Church Leaders and workers in Christian Ministry are increasingly finding themselves providing pastoral care to the sexually diverse. Unfortunately few are provided with an accurate understanding of the central & often unique issues these populations face. This includes underlying psychological dynamics & other challenges that impact on their lives. The risk is that sexually diverse church members can therefore be given information or advice with the best intentions, which can unknowingly lead to psychological damage and possibly impact on their relationship with Christianity. This workshop provides important and accurate information and a forum for deep reflection and discussion of this complex area.
What to Expect
This one day workshop brings together Paul Martin?s extensive experience as a psychologist working with gay, lesbian and bisexual clients, and research and literature in collaboration with the psychology department of the University of Queensland. It is a weaving together of psychological theory, exploration of unique underlying issues, psychosexual development, mental & physical health issues, an exploration of reparative therapy, and information about sexually diverse communities. The last part of the day is working through pastoral care cases. This pulls together the theory and participants? individual experience to integrate all of the material so people can use the information and insights in a way that adds value to their pastoral care work. The aim is to walk away with concrete “how to? skills.
This workshop is based on a program that has been run nationally for counselors. Feedback has consistently been that every participant has found that they feel much more confident dealing with these issues and would work more effectively with people from these populations.
365 Crown St.
Date: August 26th
Time: 8.15 to 5pm
Lunch not provided
Morning & Afternoon tea provided
Bookings & Enquiries
Phone: (07) 3211 1117
Fax: (07) 3221 9689
E-mail: [email protected]
Paul Martin is a psychologist with over 20 years experience working with sexually diverse clients. He has a strong Christian background through growing up in a Christian family which was involved in Baptist, Evangelical & eventually Pentecostal Churches. In his 20’s he was a leader of Exodus an ex-gay ministry, so therefore has a firsthand understanding of reparative therapy and the way organizations such as Exodus work. He has a deep respect and love for the teachings of Christ, and was recently on an expert panel and did a presentation at the ‘Different Conversations conference for Christian Leaders.
Introduction from Zac Turner from ‘Different Conversations’:
‘Imagine’ which is a small Baptist Community in Darlinghurst and ‘Different Conversations’ is convening a one day workshop on sexual identity specifically focussing on the insights gained from psychologists about the underlying issues facing people struggling with these issues. The focus will also be on information and skills to improve the counselling and Pastoral Care services Christian leaders provide to these populations.
‘Imagine’ in collaboration with ‘Different Conversations’ ran a three day forum on sexual identity in February, which was aimed at Chaplains, Pastors and Christian workers. By bringing a group of church leaders together ideas were further developed and discussed in terms of possible changes in how we interact with the concept of sexuality.
One of the key feedback items that we received was the need to have some more practical workshops that could look at a more ‘how-to’ approach. So in conjunction with Paul Martin a psychologist from Brisbane who was involved in the forum in February we are bringing you this one day workshop.
The day will be kicked off talking about the Imagine community, the 100 Revs story and why we think that this is an important conversation to be having. There will be a brief story or two from members of Imagine’s community and a short devotion then a coffee and chat to get the day off to a flying start.
The workshop is a combination of current psychological and evidence based theory and how this relates to people who identify differently. It also includes insights into reparative therapy and information about sexually diverse communities including Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. The afternoon will be spent working through different case studies and pastoral care cases that will meld the information and theory of the morning session with some more practical applications.
Our hope in our small community is to help facilitate safe spaces where people can have ‘different conversations’ that might facilitate growth in our understanding and knowledge, and increase our compassion for other people where they are now. The Imagine community has a ministry within the local area and community, a community that is 35% Gay, is the Highest HIV/AIDS Suburb in Australia, and gave birth to the 100 Revs movement that aimed to converse with the LGBT community and offer an apology addressing the grievances of the past.
Imagine’s vision is to see the church at the forefront of bringing the message of inclusiveness, grace and truth to all those who find themselves marginalized as a result of their sexual identity.
From Your Facilitator, Paul Martin
I feel honoured to be able to facilitate this workshop in collaboration with ‘Different Coversations’ and ‘Imagine’.
I just thought I’d share some of the latest statistics regarding the mental health issues of these sexually diverse populations. These are people who often face much worse mental health issues than heterosexual populations.
- Twice as likely to have a high/very high level of psychological distress (18.2% v. 9.2%)
- Almost 3 times as likely to have had suicidal thoughts (34.7% v. 12.9%)
- 5 times as likely to have had suicidal plans (17.1% v. 3.7%)
- 4 times as likely to have attempted suicide (12.6% v. 3.1%)
- 4 times more likely to have ever been homeless (12% „homosexual/bisexual? v. 2.9% “heterosexual?)
- Twice as likely to have no contact with family or no family to rely on for serious problems (11.8% v. 5.9%)
- More likely to be a current smoker (35.7% v.22%)
- Twice as likely to have used illicit drugs (64.6% v. 33.2%)
[Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007), National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing? additional unpublished analysis]
Young people are particularly vulnerable given issues such as rejection sensitivity. Research has suggested:LGB youth who report parental rejection were 8.5 times more likely to attempt suicide, 5.9 times more likely to have greater depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs and 3.4 times more likely to have engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse.
As you can see there is a great need for Christian leaders to have a comprehensive understanding of the underlying psychological dynamics that lead to these catastrophic statistics. These people would benefit enormously from having an understanding Christian response to them as people. So many though feel betrayed by the Church and have sadly left their faith. I’m hoping that this workshop is a space where information, discussion and reflection will enable you to feel that you can understand these people more deeply and feel that your response to individuals will be enhanced.