The real and ideal experiences of what culturally competent counselling or psychotherapy service provision means to lesbian, gay and bisexual people

Joshua Bishop*, Dimity Crisp, Brett Scholz

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people report greater dissatisfaction with counselling and psychotherapy services than their heterosexual counterparts. Greater dissatisfaction with these services may result from experiences of microaggressions resulting from a lack of service provider cultural competence. The present study aimed to investigate what culturally competent provision of service means to LGB people through understanding their actual and ideal experience of accessing a counsellor or psychologist. Twenty-one LGB participants responded to six literature-driven questions in a semi-structured interview format regarding their actual and ideal experiences of accessing a counsellor or psychologist. Two themes were developed from the results: the importance of creating a safe space, and modifiable and non-modifiable service provider traits. LGB participants discussed being more willing to disclose and discuss their sexual orientation in services that created a safe space. LGB participants perceived counsellors and psychologists as more culturally competent if they demonstrated: inclusive intention, awareness of heteronormativity, knowledge about issues impacting LGB people and openness to diversity. Counsellors and psychologists who were younger or LGB were perceived by LGB participants to be more culturally competent. Based on the results, recommendations for counsellors and psychotherapists include recognition of the importance of creating a safe space and demonstrating affirming care to LGB people.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)429-438
    Number of pages10
    JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
    Volume22
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

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