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*Note* This scheduling program was not designed by folks who do a lot with APA Style and unfortunately it defaults to listing authors in alphabetical order. We cannot fix this for this online schedule, but the author orders are posted in the order submitted in the printed program available via pdf here.

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Friday, March 6 • 2:25pm - 3:25pm
LGB Client Experiences and Therapeutic Practice with Sexual Minorities: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis

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In this poster I will present the findings of a recent qualitative study concerning the therapeutic experiences of lesbian and bisexual women as well as gay men. Despite some indications that treatment experiences have been improving (Liddle, 1999), LGB clients still receive discriminatory and inadequate treatment (Bieschke, Paul, & Blasko, 2007). Studies consistently show that counselors continue to be inadequately trained in the experiences of LGB clients (Murphy, Rawlings, & Howe, 2002; Phillips & Fischer, 1998). Furthermore, even clinicians who seek to offer affirmative therapy may hold unconscious negative biases as a result of growing up within a heterosexist culture (Bieschke et al., 2007). Utilizing Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, 2010), this study presents the therapeutic experiences of seven individuals in order to inform competent practice with this population. Results of this study included reflections on the influences of invisibility and visibility on self-categorization, ways in which sexual minority individuals assess the cultural competence of their practitioners, and the influence of heterosexism on expectations of therapy. Participants also discussed situations in which clinicians expressed judgment or lack of knowledge in the therapy. Recommendations concerning how therapists can effectively respond to cultural ruptures will be provided based on these accounts. Furthermore, underlying principles of competent cross-cultural therapy are proposed, which emphasize the importance self-reflective work on the part of the clinician in order to facilitate their ability to provide nonjudgmental acceptance, discuss sexuality with ease, value different ways of approaching relationship, and decrease therapeutic defensiveness. Additionally, participant preferences regarding the sexual orientation of the therapist were explored, and the diversity of preferences reflect variations present within the body of matching research. While this study found that several participants preferred sexual minority therapists, the results also suggest that there are significant benefits to working with culturally competent heterosexual clinicians. Participants described benefiting from the experience of acceptance from a member of the dominant culture, which provided a corrective experience to familial rejection and internalized heterosexism. These accounts suggest that this therapeutic dyad could provide aspects of restorative justice in the microcosm of the therapy room through the witnessing of influences of heterosexism by an educated and reflective heterosexual.


Friday March 6, 2015 2:25pm - 3:25pm
Redwood