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Strategies for Delivering AFFIRMative Cognitive Behavior Therapy to LGBT

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Strategies for Delivering AFFIRMative Cognitive Behavior Therapy to LGBTQ+ Youth
Ashley Austin, PhD, LCSW and Shelley L. Craig, PhD, LCSW
Recorded on May 10, 2017

While there is growing support in contemporary society for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBQ+) identities, LGBTQ+ youth continue to experience disproportionate risk for myriad mental and behavioral health outcomes.  Disparate health risk among LGBTQ+ youth is linked to stressors associated with their sexual and/or gender minority identities.  As a result, successfully navigating adolescence can be challenging and painful process for many LGBTQ+ youth.  Mental health professionals can play a key role in supporting LGBTQ+ client health and well-being through the use of affirmative practice approaches. LGBTQ+ affirmative practice acknowledges the multidimensional spectrum sexual and gender identities as equally healthy and valuable, validating the identities, strengths and experiences of LGBTQ+ youth.  Affirmative practitioners provide a clinical context which counters oppressive and unethical reparative approaches, challenging social and cultural factors that contribute to minority stress and oppression in the lives of LGBTQ+ youth. 

This webinar will focus on AFFIRM, a LGBTQ+ youth-specific version of Cognitive Behavior Therapy that has been adapted to ensure (a) an affirming stance toward LGBTQ+ identities, (b) recognition and awareness of LGBTQ+-specific sources of stress, and (c) the delivery of CBT content within an affirming, developmentally relevant and trauma-informed framework.  AFFIRM helps clients to identify and challenge internalized stigma and negative core beliefs in a safe and supportive clinical context. Participants will be introduced to the skills associated with several core components of AFFIRM including Case Conceptualization, Psychoeducation, Modifying Thinking, and Behavioral Activation, LGBTQ+  youth learn to counter stress, develop support, and engage in healthy coping.  

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Assess the role and impact of homo/transphobic stigma, bullying, and discrimination on LGBTQ+ youths’ presenting mental health concerns.
  2. Articulate an affirmative stance toward LGBTQ+ diversity among youth
  3. Develop skills associated with effectively implementing CBT strategies within an affirmative context which challenges external and internal stigma, and attends to LGBTQ+ youths’ specific needs.

Audience: Intermediate/Advanced