John Suler's Teaching Clinical Psychology

- Attitudes about Homosexuality -

Before discussing any of the psychological theories or research on homosexuality, I first lead the class through this exercise. I divide the students up into small groups and write the following statements on the board:

I ask the groups to discuss each statement and then take a vote as to whether their group: (1) agrees with it, (2) disagrees, or, (3) cannot reach a decision about the statement. With groups of 4 - 7, I usually define "agree" as a consensus or one person disagreeing, "disagreeing" as a consensus or one person agreeing, and everything else as "cannot reach a decision."

When all the groups are finished, I tabulate on the board all of the groups' votes for all the statements. I lead a class discussion as we go along. Although many students are generally accepting of homosexuality, the responses to the statements often reveal more subtle attitudes and preconceptions. This exercise never fails to generate a lively exchange among the students. As the tabulation and discussion proceeds, I take the opportunities that arise to inject bits of theory and research findings - including the fact that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not include homosexuality in any category of pathology.

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