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Mental health professionals protest decision to hold conference in Jerusalem

Over 140 psychotherapists, researchers and other mental health professionals have written an open letter to the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR) to express dismay at its decision to hold its next international conference in Jerusalem.

In the letter, the group of professionals called for the conference to move locations, explaining that Israel’s policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including house demolitions, movement restrictions and imprisonment without trial, result in “insecurity, despair, helplessness and humiliation”.

“The calamitous impact of Israel’s occupation on the psychological health of the Palestinians is well documented,” read the letter.

The group expressed shock over the organiser’s response to their concerns, which included a promise to assist Palestinian psychotherapy researchers to attend the conference.

“This may ease SPR consciences but it is as nothing weighed against the political message they will be sending by meeting in this beleaguered city,” it added.

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