Having LGB specific resources available that you have vetted. This includes working to uncover, acknowledge, challenge, and change heterosexist beliefs and attitudes that can lead to perpetrating microaggressions. If you identify as heterosexual, are you aware of your privilege? Being aware of microaggressions that occur outside of therapy and during therapy, and being open to processing them with your clients. Most LGB individuals are subject to receiving heteronormative healthcare services that do not address their unique needs.
It is important that therapists be aware of the possibility that they are providing care through a heteronormative lens that can lead to misinterpretation of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of their LGB clients. It is important for heterosexual therapists to know that it is possible to provide supportive and affirmative therapy to LGB clients. Most clients seeking therapy have presenting concerns that can be painful and confusing. Yet, despite this encouraging finding, the results also indicate that some therapists continue to hold biases about sexual minority clients that can lead to subtle, often unconscious and unintentional, denigrating verbal and nonverbal messages called microaggressions Sue et al. Being aware of microaggressions that occur outside of therapy and during therapy, and being open to processing them with your clients. Have you explored and reflected on your own sexual orientation and gender identity? Allow LGB clients to be the expert on their culture. It is important that any therapist working with LGB clients increase their knowledge of LGB culture through training, supervision , consultation, and continuing education. From where did they originate, and how have they developed over time? Microaggressions can undermine the development or progression of the therapy relationship with LGB clients. This is particularly salient when working with any marginalized group including lesbian, gay and bisexual clients. Hence, very little is known about the therapy experiences of lesbian , gay, and bisexual LGB clients, or the impact the therapy relationship has on the process and outcome of psychotherapy with these clients. The quality of the therapy relationship can improve when therapists are able to acknowledge and challenge microaggressions during psychotherapy with LGB clients. However, microaggressors are often unaware of the implications or effect of their words or behaviors. Are you making heteronormative assumptions? Have you explored your feelings, beliefs, attitudes, and biases about LGB individuals? Developing competency in working with any diverse population is essential to providing ethical care. This includes working to uncover, acknowledge, challenge, and change heterosexist beliefs and attitudes that can lead to perpetrating microaggressions. This creates an atmosphere of trust which can cultivate deeper conversations regarding power and privilege. The results of a recent study on the therapy relationship with lesbian and gay clients Kelley, reveal that, more than two-thirds of participants reported that they had a positive therapy relationship with their therapist. Ask your LGB clients how they identify e. The plethora of research on the therapy relationship over the past three decades rarely considered sexual orientation as a demographic variable. Having LGB friends does not make you competent. LGB-affirmative therapists should strive to ease these concerns while not bringing underlying heteronormative biases and assumptions into therapy. Competency Do you know enough about the LGB culture to provide affirmative and supportive care?
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