Community of Care guidelines for groups

29 July 2022 

Community of Care Guidelines for therapists working or communicating with groups have been shared by PACFA’s Diversity in Gender, Body, Kinship and Sexuality Interest Group to help PACFA members reduce unintended harm to participants from marginalised communities.

 The Community of Care Guidelines, featuring 9 practices, were developed by PACFA’s Convenor of the Diversity in Gender, Body, Kinship and Sexuality Interest Group, Registered Clinical Psychotherapist and Relationship and Family Therapist, Dr Gavi Ansara (he/him), and Psychotherapist and Relationship Therapist, Phoenix (she/her) over multiple years of group facilitation.

 The guidelines can be used within a range of contexts by therapists and clinical supervisors, including facilitating professional development, group therapy and as participants in group discussion with other therapists.

 Dr Ansara said about the guidelines: ‘What’s most important about these guidelines is that they initiate the repair of long-standing historical ruptures that practitioners and therapy participants from marginalised gender, body, kinship, and sexuality lived experiences currently have with our professions and within our PACFA community.’

 Harm caused by ‘successful’ same-gender marriage plebescite

 ‘One definition of privilege is “when you think something isn’t a problem, because it’s not a problem for you”,’ Dr Ansara said.

'People without lived experience often describe the same-gender marriage plebiscite as an unmitigated success, despite research showing this legislative win came at great psychological cost to those whose lives were subjected to public scrutiny and judgement. (Please see a list of relevant research below).

 ‘Many people have never considered how they would feel if random strangers debated their own personal lives. These guidelines can help our PACFA community to reduce similar unintended harm and misinformation when communicating about other people’s lives.

 ‘They remind practitioners to reflect on how our own privilege and social position can limit our capacity to predict this unintended harm and help us to engage in the concerns of other people’s lives in a more accurately informed, clinically beneficial, and ethical way.’

Download the Community of Care Guidelines.

 Read Dr Ansara’s member profile.

 Research on mental health impacts of the Australian marriage plebiscite

 Bartos, S. E., Noon, D. W., & Frost, D. M. (2021). Minority stress, campaign messages and political participation during the Australian marriage plebiscite.Sexuality Research and Social Policy,18(1), 75-86.

 Casey, L. J., Bowman, S. J., Power, E., McAloon, J., & Wootton, B. M. (2021). A cognitive-behavioral exploration of the psychological impact of the Australian Marriage Law postal survey: A reflexive thematic analysis.Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. Advance online publication.

 Casey, L. J., Wootton, B. M., & McAloon, J. (2020). Mental health, minority stress, and the Australian Marriage Law postal survey: A longitudinal study.American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,90(5), 546.

 Chonody, J. M., Mattiske, J., Godinez, K., Webb, S., & Jensen, J. (2020). How did the postal vote impact Australian LGBTQ+ residents?: Exploring well-being and messaging.Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services,32(1), 49-66.

 Ecker, S., Rostosky, S. S., Riggle, E. D., Riley, E. A., & Byrnes, J. M. (2019). The Australian marriage equality debate: A qualitative analysis of the self-reported lived experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people.International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation,8(4), 212.

Key preliminary results from community-based research by the Australia Institute and LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (formerly National LGBTI Health Alliance)