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First workshop here dealing with same-sex couples

Benson Ang, The New Paper, January 28, 2009

SAME-SEX couples, like heterosexual couples, seek affection, comfort and
fulfilling relationships, says American family therapist Dr David E Greenan.

Both face similar problems, such as difficulties in having their emotional needs
understood and met.

Dr Greenan, 55, conducted a workshop in Singapore last Tuesday on how
practitioners can help same-sex couples.

This is the first workshop in Singapore dealing with same-sex couples.

Dr Greenan says that same-sex couples do face stress in their relationships.

But in Singapore, they are also less likely to seek help due to a lack of
professionals trained in same-sex couple therapy, he added.

Dr Greenan said that in same-sex couples, there is a knee-jerk response to end
the relationship as soon as the partners encounter difficulties.

This is because they do not have a model for reconciliation, and because they
face a sense of isolation and disconnectedness within greater society.

Maintain stable relationships

As a result, same-sex couples find it harder to maintain stable relationships.

He said: 'Heterosexual couples are much more committed to working through their
difficulties because they have a legal involvement and they may have children.'

Dr Greenan has conducted presentations all over the world, and specialises in
working with same-sex couples.

About 50 counsellors, family therapists, social workers and psychologists from
private and public practice attended the workshop.

The workshop's aim was to acquaint practising professionals in same-sex couple

It was organised by Oogachaga, a non-profit personal development and counselling
agency founded in 1999 for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.

In collaboration with Counselling and Care Centre, Oogachaga organised a
workshop in 2007 on how practitioners can help young people who are attracted to
others of the same sex.