What means ‘Everybody’?

Today sees my third decade of involvement with COSRT, our chosen accrediting body – one of several – and I find myself reminiscing about the changes within the profession. “BASMT”, the British Association for Sex and Marital Therapy, has always been one of very few, if not the only specialist body for sex and relationships – as it is today. It took several initiatives from the more Humanistic field (rather than from the medics or psychoanalysts)  to change its name from ‘Marital’ to ‘Relationship’ Therapy – and not without much resistance – and I still remember the days when, as keynote speaker of its first training conference on ‘bisexuality’ (I was the only bisexual member at the time) I was complimented on my presentation:  “Now I understand that it is not all about dressing up in women’s clothes” (!!)  said one Medical consultant on the journey home afterwards. That’s after my enlightened teaching !

It is sadly also true that the organisation could be described, at the time, as “a sea of white faces” and woefully short of male members, furthermore Humanistic psychotherapy contributions to the professional journal were entirely missing – something that, sadly, is true to this day.

Today, I am pleased to say, is largely different. In 2021 COSRT stated unequivocally that all its approved training courses have been rigorously assessed for the inclusivity of their  policies and training content.  I am sure this extends to human sexuality and relationships in all its manifestations, including erotically marginalised as well  majority client populations, and as pleased I am with this statement I am saddened to say that it must be a first, within my 3 decades of membership for the organisation.  I am grateful to COSRT’s current leadership.

Again, thirty years ago, my colleague Judi – an Austro/Hungarian Jewess and 2nd Generation of holocaust survivors and and I, a German bisexual, stood shoulder to shoulder with Angie Nero, Lennox Thomas, Dr Toni Liba – all of Afro-Caribbean descent – in birthing what has become the London Diploma.  Our student body then, unheard at the time, had a high proportion of under-represented sections of society hitherto not seen within the profession. Black, Asian, any version of LGBTIQ++ could  be found in class as well as faculty, more than 50 percent of our students were male.  The year 2021 sees a good number of new COSRT members on its student register, again, from hitherto unsourced sections of society within the organisation: China, the Middle East, India. Those new LDPRT members will join our alumni who already number over 40 national and cultural identities. I welcome them all, without exception. We have much to learn from you.

My pet ambition for the future: an extension of the masculinities represented within COSRT since male does not always mean male white privilege, and the continuation of what we at LDPRT always stood for: diversity that  includes everyone!

Bernd Leygraf
Director LDPRT

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