Choosing a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual-Affirming Therapist

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LGBTQ Healing: Choosing a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual-Affirming Therapist

Adapted from Bernice Goodman, “Out of the Therapist Closet,” in Hilda Hidalgo & Travis Peterson (Eds).

NASW Resource Manual on Gay and Lesbian Issues

Updated to include trans* information

  • What extent of knowledge does the therapist have about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender culture?
  • How long has the therapist been working with LGBTQ clients? How many LGBTQ clients has the therapist worked with?
  • What type of training does the therapist have in working with LGBTQ clients?
  • How much understanding and knowledge does the therapist have about racism, sexism, and homophobia/biphobia/transphobia in society?
  • What is the therapist’s knowledge of and commitment to issues of diversity among LGBTQ persons and culture?
  • Can the therapist constructively challenge self-oppressive attitudes and internal biases with clients and also help to create and support new, healthy ways of being?
  • Is the therapist a visible part of the LGBTQ community?
  • What feelings do you have of this person? Is there a feeling of trust and safety? Would you feel comfortable in participating in therapy with this person?
  • Does this therapist understand the effects of institutional homophobia, biphobia, and heterosexism, trans* biases and ignorance upon LGBTQ people?
  • Can this therapist recognize the differences between appropriate behavioral responses related to societal oppression and the unique psychological difficulties that a LGBTQ person may be experiencing?
  • How well does the therapist acknowledge the impact of socially defined gender roles on an LGBTQ individual’s sense of self?

If you have additional questions about or feedback about this article, please feel free to contact me.

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