PG Diploma in GSRD therapy awarded!!

Two years of study comes to an end. Just completed the Pink Therapy PG Gender, Sex and Relationship Diversity Therapy diploma. It’s been an inspiring, learning, developing time, both personally and professionally. Being surrounded by other queer counsellors/therapists has significantly added to the experience. It’s not my place to speak for others, but I’d like to think we’ve all had a wonderful time together. I certainly have.

I’m grateful to Dominic Davies and all the other tutors involved in the course. Plus, also a great big thanks to all the other students who took part in the course. Over the two years, I’ve met people living in many parts of the world – Belgium, Bolivia, Columbia, England, Germany, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, and Sweden.

It’s hard to summarise in a short blog post the benefit and value, both personally and professionally, I have felt, in taking the diploma. Weaving through all aspects of the course, for me, is the idea that you don’t know what you don’t know, until you do know. This course has shown me what I didn’t know or realise, expanding my understanding and ability of being with GSRD clients. Brian Thorne, a person-centred therapist, once said: “I have discovered since that love devoid of understanding, although it can bring comfort and solace, can never heal.

Whilst I can say, from what clients have shared, I have brought comfort and solace and healing to my queer GSRD clients, the diploma has expanded and deepened my understanding of the GSRD community, with all we experience, thus enabling me not only to continue to bring comfort and solace, but has enabled me, I feel, to offer further deeper healing to those clients who seek it.

The course outline, modules and objectives were fulfilled for myself. Knowledge was expanded and deepened through the eight modules:

  • Dimensions of Sexuality
  • Understanding Kink / BDSM
  • Substance Use & Misuse
  • Intimate Partner Violence & Minority Stress
  • Parenting outside heteronormativity
  • Working with Younger People
  • Working with Older People: Ageing & GSRD – The Specific Needs Of People Growing Older
  • Faith, Religion & Spirituality

Difficult to choose one module over another in adding the most value for myself. If pushed I would say the faith, religion and spirituality module. It brought a greater understanding that for some GSRD people, faith, religion and spirituality is deeply important and valuable in their lives, in a way unique for each individual. There being no one way for everybody. Whilst for some, with equal value, faith, religion and spirituality has no part in their lives.

The first year foundation course began with a week residential at Roehampton university. One experience still stands out to me, that I related here. Maybe it’s because Sue Sutherland is not with us any more that makes that shared time more poignant? Sue greatly expanded my understanding of Betty Martin’s Wheel of Consent.

Has it been easy? Nope. Would I have wanted it to be? Perhaps part of me would, but then learning and developing would likely be limited.

Would I recommend this diploma? Absolutely. If any counsellor/therapist has an interest in queer studies, in wanting to learn more about counselling GSRD/LGBTQ+ individuals and families of any make up, apply here.

Attaining “Advanced Accredited Gender, Sexuality and Relationship Diversities Therapist (Pink Therapy)”

Feel honoured to have achieved this accreditation. Appreciate all the tutors, students, and my supervisor, that I have studied and worked with, plus all the wonderful and amazing GSRD clients I have been privileged to work with over the past few years. Always more to learn and experience in this crucial field of counselling with clients who are part of LGBTQ+ community.

Advanced Accredited Gender, Sexuality and Relationship Diversities Therapist (Pink Therapy)

Yet again – “We All Have a Place in the Lord’s Church” – really?

So last year I wrote a post “Is Reconciling Being Gay and Mormon possible?” following an article in Pink News that an openly gay man, a member of the LDS Church, had put on twitter how happy he was being married to a straight woman. More power to the couple, however long that lasts. See my post, linked above, for reasons I’m sceptical. Also, an older post.

So, now we have an article on The Church website, currently on the home page, written by another openly gay man, Arteh Odjidja – an award-winning portrait photographer and educator born and raised in London. A brief bio describes that Arteh “considers London to be his home and a place of inspiration for his work. He also draws much inspiration from his global travels and his focus on empowerment through the medium of portraiture.

Some inspirational thoughts Arteh expresses in the article:

I believe my purpose is to offer perspective to others through my words, my art, and my insights—to encourage compassion towards others. I don’t think my life is any more important than anyone else’s, but hopefully my perspective can offer others the peace I now feel about having a personal testimony of Jesus Christ and His purpose for our lives.

As an artist who captures human stories, I’ve become enlightened to the many hidden faces of humanity: the untold stories, the silent and silenced voices of suffering. It is important to me to inspire others to empathise with those we deem as “other,” as we are all brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go before division, injustice, and prejudice are eradicated from people’s hearts. I know how integral it is to our collective progression to have charity in our hearts and to bear one another’s burdens.

I try to champion unheard voices because that’s the very least I can do to play my part and love as the Savior would.

So what’s my objection to the article? Same as before, it portrays being gay and Mormon as compatible, that the two ways of being can be reconciled. As said before, I strongly believe, unless a person is asexual, the denial involved, required by The Church, for an LGBTQ+ person to be life long celibate, is cruel, heartless and not what God, however, whatever, you may consider her/him/them/it to be, wants or desires.

A lot of people I know may be offended by that last paragraph. Though, hopefully, a lot of my LGBTQ+/GSRD friends will understand my reasonings.

So is Arteh asexual? I have, of course, no idea. From the article he sounds a wonderful person. From the selected quotes in the previous couple of paragraphs he has some amazing qualities and ideals. I hope he can maintain his discipleship. Though I seriously wonder how long he will be able to maintain that, whilst being an openly gay member of The Church. He’s been a baptised member since April 2016. It’s now February 2021. Will this article still be on The Church website in a year’s time, 5 years time, 10 years time? Or will it disappear like many videos/stories from what used to be the Mormon and Gay part of The Church website, now renamed to same-sex attraction, which seems a further rejection of being being gay, putting more emphasis on sex, rather than on relationships.

Do “We All Have a Place in the Lord’s Church?” Until there is full acceptance of those who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer in anyway, my answer is, no.

Sex education – not the TV show 😊

Sexplanations by Dr Lindsey Doe

There has been / is / will continue to be much debate about the recent Alabama change in the abortion law there. Whilst I’m in the UK, as many of those reading this blog, they may be a thought from some that it’s not relevant here to post about. I don’t full understand the American political process so I’m not going to comment directly on the law itself. Except from my limited experience, it seems crazy.

However, one of the causes of unwanted pregnancy, which is where the need for abortion often arises from, both in the US, the UK and in all other parts of the world is lack of sex education. There is often the idea that too detailed information will result in young people suddenly going out having sex. Not the case. If anything education demystifies everything, often removing the desire to do something not known about.

The YouTube video above by Dr Lindsey Doe explains the benefits of sex education. At the end it lists resources available in the US. Often it is thought that abstinence education is sufficient. Dr Doe’s swimming analogy resonates. If you tell someone they shouldn’t swim, that will never help them ever to swim! There are multiple aspects of sex education on her YouTube channel.

Below is a link to a UK site, run by Justin Hancock, giving loads of information about sex, that is very worthwhile and educational for those over 14. All with a UK perspective, taking account of UK laws, etc. Justin covers such topics as, well there are so many!! One topic that I’m very interested in is consent. Justin has several articles on this. Have a browse here.

Another site worth a visit, for slightly older folks is https://megjohnandjustin.com/.

As a counsellor if you have any questions that is something I can help with. Whatever your gender, sexuality or relationship I am here to help.