An advertisement by the “World Congress of Psychologists” is causing a lot of consternation in medical circles.
It lists lesbianism, homosexuality, and masturbation under psychosomatic disorders, irking the psychologist community.
The World Congress of Psychologists claims to bring all psychology services under one umbrella.
The Clinical Psychology Society of India (CPSI) has sent a letter to its president, writing in detail about how the advertisement was misleading, amounted to a violation, and could also be a punishable offence.
The CPSI has suggested in the letter, a copy of which is with South First, cancelling the advertisement and the programme.
Homosexuality, masturbation are disorders?
The advertisement claimed that Prof V Ganesan from the World Congress of Psychologists would provide training to people on 47 psychosomatic disorders, starting from addictions to voyeurism.
Any person with an MA or MSc in Psychology from a “recognised university” — it does not mention the authority giving the recognition — are apparently eligible to attend the training.
Taking note of the advertisement, the CPSI letter said: “Providing training in clinical conditions such as OCD, depressive disorder, anorexia nervosa, etc, requires MPhil professional training in clinical psychology as per the law of the land (the Mental Health Care Act of 2017).”
The list of ailments mentioned in the advertisement include various medical conditions like asthma, cardiac neurosis, and allergies.
However, the list also specifically mentions “lesbianism”, “masturbation”, and “homosexuality” as psychosomatic disorders.
Taking serious objections to this, the CPSI stated in its letter, ”Homosexuality is no longer considered a ‘diagnosis’. Enumerating this as a disorder/clinical condition is ‘unscientific’ and amounts to misleading the public for commercial gains. It is also against the basic values and principles of the Indian Constitution, which aims to develop scientific temper among citizens.”
Masturbation is often considered a “normal developmental process”. Calling this a disorder has malicious intentions for personal gain, the letter said.
Meanwhile, the president of CPSI, Dr Jamuna Rajeswaran of Nimhans, Bengaluru, told South First that there are several medical conditions on the list that need medical evaluations before any psychological intervention.
Despite that, the advertisement listed them in the psychosomatic disorder training.
The CPSI letter stated, “Clinical conditions like asthma, allergies, seizures, tachycardia, and vomiting have multiple medical causes, which need to be ruled out before any psychological intervention is advised. This also amounts to public misguidance and misinformation.”
Meanwhile, the training was proposed to be conducted for 10 days. However, the CPSI said that this could not be done either.
“We strongly suggest cancelling the advertisement and the programme, as it amounts to a violation and misguiding the public, and it is a punishable offence,” it said.
The CPSI asked the World Congress of Psychologists president to respond as early as possible.
Dr Rajeswaran said: “The public should be aware that the treatment of mental health problems should be carried out only by MPhil-trained clinical psychologists or by any institution recognised by the RCI [Rehabilitation Council of India] that has been ratified by law.”
The disorders listed in the advertisement, reproduced here near-verbatim, are:
- Anorexia nervosa
- Cardiac neurosis
- Drug addictions PS office
- Erectile dysfunction
- Excessive interest in sex
- Extramarital relationships
- Hyperactivity nail biting
- Inter-species erotica
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Multipartner sex
- Obestity office
- Obsessional thoughts
- Obsessive compulsive disorders
- Peptic ulcer
- Possession syndrome
- Premature ejaculation
- Stage fright
- Thumb sucking
[Please refer to the advertisement mentioned above for the exact names]