Dispatches from Dr. Joel Dvoskin: February 2012
Don't Ask, or I'll Tell
by Joel A. Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP (Forensic)
On February 03, 2012, the New York Times ran the story, "A Counselor's Convictions Put Her Profession on Trial," by Mark Oppenheimer. According to the story:
Assuming this account of the case to be accurate, the most important single fact as this is written is that the student did not refuse anything. She made a request, which was granted by the same person who filed charges against her for making it.
To declare my relevant bias, I am a strong supporter of gay rights, including the pro-family right to marry. I have several friends in committed gay relationships, and it makes me sad that they cannot marry the person they love.
The supervisor, in turn, should be counseled about how to teach people with whom they disagree; to teach them how to work with all kinds of clients without insulting the student's own religious beliefs. Ironically, this Professor Callaway decided that the best way to teach someone how to work with a person with different moral beliefs was by demonstrating her own failure to do the same thing.
Ms. Ward should have been taught, not expelled. What exactly did she do wrong? She asked her supervisor a question, for goodness sake. Perhaps with kindness and education, she might have learned a kinder (and perhaps more Christian?) way to deal with homosexual clients. Remember, she didn't refuse anything; she merely made a request.
Further, if Ms. Ward deserves to be expelled, then the professor who hypocritically granted her request and then filed charges against her should be fired. (How is it a sin to make the request but it's not a sin to grant it?)
But I doubt that I would have expelled or fired either of them. I'd prefer to teach both of them how to do their jobs better, and only if they refuse to learn would I consider dire means such as expulsion or termination. You don't teach people to be better professors or better counselors by slapping them upside the head.
© Copyright 2012 Joel A. Dvoskin
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