Counseling LGBTQIA+ Clients with Disabilities: Skills, Strategies, and Approaches
This presentation will focus on practice strategies to best support individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ and disabled through the lens of intersectionality. Intersectionality is rooted in the notion that everyone has their own unique experiences that relate to one’s identity. Identity is the construction of many key facets of a person which may include, but are not limited to, race, sexual orientation, gender orientation, class, physical ability, and disability. When providing therapeutic support to an individual who identifies as being a part of any marginalize group, the therapist must be skilled in their cultural awareness and intervention selection to best support the client. Therapists need to be skilled in their clinical approach when working with individuals who have an intersection of more than one marginalized identity to provide a safe and progressive therapeutic environment.
With that, not all interventions are appropriate for all individuals. For example, affirming cognitive behavioral therapy approaches have been shown to be more effective that cognitive behavioral therapy interventions as is for gay, lesbian, and bisexual clients (Pachankis et al., 2015). However, from a disability-centered lens, cognitive behavioral therapy might not be appropriate for all individuals with disabilities (e.g., individuals with moderate to severe cognitive impairments). In addition to this, there is scant information available to practitioners that is tailored LGBTQIA+ clients.
The goal of this presentation is to discuss the implications of having limited information to rely on that provides specific interventions based on the intersection of disability and sexuality and gender orientation, while highlighting key concepts, like affirming cognitive behavioral therapy that can be tailored to meet the needs of disabled LGBTQIA+ clients.