Do our advisers feed any myths?

Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists intervenes in homophobic police training fiasco

Last month, a certain music video went viral in which a counselor made discriminatory remarks against the LGBT community during a training session with Sri Lankan police in Kandy.

The video featured Councilor Ama Dissanayake, prompting her audience to say loud and clear that they, as parents, do not want their children to “fall prey to a homosexual”. Among other things, she goes on to state that if everyone were to engage in same-sex relationships, then “you or I will not be there” as a man and woman must unite to procreate, claiming that the homosexuality was contrary to accepted standards. of society and human values.

Since then, it has sparked quite a bit of debate as to the legitimacy of his statements – made by someone claiming to be an advisor – and if they are in fact false statements, why not? she still faces repercussions for her words? , or the spread of potentially dangerous misinformation?

Can we hold advisers to account?

Speaking to the President of the Sri Lanka Psychological Association (SLPA), Dr Kanthi Hettigoda, she explained that in Sri Lanka there is no regulatory body regulating the qualifications or requirements for providing the services of a counselor or d ‘a psychologist.

She said: “We are acquiring our license from the Sri Lanka Medical Council, however in Sri Lanka there is no requirement for a basic degree in psychology to offer services as a counselor, many are simply sign up after obtaining certification from various courses. “She further explained,” To become a psychologist you need to have a basic degree in psychology and a postgraduate degree, and like a clinical psychologist you then need to have a master’s degree in two years, “but beyond that, he said. there are no regulations.

Addressing the President of the College of Psychiatrists of Sri Lanka, Dr Gihan Abeywardena, he also commented on this issue stating that compared to those who are consultant psychiatrists – where after our basic training as a doctor you have to undergo a six-year training course as a doctor. psychiatrist, it is doubtful that in the case of psychologists there are no such black and white rules.

“Even for a clinical psychologist, we don’t have a definition, do you have to have a master’s degree or a doctorate? What experience in the field and in the clinic do you need to accumulate? None of this is indicated anywhere, ”he said.

Denounce discriminatory remarks against the LGBTIQ community

Dr Abeywardena said the Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists issued a press release on August 18 addressing the issue in which they said: “… we do not endorse the view that homosexuality is due to disease of the mind or body.

The statement added that modern psychiatrists do not identify homosexuality as a mental illness and do not treat it as such. “This myth that homosexuality is a mental illness is inconsistent with the evidence-based science practiced by our members. According to modern medical knowledge and social values, the lifestyle choices of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community should be respected and not discriminated against, ”added the Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists.

They also urged the authorities to amend Article 365 of the Penal Code which stipulates that homosexuality is a criminal act, “its archaic law must be abolished and homosexuality decriminalized in Sri Lanka”.

Dr Abeywardena followed up by stating that the only intervention psychiatrists would do when it comes to LGBTIQ people is if they are suffering from depression and anxiety as a result of the treatment they have to undergo at the hands of a society. discriminatory. Otherwise, there is scientific evidence that indicates that homosexuality is a biological trait and therefore the belief that it is unnatural is a myth and the wrong message.

In addition, with regard to the training session conducted by the adviser in question, a petition has been submitted to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, regarding the actions of the Sri Lankan police in allowing the dissemination of bogus information among their agents via a formal training session. . The application was submitted by Kushal Ranasinghe of the non-profit organization “Youth for Tomorrow”.

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