Gay affirmative therapy: recognizing the power of the social world

Langdridge, Darren (2014). Gay affirmative therapy: recognizing the power of the social world. In: Milton, Martin ed. Sexuality: Existential Perspectives. Ross on Wye: PCCS Books, pp. 160–173.



Gay affirmative therapy (GAT), which should more properly be known as LGBQ or queer affirmative therapy (QAT), has been developed in an attempt to rectify previously discriminatory psychotherapeutic practice with lesbians, bisexuals and gay men (see McGeorge & Carlson, 2011, and Rutter, 2012 for recent reviews). GAT aims to achieve this by providing a framework for practice that is affirmative of lesbian, gay and bisexual identities. This “positive framework” is clearly challenging for psychotherapies which seek to avoid imposing specific expectations on their clients, invariably through some notion of therapeutic neutrality, and a number of existential psychotherapists have challenged the applicability of such a framework for their practice (see du Plock, this volume). This chapter seeks to build on my previous work (Langdridge, 2007a), which draws on Ricoeur’s formulation of hermeneutic phenomenology to argue for the value of GAT (see also Lebolt, 1999 and Pixton, 2003, for empirical evidence in support of GAT). Here, I highlight the need to acknowledge the power of the social world into which we are thrown and the power of the therapist to work with their clients in countering the homo/bi-negativity and heterosexism that remains endemic in these late modern times, with practical case study illustrations of the value of a gay affirmative modification of existential practice when working with sexual minority clients.

Viewing alternatives

No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions