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A Guide for Mental Health Professionals

Reconciliation and Growth ProjectA Guide for Mental Health Professionals

Why is this document important?

This guide, “Resolving Distress Between Faith-based Values and Sexual and Gender Diversity: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals,” is the product of hundreds of hours of deliberation among mental health professionals and academics who represent seemingly opposite ends of the sociopolitical spectrum on gender and sexual diversity and faith-based issues.

Its purpose is to clarify common ground and to identify “do no harm” approaches for working with clients experiencing distress related to same-sex attractions (SSA) and nontraditional gender. The principles and practices outlined in this document are based upon our collective understanding of the current research, clinical literature, and our various professional codes of ethics. Our intention and process have been collaborative, and therefore the document also includes contributions from others with various viewpoints.
The guide defines a set of standards and practices that are ethical and fair in order to:

  1. Provide guidance to individual mental health providers,
  2. Provide a framework of ethical practices to guide professional and licensing boards in regulating the work of mental health providers, and
  3. De-escalate the polarized battles around legislation and litigation regarding these matters.

We have also created a Peacemaking Protocol to help families and others resolve conflicts regarding these issues. The peacemaking skills outlined in this document represent the process we have used to discuss our differences.

These documents are intended for wide distribution. We hope they stimulate further dialogue about the nuances and complexities of same-sex attraction, nontraditional gender, and religious and other social identities.

We seek your feedback about how to further refine these concepts. We welcome your feedback, which can be submitted via the footer of this website.

Thank you in advance for your participation in this important community conversation!

Abbreviated Guide

The document “Resolving Distress Between Faith-based Values and Sexual and Gender Diversity: An Abbreviated Guide” is a single-page summary of the more comprehensive “Resolving Distress Between Faith-based Values and Sexual and Gender Diversity: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals.”

It outlines 10 key ethical principles for mental health providers, communities, policy makers, churches, and families to consider when assisting those distressed by conflicts between their faith and their sexuality and/or gender identity.”

This is the May 2017 iteration of this document. We welcome your feedback about how to further refine these concepts, which can be submitted here.

View the Guide