Originally published in Lifestite News
Brazilian psychologists are seeking to revoke the license of a therapist for publicly affirming her Christian beliefs on her online blog and twitter accounts, an action that the organization claims violates its code of ethics.
Marisa Lobo, a psychologist and Evangelical who has published several popular works on psychological issues, sends Twitter messages to her thousands of followers under the title “Christian Psychology,” and maintains a website with the same name.
The Federal Council of Psychology (CFP), which has the power to regulate the activities of psychologists in Brazil, informed Lobo in February through its affiliate in the state of Paraná that she had 15 days to remove any indication of an association between her psychology practice and her religious beliefs from her website, or risk losing her license to practice.
Lobo’s posts and tweets often conflict with the sexually libertine and left-wing ideology espoused by the CFP, including denunciations of homosexual adoption, and support for sexual orientation change therapy. She claims that the process against her was spurred by complaints from homosexuals, especially regarding her opposition to the “gay kit,” a set of highly explicit materials which was to be distributed to children in public schools in 2011 as an “anti-homophobia measure.” However, the program was suspended due to public outrage.
In its warning to Lobo, the CFP cited its code of ethics, which “forbids” psychologists to exert “influence in favor of political, philosophical, moral, ideological, or religious convictions, those regarding sexual orientation, or any type of prejudice, when they are engaged in the exercise of their professional functions” or to “give services or link the title of psychologists to services of psychological care whose procedures, techniques, and means are not regulated or recognized by the profession.”
Lobo responded to the CFP with a letter stating that she has never imposed her views on clients, and claiming the code is “unconstitutional.”
“I declare to this council of psychology, that I am not going to comply with this decision. I am not going to remove from my blog, and/or my twitter, nor from my site, absolutely anything that links me to psychology and to my faith,” wrote Lobo.
“To the contrary, I want my patients to have the right to choose me as a therapist because they know that I, Marisa Lobo, am a psychologist, a professional who believes in almighty God,” she added.
Lobo defies Council on same-sex attraction therapy
In a subsequent interview with pro-family activist Julio Severo, Lobo made it clear that she does, and will continue to do, therapy for those homosexuals who wish to develop opposite-sex attraction, which appears to be forbidden by the CFP’s ethical code.
“My oath, my code of ethics, tells me that I have to treat, to listen to psychic suffering, and if the fact of being homosexual is causing any kind of suffering, I do treat them. It’s my obligation, even if it is to change their orientation, condition, or choice, if that is their absolute desire. I could not deny it to them. I would be violating the code of ethics, would I not?”
She added, however, that she “respects” the CFP’s 1999 resolution condemning the treatment of homosexuality as an illness. However, if a homosexual is “going to therapy it’s because he’s suffering. And if, I repeat, it is his will, I have to be a channel, without imposing, something I have never done … I now let my patient decide. If it’s what he wants, we go there, and in the process, he will determine and even confirm if that is what he wants.”
Council’s actions “unconstitutional,” says national bar association
Brazil’s national bar association, known as the Order of Attorneys of Brazil, also disagrees with the CFP’s actions, calling them an “undoubtedly unconstitutional” attack on Lobo’s religious freedom in a legal opinion brief published in response to a request by Lobo.
The CFP’s code of ethics “clearly shows the prohibition of proselytizing in the exercise of this profession, however it is not about proselytism in a form of personal expression of faith, and, therefore, of integrating the essence of religious liberty in the broad sense,” stated the Order in a declaration on the case.
The attention drawn to Lobo’s case by media coverage has resulted in recent congressional hearings on overturning the CFP’s ban on therapy for same-sex attraction, a practice still recognized by the World Health Organization as a legitimate response to unwanted homosexuality. Lobo testified at the hearing, where she was jeered at and interrupted by homosexuals, who chanted slogans while she sought to testify. The CFP refused to participate.
The CFP’s recent attack on Lobo follows a similar action in 2009, in which the organization publicly censured psychologist Rozangela Justino for conducting reparative therapy for homosexual clients who wished it, and ordered its Rio de Janeiro division to enforce the ruling prohibiting the treatment.