How did this diverse group come together?
In March 2013, the LGBTQ-Affirmative Psychotherapist Guild of Utah sponsored a workshop on respecting religious and sexual/gender identity differences.
The primary objective for the workshop was to create a safe space for dialogue about responses to distress around same-sex attractions and non-traditional gender. Ninety-six people representing a wide spectrum of viewpoints participated in this workshop. Through a structured process of respectful dialogue, the gathering was successful in defining common ground and achieving greater awareness of others’ perspectives.
Emerging from this workshop experience, a group of eight mental-health practitioners and academics—who represented seemingly opposite ends of the sociopolitical spectrum—agreed to meet for ongoing dialogue.
What does the group hope to accomplish?
With a shared commitment to better understand our different viewpoints and establish an inclusive and comprehensive therapeutic approach, this group has met for two hours twice monthly since March 2013. The group seeks to define a set of standards and practices that are ethical and fair in order to:
- Provide guidance for individual mental health providers,
- Provide a framework of ethical practices to guide professional and licensing boards in regulating the work of mental health providers, and
- De-escalate the polarized battles around legislation and litigation regarding these matters.