Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor in Psychology (Psy. D.)


Despite recent advances in legal protections for and increases in social acceptability towards LGBTQ+ individuals, they continue to experience widespread prejudice and discrimination and seek therapy more often than their heterosexual counterparts as a result. As more and more LGBTQ+ people sought out therapeutic services, psychological research in the field of LGBTQ+ affirming therapy began to develop in order to meet these needs. Although the number of articles and studies conducted in this field has grown exponentially since the start of the 21st century, a sizeable gap between research and application remains. Research often provides vague suggestions without discussing specific clinical recommendations. Until discussion shifts to emphasize the practical aspect of LGBTQ+ affirming therapy, the mental health needs of this large and diverse group of people will not be met. Therefore, the major goal of this project is to review the intersection of mental health and LGBTQ+ people over time and conclude with specific recommendations for providing LGBTQ+ affirmative care across a variety of presenting concerns and treatment settings. It is worth noting that LGBTQ+ affirming therapy is not a specific theoretical orientation or form of treatment on its own. Rather, it is a way of providing therapeutic treatment that takes into consideration the history of LGBTQ+ individuals, the impact of intersectionality, unique individual experiences, and affirms that nobody is less than anybody else, regardless of their sexual identity and/or gender identity. The cultural identities of our clients should be praised, encouraged, and used to inform how we provide mental health services. These conditions represent the heart of LGBTQ+ affirming therapy, which has the potential to have a significant positive impact on countless individuals who need our help as clinicians.

Faculty Mentor

Michael McClellan, PhD

Department Affiliation


Committee Member

Theresa Botts, PhD

Department Affiliation


Department Affiliation