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AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION COMMITTEE ON LESBIAN, GAY, and BISEXUAL CONCERNS and SOCIETY FOR THE PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY OF LESBIAN AND GAY ISSUES
JOINT TASK FORCE ON PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH LESBIAN, GAY, AND BISEXUAL CLIENTS
July 9, 1996
The Joint Task Force on Professional Practice Guidelines for Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients (JTF) was created by Division 44 (The Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian and Gay Issues) and the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Concerns (formerly the Committee on Lesbian and Gay Concerns) in 1993. The JTF mission is to develop professional practice guidelines for psychotherapeutic service provision to gay, lesbian, and bisexual clients. The guidelines are intended for use in educating psychotherapists in training and practicing psychologists as they provide services to these populations.
Armand R. Cerbone, PhD, Co-Chair
Kristin A. Hancock, PhD, Co-Chair
Catherine Acuff, PhD
Ronald E. Fox, PhD
Terry S. Gock, PhD
Douglas C. Haldeman, PhD
Ariel Shidlo, PhD
History and Development
In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its official manual of mental disorders, the DSM-III. Similarly, in 1975, the American Psychological Association (APA) passed a resolution which stated that homosexuality in no way implies psychological impairment or dysfunction and which urged psychologists to work towards the elimination of the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexuality. In the late 1980's, the Committee on Lesbian and Gay Concerns (CLGC), in an effort to explore the quality of psychotherapy service provision to gay men and lesbians, conducted a survey of APA members. In September of 1991, CLGC published the results of this survey in The American Psychologist.
The survey revealed that the quality of psychotherapy services to lesbians and gay men varies dramatically and documented the existence of biased, inappropriate, and inadequate care.It also demonstrated the critical need for education and training to address the homophobia and heterosexism among psychologists.
In the same year (1991 ), Division 44 conducted a survey of its membership to determine priorities among its many endeavors.Seventy percent (70%) of the respondents registered a clear concern for the establishment of professional practice guidelines.The Division took this response as a mandate by its membership to pursue paths which would improve the quality of psychotherapy services to gay, lesbian, and bisexual people.
It should also be noted that in 1992, the need for guidelines was clearly expressed by psychologists who attended two programs at the APA convention: the CLGC Open Forum and the Division 44 Town Meeting.”As a result, a Division 44 Task Force on Professional Practice Guidelines was formed by then President-Elect, John C. Gonsiorek, PhD. .This task force joined with CLGC (which had also decided to pursue this concern) to become the JTF in 1993.
Activities and Achievements
To date, the JTF has engaged in a number of activities which have (1) furthered the development of psychotherapy guidelines, (2) kept the Division 44 membership educated and informed about the issues involved in the need for and development of these guidelines, and (3) solicited input from the membership as the project has progressed.
Symposia were presented in 1993 and 1994 which reviewed the need for guidelines and the current literature about the psychological treatment of lesbians and gay men.At the convention in 1995, the JTF held a workshop which updated the membership on the development of proposed guidelines and solicited feedback from the members present in the form of a survey about the guidelines. A result of this activity was the decision to develop guidelines which address the provision of services to bisexual psychotherapy clients.
A first draft of a proposal for the guidelines is currently being drafted
for review and comment by the JTF members.
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