In this unit we will consider the characteristics and concerns of sexual minorities and how the historical and current social and political climate contributes to higher rates of mental health and substance abuse issues for this group. Homophobia and heterosexism have played a prominent role in threats to the health and safety of sexual minorities. Thanks to the work of advocates, there is a greater acceptance of sexual minorities as evidenced in the media and at the public policy level; yet we still live in a world where being identified as a sexual minority can have devastating, and in some cases deadly, results (Sue & Sue, 2013).
As such, it is imperative that we cultivate our awareness, knowledge, and skill in counseling and advocating for this especially vulnerable population. Just as we are responsible to ensure that our attitudes and beliefs do not impede our work with racial and ethnic minorities, so are we responsible when it comes to our work with sexual minority clients. In this unit we will have an opportunity to assess our own readiness to counsel sexual minorities and to consider the steps we may need to take to develop competence with this population.
We will also explore the concepts of spirituality and religion and their relevance in working with sexual minorities in terms of our own religious values and beliefs as well as those of our clients. According to van Asselt and Senstock (2009, p. 412):
Spirituality has been defined as the capacity and tendency present in human beings to find and construct meaning about life and existence (Myers & Williard, 2003, p. 149). Spirituality is the choice to move toward personal growth, responsibility, and relationship with others (Myers & Williard, 2003). Religion has been defined as institutional beliefs and behaviors that are a part of the broader concept of spirituality (Myers, Sweeney, & Witmer, 2000, p. 252).
Van Asselt and Senstock (2009) also pointed to the need for counselors to attend to spirituality and the role it plays in mental health and wellness and to be ready to “address a variety of issues in their therapy sessions” (p. 412). Van Asselt and Senstock (2009, p. 412) further noted the possibility of harming clients by not attending to their spiritual needs and the barriers we may present as counselors to clients’ bringing in their spiritual experiences and needs if “they perceive that the counselor would judge them as being too religious or perhaps pathological (Anandarajah & Hight, 2001).”
Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2013). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
van Asselt, K., & Senstock, T. (2009). Influence of counselor spirituality and training on treatment focus and self-perceived competence. Journal of Counseling & Development, 87(4), 412–418.Objectives
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Recognize the impact of spirituality on counseling.
2. Develop strategies to address the influence of a counselor’s characteristics, attitudes, and beliefs on culturally competent counseling practices.
3. Articulate education and prevention practices across the mental health professions.
4. Analyze how effective education and prevention practices increase social justice within diverse populations.
Learning Activities Studies
Use your textbook, Sue and Sue’s Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice, to complete the following:
• Read Chapter 22, “Counseling LGBT Individuals,” pages 473–485.
Use the Library to complete the following:
• Read Barret and Barzan’s 1996 article, “Spiritual Experiences of Gay Men and Lesbians,” in Counseling and Values, volume 41, issue 1, pages 4–15.
• Read Kashubeck-West, Meyer, and Szymanski’s 2008 article, “Internalized Heterosexism: A Historical and Theoretical Overview,” in Counseling Psychologist, volume 36, issue 4, pages 615–630.
• Read Carroll, Gilroy, and Ryan’s 2002 article, “Counseling Transgendered, Transsexual, and Gender-Variant Clients,” in Journal of Counseling and Development, volume 80, issue 2, pages 131–139.
• Read Hermann and Richter Herlihy’s 2006 article, “Legal and Ethical Implications of Refusing to Counsel Homosexual Clients,” in Journal of Counseling & Development, volume 84, issue 4, pages 414–418.
Use the Internet to read this story from the Huffington Post. This story will be the basis for Question 2 of this unit.
• Huffington Post: “Jamie Hubley, Gay 15-Year-Old Ottawa, Canada Teen Commits Suicide, Cites Depression, School Troubles.”
Use the Internet to locate and read/view at least three of the following websites:
• AGLBTIC: Association for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Issues in Counseling.
• GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
• Matthew Shepherd Foundation.
• The National Association of Lesbian and Gay Bisexual and Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies.
• Out of the Past.
• PFLAG: Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
• The Gay Affirmative Therapy website article, “Ten Common Mistakes Straight Clinicians Make When Working With Gay and Lesbian Clients.”
• Optional Readings
The literature is rich with resources to help counselors and therapists delve more deeply into the topics being covered in this course and to pursue their own special interests. Below you will find a reference list compiled by experts in each of the specialization areas at Capella University; look to these for information and use as you wish in your professional development. Please note that it is acceptable to draw from these resources for your discussions and assignments; however, you should not rely exclusively on these resources in completing assignments that require library research.
• In Rastogi and Thomas’s Multicultural Couple Therapy, read the following:
o Addison and Coolhart’s chapter, “Integrating Socially Segregated Identities: Queer Couples and the Question of Race,” pages 51–75.
o Meyerstein’s chapter, “Two Jews, Three Opinions: Understanding and Working With Jewish Couples in Therapy,” pages 121–142.
• In McGoldrick and Hardy’s Re-visioning Family Therapy: Race, Culture, and Gender in Clinical Practice (2nd ed.), read Stone Fish’s chapter, “The Semitism Schism: Jewish-Palestinian Legacies in a Family Therapy Training Context,” pages 197–203.
• Read Boone, Mayberry, Betancourt, Coggins, and Yancey’s 2006 article, “Cultural Competence in the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases,” in American Journal of Health Studies, volume 21, issue 3/4, pages 199–208.
• Read Fisher, Gushue, and Cerrone’s 2011 article, “The Influences of Career Support and Sexual Identity on Sexual Minority Women’s Career Aspirations,” The Career Development Quarterly, volume 59, issue 5, pages 441–454.
• Read Goodrich and Luke’s 2009 article, “LGBTQ Responsive School Counseling,” in Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, volume 3, issue 2, pages 113–127.
• Read Knopf’s 2010 article, “Sexual Health Groups Help Patients Avoid Relapses,” in Behavioral Healthcare, volume 30, issue 10, pages 12–13.
• Read Lebolt’s 1999 article, “Gay Affirmative Psychotherapy: A Phenomenological Study,” in Clinical Social Work Journal, volume 27, issue 4, pages 355–370.
• Read Lev’s 2009 article, “The Ten Tasks of the Mental Health Provider: Recommendation for the Revision of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care,” in International Journal of Transgenderism, volume 11, issue 2, pages 74–99.
• Read McGeorge and Stone Carlson’s 2011 article, “Deconstructing Heterosexism: Becoming an LGB Affirmative Heterosexual Couple and Family Therapist,” in Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, volume 37, issue 1, pages 14–26.
• Read Talley, Tomko, Littlefield, Trull, and Sher’s 2011, “The Influence of General Identity Disturbance on Reports of Lifetime Substance Use Disorders and Related Outcomes Among Sexual Minority Adults With a History of Substance Use,” in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, volume 25, issue 3, pages 530–541.
• Read Nadal et al.’s 2011 article, “Sexual Orientation Microaggressions: Processes and Coping Mechanisms for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Individuals,” in Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, volume 5, issue 1, pages 21–46.
• Read Bowers, Minichiello, and Plummer’s 2010 article, “Religious Attitudes, Homophobia, and Professional Counseling,” in Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, volume 4, issue 2, pages 70–91.
• Read Sangganjanavanich and Cavazos’s 2010 article, “Workplace Aggression: Toward Social Justice and Advocacy in Counseling for Transgender Individuals,” in Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, volume 4, issue 3/4, pages 187–201.
• Read Senreich’s 2010 article, “Are Specialized LGBT Program Components Helpful for Gay and Bisexual Men in Substance Abuse Treatment?” in Substance Use & Misuse, volume 45, issue 7/8, pages 1077–1096.
• Read A Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.
The Social Justice Advocacy Readiness Questionnaire
Read Chen-Hayes’ 2001 article, “Social Justice Advocacy Readiness Questionnaire,” from Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, Volume 13, Issue 1/2, pages 191–203.
On page 196, you will find The Social Justice Advocacy Readiness Questionnaire (SJARQ). Complete items 1–10 of Part 1: Individual Social Justice Advocacy Awareness, Comfort, & Values. You are required to complete only Part 1, but if you want to complete the entire questionnaire, you may do so at your own discretion.
Question 1: One page needed with 2 references. Different attachment needed for both assignments. Thanks!
Assessing Our Readiness to Counsel Sexual Minorities
Before you start on this discussion, complete Part 1 (items 1–10) of The Social Justice Advocacy Readiness Questionnaire in the Chen-Hayes article. Use your responses to the questionnaire and the readings of this unit to prepare a post that reflects on your own readiness to counsel sexual minorities. Specifically address your spiritual or religious beliefs and how those may present challenges or opportunities in working with clients who are sexual minorities. How will you address any challenges your beliefs may present to your preparedness to respond ethically and competently to the needs of sexual minority clients? Under what circumstances might you seek supervision to support your clinical competence in working with a sexual minority client?
Question 2: 1 page needed with 2 references. My area of specialization is addiction counseling.
Case Analysis: Jamie Hubley
Keeping your specialization area in mind, provide examples of how you might increase the cultural appropriateness of a counseling theory, technique, or intervention at an agency, practice, or school so that they promote the optimal health and well-being of sexual minorities.
In your analysis of the counseling role, think of the purpose and role it serves in carrying out an organization’s mission in prevention, education, conflict resolution, intervention, consultation, and advocacy. Use the story of “Jamie Hubley, Gay 15-Year-Old Ottawa, Canada Teen Commits Suicide, Cites Depression, School Troubles” in conjunction with the resources you explored to support your strategies and ideas.