We address this letter to the LGBT+ community and all of you who are struggling to define your psychosexual orientation and sexual identity.
We, the psychotherapists and psychologists providing counseling, diagnosis, and assessment, who work in the name of science and education- are aware of the oppression you have to face on a daily basis.
In our practice and scientific research, we are often confronted with the feeling of abandonment and violence you experience from your loved ones, your family, your peers, at work, and out in the public sphere. We want you to know that we do not intend to become the tools of such oppression, neither in our professional activity nor in our private lives. Having respect for everyone, for their dignity and right to self-determination, for human rights and scientific truths- we will be mindful not to contribute to your suffering.
We object to the ideas promoted under the guise of conversion therapy, no matter the form or name such therapy is given (“curing homosexuality”, “helping people regain their natural sexual orientation”, “providing LGBT+ people with spiritual support” etc.).
We strongly oppose and reject the undignifying narratives of which so many circulate in the public sphere and which you have to face. The general atmosphere pervading our social lives forces you to confront yourself with fear of rejection and a feeling of uncertainty about your self-worth, especially during your childhood and early adolescence. The less accepting the surroundings you’re growing up in, the more hostility and suffering you have to experience. These, in turn, lead to various problems of psychological nature and even suicide. It is an issue that moves us deeply, and we identify the causes of such a state of affairs not in you, but elsewhere.
As a professional community, we feel committed to spreading scientific knowledge about human sexuality and sexual identity, and to opposing violence and providing help to those who are dealing with its consequences. Unfortunately, prejudice is something you also encounter in medical offices and clinics. Before you decide to attend sessions with a particular counselor, ask him or her about his or her qualifications, professional experience, and position towards LGBT+ people. You have the right to take care of yourself and to determine at the outset whether the person whose help you are seeking is guided by scientific principles or very particular private opinions about questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity issues. Make sure to look for recommendations from social organizations working with sexual minorities, ask direct questions, and expect your counselor to validate his or her professional qualification with official documents.
We apologize for every situation when instead of the help you were seeking, you encountered a bad word, an opinionated diagnosis, rejection, or an ideological stance disguised as a "treatment”. This should not have happened, and we will keep reminding our professional environment of the standards of psychological counseling and the state of scientific research.
Our codes of conduct commit us to be very attentive towards each encountered individual. Please make sure that we are thorough in respecting the following principles:
1. The primary goal for psychologists is to seek to contribute to the welfare of each person they interact with. A psychologist recognizes the right of every individual to act upon his or her own chosen set of values, to make his or her own choices, as well as the right to intimacy.
2. Psychologists accord appropriate respect to the fundamental rights, dignity, worth ,and autonomy of all people, seeking to contribute to the well-being of their patients.
3. Psychotherapists have no right to express moral judgments or base their work upon the principles of particular political ideologies. They have a duty to refrain from actions resulting from attitudes concerning religious beliefs, racial and national prejudices, to gender, age, sexual orientation, and others, both when conducting psychotherapy and in other scientific activities.
4. Psychotherapists are obliged to follow the principles of the Charter of Human Rights.
5. In their therapeutic work, psychotherapists should be aware of cultural, individual, and role differences, including those due to age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status. Psychotherapists try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices.
[Based on the code of ethics formulated by the Polish Psychologists’ and Psychiatrists’ Association]
Our professional community includes both sexual minorities and groups who are conscious of their privileged position. By signing this letter, we declare our solidarity with all of you who have to face structural and cultural violence, but also violence in its most direct form. In this very particular moment in history, we want to be your allies, and we want to be effective.
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