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alQaws Publishes Guidebook for Mental Health Professionals

This month alQaws published the guidebook “Introduction to Sexual and Gender Diversity for Mental Health Professionals,” which aims to assist mental health professionals in dealing with sexual and gender diversity issues within their field.

This guidebook is widely seen as the first attempt to provide a simple introduction to these issues, as well as a credible reference that deals with the basic questions posed by mental health professionals. The guide aims to advance how sexual and gender diversity is approached in the field of mental health, and to enable professionals to have more productive discussions within their circles regarding these topics.

The publication builds on several years of alQaws’ work in this field. In response to the need expressed for years by both mental health professionals and LGBTQ individuals seeking their services, in 2014 alQaws started conducting supervision and advocacy groups for a number of Palestinian psychologists, aiming to expand their knowledge base in sexual and gender diversity. These groups have so far been based in Haifa and Ramallah. This publication was one of the recommendations of the first therapist advocacy group in Ramallah, which was held for a full year with alQaws activists and coducted by educational consultant Mustafa Shalata.

The 90-page guidebook consists of 8 chapters, in addition to a letter from the guidebook committee and an introduction explaining the outline of the book. The chapters tackle basic concepts and more advanced theory, as well as applied knowledge and practical recommendations that can assist mental health workers in addressing these issues more professionally.

Supervising the writing process was a professional committee of 4 psychologists from several areas in Palestine and with different academic and clinical backgrounds. In addition to researcher and writer Muhammad Abu-Rmeileh, the committee consisted of: Yoad Ghanadry-Hakim, psychologist and head of the Arab Psychological Association; Fathy Flefel, therapist and Head of the Psychosocial Resource Center at the Palestine Red Crescent Society; Mustafa Qossoqsi, clinical and educational psychologist; and Mustafa Shalata, psychological and educational consultant.

alQaws is planning a study day to launch the guidebook, which will also include lectures and discussions about sexual and gender diversity in therapy.  In the coming months, alQaws will continue to organize reading and discussion circles with mental health professionals in several cities in Palestine to keep the conversation going.

Click the image below to download the guidebook in Arabic.