The LGBTQIA Healthcare Guild is Affirming of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Patients

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Ways to Be a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Affirming Practitioner

American Psychological Association (APA) Standards of Care for Working with LGBTQIA Clients


Guideline 1.…strives to understand the effects of stigma (i.e., prejudice, discrimination, and violence) and its various contextual manifestations in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

Guideline 2.…understands that being transgender or having a lesbian, gay, or bisexual orientations are not mental illnesses.

Guideline 3.…understands that same-sex attractions, feelings, and behavior are normal variants of human sexuality and that efforts to change sexual orientation have not been shown to be effective or safe.

Guideline 4.…is encouraged to recognize how their attitudes and knowledge about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues may be relevant to assessment and treatment and seek consultation or make appropriate referrals when indicated.

Guideline 5....strives to recognize the unique experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

Guideline 6.…strives to distinguish issues of sexual orientation from those of gender identity when working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender clients.

Guideline 7.…strives to be knowledgeable about and respect the importance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender relationships.

Guideline 8.…strives to understand the experiences and challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents.

Guideline 9.…recognizes that the families of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people may include members who are not legally or biologically related.

Guideline 10. …strives to understand the ways in which a person's lesbian, gay, or bisexual orientation may have an impact on his or her family of origin and the relationship with that family of origin.

Guideline 11. …strives to recognize the challenges related to multiple and often conflicting norms, values, and beliefs faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members of racial and ethnic minority groups.

Guideline 12. …is encouraged to consider the influences of religion and spirituality in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons.

Guideline 13. …strives to recognize cohort and age differences among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

Guideline 14. …strives to understand the unique problems and risks that exist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.

Guideline 15. …is encouraged to recognize the particular challenges experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals with physical, sensory, and cognitive-emotional disabilities.

Guideline 16. …strives to understand the impact of HIV/AIDS on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and communities.

Guideline 17. …is encouraged to consider the impact of socioeconomic status on the psychological well being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender clients.

Guideline 18. …strives to understand the unique workplace issues that exist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

Guideline 19. …strives to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues in professional education and training.

Guideline 20. …is encouraged to increase their knowledge and understanding of issues relevant to homosexuality, bisexuality, intersex, and transgender through continuing education, training, supervision, and consultation.

AFFIRM Psychologists Affirming their Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Family

Recognizing the very important role that family plays in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, a number of psychologists have formed AFFIRM: Psychologists Affirming their Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Family. The American Psychological Association (APA) has been a strong advocate for LGBT concerns, and many of its members have been personally supportive of their LGBT children and other family. However, there has not been a formal network among psychologists who support their LGBT family members. AFFIRM fills this role. The AFFIRM network not only provides open support for our own family members, but also supports clinical and research work on LGBT issues within psychology and encourages sensitivity to the role of sexual orientation in all clinical and research work. Although much has been written within psychology about LGBT issues, this literature has tended to remain invisible to the mainstream profession. AFFIRM hopes to close this gap.
 

What is LGBT-Affirming Therapy or Medical Care?

Affirmative therapy for LGBTQ individuals is based on the premise that LGBTQ and heterosexual identities are equally valid. An LGBTQ affirmative counselor has particular knowledge, awareness (specifically self-awareness), and skills specific to competent counseling for LGBTQ individuals. While maintaining a broad view of acceptable lifestyles, LGBTQ-affirmative therapy challenges oppressive stereotypes and systems of thought, and celebrates and advocates for LGBTQ people and their relationships.*  The APA Guidelines for Working with LGB clients help guide a practitioner towards becoming LGBT-Affirming.  However, LGBT-Affirming therapy goes beyond just following guidelines, it involves a spirit of humility, respect, and deep understanding of the vast differences in human social ecology.

*From Morrow, S. L., & Beckstead, A. L. (2004). Conversion therapies for same-sex attracted clients in religious conflict: Context, predisposing factors, experiences, and implications for therapy. The Counseling Psychologist, 32, 641 – 650.

 

How to Make Your Office More LGBT Affirming and Welcoming

In addition to evaluating your own belief system for heterosexist or homophobic beliefs, providers can:

- Use Gender neutral terminology

- Incorporate LGBT Staff training

- Implement Non-Discrimination policies

- Procure Brochures, Posters, Lobby materials that are LGBT friendly

- Advocate for clients by connecting with local LGBT organizations

*From Coren, J, Coren, C, Pagliaro, S, Weiss, L.  (2011).  Assessing Your office for care of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients.  The Health Care Manager, 30(1), 66-70.

 
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