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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Psychotherapeutic Approaches to Sexual Minority Internalized Stigma

  • Author(s): Kary, Krishna Govinda
  • Advisor(s): Israel, Tania
  • et al.

Sexual minority people experience internalized stigma (IS) as a result of ongoing exposure to external stigma in their environments. Existing literature on IS has demonstrated the detrimental effects IS has on sexual minority people through associated mental health disparities. This study sought to explore current recommendations being made in the literature with regard to addressing IS in psychotherapy. Nine participant clinicians who identified as experienced LGBTQ-affirming practitioners were interviewed regarding their approach to addressing IS through a client case example. CQR yielded themes across the data set that included: clinician’s general conceptualization of IS, IS assessment strategies, specific interventions targeting IS, associated outcomes, and perceived barriers to treating IS in psychotherapy, independent of the case example. Results from this study expand upon the existing literature base by providing new context for existing and novel recommendations and considerations for treating IS in psychotherapy. Findings also highlighted opportunities for additional research, particularly psychotherapy process and outcome research, that will likely aid future clinical practice.

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