A Queerer Way of Being: A Monthly Blog Series on Gender, Sexuality and Relationship Diversity (GSRD) and Person-centred Theory and Practice
(Rachael Peacock, GSRD Special Interest Group Link)
Welcome to the first blog post by the Person-centred Association’s (tPCA) GSRD Special Interest Group! Over the coming months, we’ll be posting a series of blogs exploring a range of GSRD related topics, focusing on person-centred theory/practice and therapy practice more generally. Each blog will be written by a different author with their own unique experience and voice, exploring GSRD therapy practice from a variety of angles. The blogs are intended to be a resource for person-centred therapists (of all identities) working with GSRD clients as well as person-centred supervisors and trainers, clients and anyone else wishing to develop their knowledge of the person-centred approach and GSRD issues more generally.
We believe that cultural competence for working with GSRD clients is a vital and ethical way of being for person-centred therapists, supervisors and trainers and that empathy can be developed by specific training on GSRD issues (Rogers, 1975). Through the blogs, we aim to raise awareness of GSRD issues within person-centred theory and practice. Irrespective of identity, self-education on GSRD issues is essential if we are to meet clients, students, supervisees in the totality of their experiencing. We hope that by engaging with the blogs, you will experience an attitudinal training that will help you develop the internal resources for a ‘queerer way of being'; a greater fluency in sensitively responding to the multifarious elements of queer experiencing.
Theory-wise, although there had been some detailed theoretical activity regarding working with LGB clients at the turn of the twenty-first century (e.g. Davies, 2000; Davies and Aykroyd, 2001), discussion on other areas of GSRD identities has been sporadic rather than consistent (e.g. Brice, 2011). Recent publications (e.g. Hope, 2019; Westmacott and Edmondstone, 2020) have been a positive development for the person-centred world in terms of generating awareness, perhaps indicating a growing consistency within this area of discourse. We aspire to add to this conversation through the blog series.
A few words about us: since our inception in November 2019, we have welcomed and continue to welcome members of all identities within tPCA expressing interest in GSRD issues in therapy and beyond. From the outset, we have used the umbrella term GSRD rather than LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or questioning, Intersex and Asexual and allies). The reasons for this are twofold: as well as ensuring our work is responsive to developments within the wider GSRD therapy field (Barker, 2019), our decision is also based on a wish to avoid an ever changing ‘alphabet soup of acronyms’ that may muddle the focus of the group.
Finally, as a group of person-centred counsellors and psychotherapists, we hold a strong interest in the social and political context of therapy encounters. We consider Schmid’s view of person-centred therapy as ‘sociotherapy’ (2015), encompassing the importance of encountering diverse social realities, as a foundation for all our discussions. Our diversity of experiences has proved to be a strength in terms of generating ideas and rich discussion in our monthly online meetings. If you are interested in joining the group and are a tPCA member, please email us at: email@example.com
Barker, M.J. (2019) BACP Good Practice across the Counselling Professions 001 Gender, Sexual, and Relationship Diversity (GSRD). Lutterworth. BACP.
Brice, A. (2011) “If I go back, they’ll kill me…” Person-centered therapy with lesbian and gay clients. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies. 10 (4), 248–259.
Davies, D. and Neal, C. (2000) Therapeutic perspectives on working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Davies, D. and Aykroyd, M. (2001) Sexual Orientation and Psychological Contact. In: Wyatt, G. and Sanders, P. (eds.) (2002) Rogers Therapeutic Conditions: Evolution, Theory and Practice Volume 4: Contact and perception. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books: 221-233.
Hope, S. (2019) Person-Centred Counselling for Trans and Gender Diverse People: A Practical Guide. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Rogers, C. (1975) Empathic: An Unappreciated Way of Being. The Counseling Psychologist 5, 2-10.
Schmid, P. (2015) qqPerson and society: towards a person-centered sociotherapy. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies 14, 217-235.
Westmacott, R. and Edmondstone, C. (2020) Working with Transgender and Gender Diverse Clients in Emotion Focused Therapy: Targeting Minority Stress. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies 4, 331-349.
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