Posted 28 ноября 2022, 13:29

Published 28 ноября 2022, 13:29

Modified 25 декабря 2022, 20:56

Updated 25 декабря 2022, 20:56

Forcing Openness: How the State Intervenes in the Private Lives of Its Citizens

28 ноября 2022, 13:29
Екатерина Антропова
At the world level, Russia is becoming more and more closed and disconnected from other systems, while at the internal level in the system, on the contrary, there is a forced openness and desacralization of private life.

Yekaterina Antropova, psychologist

The State Duma has practically adopted a law on LGBT people. Namely, it introduced a ban on the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations and the dissemination of information that may cause a desire to change sex.

While she was taking it, I looked at what was happening, as they say, with a mixture of complex feelings.

On the one hand, I looked at this case as a sexologist. And from this point, I wanted to say: “Friends, homosexuality is like eye color. It does not depend on propaganda in any way, and what you are trying to do is absolute nonsense, not to mention completely cannibalistic manners.

On the other hand, I look at it as a person who is mastering systemic therapy, and what is happening clearly illustrates the laws of interaction of systems.

More precisely, the law that the more hermetically the system is closed from the outside from the big world, the more blurred the boundaries inside it, and vice versa - the more open the system, the more clearly the internal boundaries within it are observed.

Now Russia is becoming more and more a closed country - the severing of old economic and political ties, the ban on social networks, difficulties in obtaining visas in a number of countries, and the like (what I am telling you, you can see it without me). At the same time, one can observe how the state is increasingly beginning to interfere in the lives of citizens: don’t say it, don’t read it, don’t think like that, sleep with whoever we say.

State interference in the private life of citizens does not have the best effect on the relations between these same citizens. The historical memory of denunciations over the past 9 months has been confirmed by fresh examples of these same denunciations. And in such an environment, people become less frank with each other, distance themselves, and ties are broken. It turns out an amusing construction: at the world level, Russia is becoming more and more closed and disconnected from other systems, while at the internal level, in the system, on the contrary, there is a forced openness and desacralization of private life. This provokes the participants in the system to become more closed from each other, but those with whom you are on the same wavelength become suddenly very close, and the level of openness and frankness can be fantastic.

From a professional point of view, it is very interesting to record, but from a human point of view, it is very difficult to see in which direction the process is moving, especially if you have freedom somewhere in your vital values.

Therefore, as a specialist, I experience interest, but as a person, horror, interspersed with bouts of desperate stubbornness.

Also (to admit so to admit) in addition to professional interest and human bitterness, I experience an attack of strange relief. The fact is that I am a so-called LGBT-friendly therapist. This means that I work with representatives of sexual minorities.

And I remember cases that are several years old - typical enough that I can mention them in this text. These cases were associated with feelings of rejection and exclusion in those who came out, and fear in those who kept their sexuality secret, and extremely high background anxiety and insecurity in both.

Severe anxiety is a so-so feeling, people do not like it and wear it regularly to therapy. The task of the therapist is to find out together with the client what this anxiety is about, how adequate it is to the existing situation, and based on this decide: either we are looking for how to reduce it, or we are looking at how to convert it into actions.

On the one hand, it was quite obvious that a significant part of the problems of LGBT clients was related to the environment, but then, a few years ago, it was not clear how aggressive this environment could be.

And so, when they asked me at the consultations: “Maybe we should leave? How safe do you think it is to be gay in Russia?” I answered something standard about the fact that psychologists do not give advice and suggested that risk assessment be based on facts. After analyzing the facts, it turned out that Russia is not the most LGBT-friendly country, and people could make a “leave-stay” decision based on reality.

And all the same, I was worried, and doubted myself, and carried these cases to supervisors to double-check: maybe I lost my professional position and turned from a therapist into an anxious cheese? Maybe I'm exaggerating? Supervisors sympathized and said: “No, Katya, you are not mistaken, everything is so.” Then I calmed down and saw off those who decided to leave with a calm heart.

I remember this today, from a completely different reality, which has recently changed beyond recognition, and I think: thank God. Thank God for the fact that at that time it was possible not to give in to the impulse to downplay the ringing alarm bells.

Thank God that some of those with whom I worked managed to leave.

And God bless everyone who is left.