THERAPIST QUALITIES PREFERRED BY SEXUAL-MINORITY INDIVIDUALS


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Abstract

Psychotherapy research concerning lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals has focused on matching clients on gender and sexual orientation, yet has not considered how factors such as therapeutic skill, presenting problem, and cohort membership may influence preference for therapists. This study was designed to identify those therapist qualities that sexual-minority individuals prefer and to determine how the presenting problem influences therapist choice. Forty-two nonheterosexual adults between 18 and 29 years old ranked 63 therapist characteristics from “Extremely Uncharacteristic” to “Extremely Characteristic” when seeking treatment for a problem in which their sexual orientation was salient and one in which it was not. The analyses of both conditions yielded clusters of items reflecting therapist characteristics that participants considered unfavorable, neutral, beneficial, and essential. Participants valued therapists who had LGB-specific knowledge as well as general therapeutic skills, whereas they indicated that they would avoid therapists who held heterocentric views. Application of these findings to clinical practice and future directions are discussed.

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