Lesbians and Gays in Couples and Families: A Handbook for Therapists

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Lesbians and Gays in Couples and Families: A Handbook for Therapists. Joan Laird & Robert-Jay Green (Eds.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 1996. 462 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-7879-0222-5. $38.95.

Lesbians and Gays in Couples and Families: A Handbook for Therapists exemplifies a unique and valuable contribution to the field of couples and family therapy for many reasons. To my knowledge, this handbook represents a first attempt at integrating personal accounts, clinical practice, theory, and empirical research in addressing the complexities of being gay or lesbian in couples and families. The personal and clinical accounts make the experiences of gays and lesbians more real-not only within the couple and family contexts, but within our "homoignorant" society as well. These accounts are nicely balanced with theory and empirical research, which provide credibility and validation for gays and lesbians.

All too often literature focuses on gays and lesbians in isolation and defines them solely by their sexual orientation. This handbook offers a refreshing alternative by recognizing gays and lesbians as multifaceted individuals whose sexual orientation is but one characteristic that composes their sense of identity. Specifically, this handbook explores the experiences of gays and lesbians not only as individuals, but also as life partners in intimate relationships, as sons or daughters, and mothers or fathers. In this respect, the contributors to Lesbians and Gays in Couples and Families: A Handbook for Therapists have articulated successfully the intersection of gays and lesbians and family-a crossing of paths that many believe, erroneously, is an impossibility. …