Staying put in the Closet: Examining Clinical Practice and Countertransference Issues in Work with Gay Men Married to Heterosexual Women

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Abstract

Gay men married to heterosexual women seek psychotherapy for numerous reasons, not only to find a way out of their marriages. Therapists must identify their countertransference reactions to avoid pushing the patient either to commit to his marriage or leave it. The patient's underlying problems should be addressed before the patient can explore the fate of his marriage. Therapists also need to be understanding of the patient's attachment to his wife. In addition, therapists must be aware of the societal implications of homophobia on gay patients. This article discusses motivations for heterosexual marriage among gay men, examines two clinical cases, and addresses practice and countertransference issues.

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