Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Spring 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Counseling, Rehabilitation and Student Development

First Advisor

Volker Thomas

Abstract

In the history of this country queer-identified individuals have faced discrimination and harassment in their places of school and work for many years. Research has found that exposure to these experiences can have a negative impact on mental health. Prior to this study, no data were available as to whether or not queer-identified Couple and Family Therapists (C/MFTs) also have faced discrimination and harassment within the field of C/MFT. This study explored the lived experiences of queer-identified C/MFTs in an attempt to identify what unique struggles this population faces, and if these struggles include coping with discrimination and harassment. Participants identified concerns over inadequate training and resources, issues related to self-disclosure, the role of being a spokesperson for the queer community, the role that context plays with regard to their experiences, the strengths of being a queer-identified C/MFT, and the relationship that the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) has had with queer-identified C/MFTs and the queer community in general. Finally, participants were asked to give words of advice to other therapists based on their own experiences. The results of the study suggest that queer-identified C/MFTs find their sexual orientation as a strength; it not only benefits their clinical work, but can enable a sense of empowerment in advocating for the rights of their community.

Public Abstract

In the history of this country queer-identified individuals have faced discrimination and harassment in their places of school and work for many years. Research has shown that these experiences can cause significant mental distress. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of queer-identified Couple/Marriage and Family Therapists (C/MFTs) and highlights the needs of this unique population. Participants revealed that they did in fact have unique needs that other, straight identified therapists, may not require, and expressed their desire for an increase in resources to help them navigate these needs. Even though the study identifies the struggles that queer-identified C/MFTs face, it also reveals the strengths that are inherent to this unique population.

Keywords

publicabstract, Couple/Marriage and Family Therapy, Qualitative, Queer Issues

Pages

x, 134 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 131-134).

Copyright

Copyright 2016 Tracie Ann Yeckley

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