Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy Training and Supervision

Submitted by Nicole O'Brien on March 1, 2010

Nicole O’Brien, M.A., a part-time faculty member in the Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT) program and doctoral student at the University of Connecticut, recently completed research in the area of lesbian, gay and bisexual issues. Her review of the literature in this field has found that there is little scholarship that assesses to what extent MFT faculty and supervisors are attending to LGB issues within clinical training and supervision. The scholarship that does exist continues to note this gap in MFT research (e.g., Charlés et al., 2005; Hernandez & Rankin, 2008; Long & Serovich, 2003). However, both Charlés et al. (2005) and Hernandez and Rankin (2008), provide an excellent template and dialogue about how to fill this gap.Using this as a foundation, MFT programs are encouraged to document and evaluate how LGB issues are being addressed and integrated in their programs so this dialogue can continue. If MFT programs and scholars do not continue this dialogue, LGB faculty, students, and clients will remain silenced.

An essential component of marriage and family therapy graduate training is preparing students to competently work with diverse individuals, couples, and families. As such, COAMFTE-accredited programs are required to include didactic and clinical training on diversity issues, including those related to LGB identities. This requires that MFT faculty and supervisors be aware of and competent about the range of LGB topics and issues that trainees will encounter in graduate training and future clinical practice. Further, MFT faculty and supervisors must be able to ensure that all trainees develop competencies to effectively work with members of the LGB population.

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