Pink Therapy: A Guide for Counsellors and Therapists Working with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients

By Dominic Davies; Charles Neal | Go to book overview

DOMINIC DAVIES


4
Working with people
coming out

This chapter defines and explores the phenomenon known as 'coming out' and why it has become identified as a central part of the development of lesbian and gay identity. It also presents some of the established models of coming out and briefly examines the process in relation to people of colour, people with disabilities, and the implications for people with a bisexual orientation. It explores some of the blocks to coming out and illustrates the process with clinical examples where appropriate.

First it is necessary to define what is meant by 'coming out' and then to explore why coming out is crucial to the development of a healthy identity for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals:

Coming out involves a complex process of intra- and interpersonal
transformations, often beginning in adolescence and extending well
into adulthood which lead to, accompany and follow the events asso-
ciated with acknowledgement of one's sexual orientation.

Hanley-Hackenbruck (1989: 21)

Coming out, as defined by Cohen and Stein (1986: 32),

refers to a complicated developmental process which involves, at a
psychological level, a person's awareness and acknowledgement of
homosexual thoughts and feelings. For some persons, coming out
ultimately leads to public identification as a gay man or lesbian. Various
factors will affect the relative positive or negative meaning the indi-
vidual places on the identity which emerges as a result of the coming
out process.

-66-

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Pink Therapy: A Guide for Counsellors and Therapists Working with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Notes on Contributors vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part 1 - Fundamental Issues 9
  • 1: An Historical Overview of Homosexuality and Therapy 11
  • 2: Towards a Model of Gay Affirmative Therapy 24
  • 3: Homophobia and Heterosexism 41
  • 4: Working with People Coming Out 66
  • Part II - Working with Particular Issues 87
  • 5: Working with Single People 89
  • 6: Working with People in Relationships 101
  • 7: Lesbian and Gay Parenting Issues 116
  • 8: Working with Young People 131
  • 9: Working with Older Lesbians 149
  • 10: Working with Older Gay Men 159
  • 11: Alcohol and Substance Misuse 170
  • 12: Partner Abuse 188
  • 13: Religious and Spirituality Conflicts 199
  • Appendix I - Resources 209
  • Appendix 2 - Community Resources 213
  • Appendix 3 - Books for Clients and Counsellors 217
  • References 222
  • Index 235
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