Beijing LGBT Center holds training forum for graduate students to work as better consulting psychologists

By Ji Yuqiao Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/20 18:03:40


The Beijing LGBT Center held a workshop on Thursday at Beijing Normal University for more than 100 graduate students majoring in consulting psychology so that these future consulting psychologists could better serve the LGBTQ community by learning more about it.

Beijing Normal University's consulting psychology department is recognized as one of the best psychology departments in China.

According to the center, the motivation to hold the workshop stemmed from the secondary damage some LGBTQ people experience when seeking counseling. In some cases, relieving inappropriate consultations have actually added to a patient's mental stress or sense of shame instead of relieving them.

The damage is partly caused by information consulting psychologists read in academic papers about the LGBTQ community. Some views like "being gay stems from a lack of parental love" or that "LGBTQ TV dramas and films are causing more young people to become LGBTQ people" in these papers may confuse consulting psychologists.

The workshop in the Beijing Normal University Photo: Courtesy of the Beijing LGBT Center

At the workshop, lecturers from the center talked about the various challenges the LGBTQ community faces. For instance, Xin Yin, director of the center, listed the common stereotypes and discriminations that people in the community face in their daily lives.

Two professional consulting psychologists spoke at the workshop. One of them, Lin Ke, talked about domestic violence in the LGBTQ community, noting that same-sex couples are not exempt from physical or emotional abuse.

Another psychologist, Zhuang Xiaodan, put forward the basic principles that should be followed when consulting with LGBTQ people, explaining that counselors should not see LGBTQ individuals' sexual preferences as diseases to be treated, and instead should focus on understanding the difficulties these people who are seeking help encounter at work and at home. 

He Tao, a member of the center, talked about the dilemmas facing transgender people. According to He, a survey of 1,640 transgender people who had come out to their parents or guardians revealed that only six had not suffered any form of domestic violence.

The abuse experienced by these respondents included restrictions of their personal freedom and even being forced to have sex with people of the opposite sex. He called on consulting psychologists to use correct terminology when talking with transgender people and to listen carefully and patiently to their stories.

"We want these young people to get closer to the LGBTQ community," Ning Jiapeng, a member of the center told the Global Times.

These lecturers' lessons were hailed by the graduate students, with many saying that they feel the forum allowed them to better understand the community. 

"I have gained a better understanding of LGBTQ people, and also know how to work with them during their visits, and the matters that need attention," one of the students wrote in a feedback survey.

The workshop is a part of a project for consulting psychologists called "friendly counselors" that started in 2012. Since then, over 20 forums have been held for more than 2,000 psychologists.

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