Faculty, students and alumni from the LGBT Specialization of the MA in Clinical Psychology program presented a workshop at the Edgy (Embracing Diversity of GLBT Youth) Conference on Friday, October 27, 2017 at the Skirball Cultural Center. The workshop, entitled “Becoming an LGBTQIA-Affirmative Therapist: Why Simply Being Friendly Isn’t Enough?” was moderated by Cadyn Cathers, MA, Interim Co-Director of the LGBT Specialization. The EDGY Conference strives to create a supportive environment for GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) youth and families through initiatives, education, and enlightenment.
“Becoming an LGBTQIA Affirmative therapist takes education, training, and self-exploration,” said Cathers. “Although empathy is healing, this isn’t ‘good enough’ to help LGBTQIA clients work through the minority stressors that come with growing up in a homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic world.”
AULA alumni and students Linda Nelson, Richard Vasquez, Rachel Jones, and Leah Smith shared their strategies and perspectives on LGBTQIA Affirmative theory and practice, where to get training, how to find LGBTQIA affirmative supervision or consultation, and how to develop a LGBTQIA Affirmative psychotherapy practice.
“Presenting at the Edgy conference was a wonderful experience because it highlighted the importance of being an LGBTQ+ affirmative therapist,” said panel member and LGBT Specialization student Leah Smith. “Specifically, it reinforced the idea that embracing diversity isn’t enough if we, as practitioners, don’t also seek to educate ourselves about our own shame and internalized oppression, as well as how this might show up in the room with our clients.”
“It was empowering for me to speak about toxic shame and internalized hate to other therapists, social workers, parents, and families,” said LGBT Specialization Alumnus Richard Vasquez. “Presenting at the EDGY conference was an opportunity to share with the audience the negative effects of growing up LGBTQIA in a non-affirming environment.”
The EDGY Conference provides a “one-stop-shop” opportunity for youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices, and gather resources from leading experts and national organizations in the field.