Update: SPS clarifies its affirmative approach when treating LGBT individuals.
Church organization Truelove.is said today that it is “deeply concerned” with the Singapore Psychological Society showing support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, or LGBT, in its reaction to Canada’s ban on conversion therapies.
The religious group linked to the 3:16 Church at Robinson Road called the society out for its advocacy five days after the professional body, also known as SPS, reacted to news that Canadian MPs had passed a bill banning conversion therapies of LGBT individuals. Truelove.is also called on SPS to have a dialogue with them as well as other religious groups.
“We are deeply concerned about the statement released by Singapore Psychological Society as an ideological/political advocacy coming from a professional body is troubling,” the group wrote online today. The church group consistently views homosexuality as an adversity and actively targets queers in its religious outreach programs, but has always denied taking part in conversion therapies, a widely discredited method of changing one’s sexual orientation.
“We would like to encourage the SPS to dialogue with various religious groups and better understand how religious groups can help voluntary individuals struggling with LGBTQ issues in a consent-based, ‘non-affirming’ way without ‘conversion therapy’,” it added.
SPS, which comprises more than 500 registered psychologists, said last week that they support the use of evidence-based practices when treating the mental health of LGBT individuals as well as affirming their sexual orientations and gender identities.
“As such, we recommend that when treating clients struggling with their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, psychologists use evidence-based therapy,” the statement said. “This includes exploring and affirming their orientation/identity, exploring assumptions and goals that may have originated from societal pressures, managing stress, and promoting wellbeing.”
That statement appeared to offend the religious group and its efforts to so-called help people out of homosexuality and gender identity issues through the path of god.
“However, as a psychological association, SPS seems to be unfairly painting all forms of religious help for people struggling with same-sex attraction or gender identity issues to be ‘practicing conversion therapy’. This could not be further from the truth,” Truelove.is said. It described the research and data shared by SPS as “unqualified.”
Jason Wong, who helms the other Christian organization Focus On The Family Singapore, also spoke against SPS on Friday.
“Regrettably, in its statements, the current Committee on behalf of the SPS seems to have come to a landing on highly controversial issues which have far-reaching implications,” he wrote. Wong hosted a webinar in February with controversial American doctor Quentin Van Meter on transgenderism.
After this story was published, SPS released another statement clarifying the “affirmative” therapy outlined by the American Psychological Association, which “neither encourages nor discourages clients to identify a particular way with regard to their sexual orientation.”
Citing the association, SPS said this involves “therapist acceptance, support and understanding of clients, and the facilitation of clients’ active coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, without imposing a specific sexual orientation identity outcome.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a statement by SPS.
Other stories you should check out: