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Critique Essay: Gay Affirmative Therapy

The following points are significant for considering the future of gay affirmative therapy according to the article. Firstly, there is no consensus about what constitutes gay affirmative therapy. This is the reason why the author considers investigating this question in a broader manner. He thought there was no theoretical framework or operational definitions to precisely tell whether gay affirmative therapy is better described as a therapeutic approach or an actual psychotherapy. Secondly, affirmative approach to therapy is close to the definition of culturally competent therapy. Nowadays, there are unique elements that are related to this approach, identifying it as culturally competent therapy with LGB individuals (Johnson, 2012).

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The therapeutic alliance between a client and a doctor continues to be a strong predictor of satisfaction and success in psychotherapy. Indeed, as far as a doctor is able to be open-hearted and gain people’s trust, his work on gay therapy will be effective one. This particularly works with almost all LGB clients as they need to feel understood, supported, and accepted by their psychotherapists much more than people with normal sexual orientation. Nevertheless, strong collaboration is not the only condition relevant in case with doctor-patient alliance. In order to develop the gay affirmative therapy, a stronger collaboration between researchers, scientists, and practicing clinicians should be considered. Such collaboration can help in identifying helpful programs that would show what should be pursued in the future researches.

It comes as no surprise that psychotherapy of LGB clients has been practiced before XXI century. In the 1970-ies, psychotherapy dealt with this population and it was concentrated on the treatment of mental disorders. Indeed, people perceived such orientation as a mental problem, but not as an inherent feature. Nevertheless, in 1973, homosexuality has been removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder as a psychological disorder. Even with this change, antigay sentiment was still viewed as a mental health disorder. The treatment is still focused on conversion and reparative type therapy. Although professional organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers have clearly established this transformation therapy as counter-therapeutic and harmful, it still exists and is seen by some psychotherapists as an option for therapeutic treatment. Although this is only a small proportion of the therapy types conducted today with LGB people, there is still a great gap between the historic ideas of treating gay clients and current beliefs about the kinds of the most effective therapies for LGB persons. I agree with these statements as reparative therapy is used in order to somehow “cure” the patient while he may only need to solve his daily problems connected with the work, rejection in the society and his relationships with other people. In my opinion, reparative therapy used by some of those therapists is not something gay patients really search for. Nowadays, psychotherapy with that LGBT population is an area of relevant concern due to the need in new investigations and new therapies (Ritter & Terndrup, 2002).

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Lately, the process of devising the efficient strategies and ways regarding treatment of LGB people continues. I may agree with the author since the last few decades have become prominent due to great amount of researches about lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. The relevance of such investigations is seen from the fact that currently scientists still do not know how to treat and solve issues related to LGB people. Gay persons are treated differently in the society and have much more problems than heterosexual people. Nevertheless, there is certain understanding of specific challenges that are faced by these people. This can help in creating effective treatment programs and making certain prognosis (LGBT Affirmative Therapy, 2011).

The literature also shows that many clinicians use gay affirmative therapy in work with LGB individuals since it is a significant way of treating such persons. It must be developed further. Gay positive studies must be continued. Anyway, author did not outline any next steps in the verification of the use of gay affirmative therapy with LGB persons. This approach may lead scientists to a solid theoretical basis, which, in turn, moves gay affirmative therapy from culturally competent approach to the true validated psychotherapies. I agree, this is something that must move from a valid approach to the theory of psychotherapy (LGBT Affirmative Therapy, 2011).

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As far as exploration of the gay affirmative therapy continues, great attention must be paid to the idea of coming out. I agree with the fact that therapist model of conduct should have some standards and be set for patient’s comfort. The feelings that patient has discussing his problems are very important. To explore this question, a complex overview of these empirical studies of psychotherapy with this population must be discussed by the therapists in more detailed manner. The process of coming out in the life of LGB people can last all life because our world is indeed built for heterosexual people, in which little place is given for homosexual people. In such a world, great amount of people suffer from cultural issues and those related to people’s attitude.  LGB people search for understanding and approval when they go to the psychotherapist. Actually, coming out is to be discussed and confirmed by the doctors. For example, Burkell and Goldfried have interviewed 42 non-heterosexual adults, which were aged between 18-29 years, in order to learn about the therapist qualities preferred by LGB persons. It is not surprising that the ability to trust was identified as the most important characteristic. Counseling and answering the questions were of great importance to LGB people. Also identified as essential for the therapist were LGB-specific knowledge and LGB confirming behavior. This might explain why LGB persons view psychotherapy as a useful one. They feel that their physicians are ready to accept and understand them.

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