An historic African LGBTI psychology event, aiming to affirm that homosexuality is not a mental illness, will take place in Cape Town later this month.

The “Workshop on African Psychological Guidelines for LGBTI-Affirmative Practice” forms part of the 30th International Congress of Psychology, which is being held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 22 to 27 July.

The workshop will allow African mental health professionals to connect with colleagues from the continent to start “shaping guidelines that the mental health profession and psychologists in particular need to be exposed to and to internalise in their work with LGBTI people”.

The event will also see the establishment of the ‘African LGBTI-Affirmative Practice guidelines Working Group’ – an ongoing transcontinental initiative to develop Afro-centric guidelines in dealing with LGBTI people in psychology.

Organisers noted that the adoption of similar guidelines in other countries have measurably led to more positive attitudes by psychologists and improved broader social attitudes towards LGBTI people.

“The workshop hopes to increase cross-cultural collaboration among psychological researchers and practitioners and LGBTI activists on the African continent who are concerned about the mental health and well-being of LGBTI populations in an African context,” Professor Juan Nel, a senior psychology lecturer at UNISA, told Mambaonline.

He added: “It is an important event aimed at increasing the number of practitioners and national, regional and international psychological associations that formally reject the mental disorder conception of same-sex sexuality and that promote mental health practice that is affirmative of LGBTI people.”

The International Congress of Psychology is the largest event on the global psychology calendar. This is the first time that it is being held in Africa.

If you are interested in taking part in the 22 July LGBTI workshop or in other LGBTI related events at the conference, contact Nel on before 13 July.

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