including young adults and minors. The harms of these practices have been so extreme that they have sometimes caused depression, substance abuse, and suicide, and SOCE are being outlawed in several states. We cannot hold silent knowing that a person who has promoted such practices is now in charge of the development of character and leadership of young adults.

    Dr. Rosebush’s 20-year history with anti-LGBTQ therapy cannot be dismissed with well-intentioned assurances. His employment with USAFA is an implicit endorsement of his past practices and beliefs. He has published instructions to change sexual orientation, he has years of membership and directorship in organizations focused on anti-LGBTQ propaganda, and his words of hatred for LGBTQ people sends a negative message to all cadets. Though we understand that Dr. Rosebush’s functions do not necessarily include therapy with cadets, his work is related enough to counseling or coaching that his influence on training and morale will most certainly affect cadet populations. Dr. Rosebush’s career has focused on advocating homophobic, unscientific practices which have caused harm to many LGBTQ people, including Air Force Academy cadets.
    We trust that you understand how sexual orientation and gender identity continue to be issues of great concern in our society, and we believe that you have every intention to create a culture of acceptance in the Air Force Academy. In that respect, being mindful of a leader’s sphere of influence goes a long way in creating an environment that is sensitive to social and cultural diversity. We ask that you replace Dr. Rosebush with a leader who holds respect for diverse populations, including people of different sexual orientations. We would love to know that you stand behind your statement that USAFA is welcoming and supportive of diversity. We will appreciate your response to this letter.

    Sincerely,

    Guy Albert, Ph.D.
    On behalf of Gaylesta, the LGBTQ therapists association.

    http://www.gaylesta.org

    cc: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning, President Barack Obama

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