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Professional Psychology: Research and Practice - Vol 45, Iss 4

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Professional Psychology: Research and Practice Professional Psychology: Research and Practice publishes articles on the application of psychology, including the scientific underpinnings of the profession of psychology.
Copyright 2014 American Psychological Association
  • When family members identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual: Parent–child relationships.
    Introduces the articles in the present issue of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. The American Psychological Association (APA) has developed practice guidelines for working with LGB clients (APA, 2011), and is in the process of developing guidelines for working with transgender clients (APA, 2012). However, the development and dissemination of evidence-based knowledge and standards specific to professional practice with LGBT families is in its infancy. It is hoped that this special section will contribute to our knowledge of the challenges and treatment of LGBT parents, children, and families, and will stimulate ideas for further exploration and discovery of best practices in this area. It should be noted that the original call for papers for this section requested manuscripts on LGB and T parenting. However, no articles were received that addressed the concerns of transgender parents. Thus, the articles in this section all address sexual orientation issues and do not address gender identity. While some of the findings may apply to transgender individuals and their families, we clearly need additional exploration of the unique issues of being transgender. The articles in this section fall into two categories. First are articles on the experience of families in which at least one parent identifies as LGB. The second focuses on articles we received that address the parenting of LGB children and adolescents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Intimate relationship challenges in early parenthood among lesbian, gay, and heterosexual couples adopting via the child welfare system.
    Little research has examined the transition to parenthood among couples who adopt through the child welfare system. The current qualitative study of 84 individuals within 42 couples (17 lesbian, 13 gay, and 12 heterosexual), who were placed with a child via foster care 3 months earlier, examined perceived changes in their intimate relationship. Findings indicated that, like heterosexual biological-parent couples, some adoptive parents perceived the loss of their partner’s undivided attention as stressful to the relationship. Adoption-specific stressors were also identified, including the need to find state-approved child care to facilitate “couple time” and the legal insecurity of foster-to-adopt placements. Although our findings were similar for heterosexual, lesbian, and gay adoptive parents, same-sex couples cited some additional stressors related to their sexual minority status. Findings have implications for individual, couple, and family practitioners who work with lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents, particularly during their transition to parenthood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A qualitative analysis of adult children’s advice for parents coming out to their children.
    Lesbian and gay individuals have few resources to which they can turn when seeking advice for disclosing their sexual orientation to their children. For practitioners, there is also a lack of empirical research that can guide their work with such clients. In this exploratory study, 20 adults who remember a parent coming out as lesbian or gay were interviewed about the process surrounding their parents’ revelation. We asked participants to reflect on their own experiences and offer advice for parents who are preparing to come out. Participants identified several suggestions for parents before, during, and following their disclosures. The results offer a starting point for practitioners who wish to aid lesbian and gay parents in their coming-out conversations with their children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Do parental acceptance and family support moderate associations between dimensions of minority stress and depressive symptoms among lesbians and gay men?
    This study examined the extent to which parental acceptance of one’s sexual orientation and more general family support moderated the associations between 3 dimensions of minority stress (internalized homonegativity, rejection sensitivity, and discrimination) and depressive symptoms in a sample of 414 self-identified lesbians and gay men who participated in an online survey. Results indicated that internalized homonegativity and rejection sensitivity were positively associated with depressive symptoms for those reporting less accepting parental attitudes, but they were not associated for those reporting more accepting parental attitudes. In contrast, parental acceptance did not moderate the association between discrimination and depressive symptoms, and general family support did not moderate any associations. Findings suggest that more accepting parental attitudes toward one’s sexual orientation may protect individuals from distress in the face of their own negative thoughts and feelings related to their sexual orientation, but not overt discrimination. Further, parents’ attitudes toward their child’s sexual orientation may be more important than the extent to which they provide more general support. Interventions for parents struggling with their child’s sexual orientation are encouraged to focus on the importance of parents expressing acceptance and support, which may directly impact well-being and act as a buffer in the face of minority stress. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Fathering gay sons: A typology of fathering concerns and clinical recommendations.
    Fathers play an important role in parenting their children, adolescents, and emerging adults. Men often make meaning of their identity as fathers through competing social and cultural influences. Heterosexual fathers of gay sons may experience parenting concerns specific to this father–son relationship. Grounded in the intersections of 2 bodies of literature on (a) parenting and fatherhood and (b) masculinities, we present a typology of concerns and clinical recommendations for helping clinicians understand experiences related to fathering gay sons. These fathering concerns include (a) emotional responses to their sons’ gay identities, (b) beliefs about sexuality, (c) subjective experiences of the father–son relationship, (d) expressing affection, (e) communication about sexuality, (f) responding to discrimination, (g) finding parental support, and (h) understanding intersectionality and multiple identities. Importantly, we discuss the clinical competencies needed to address these concerns. Clinical implications and future research directions regarding fathering gay sons are considered. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Attachment-based family therapy for lesbian and gay young adults and their persistently nonaccepting parents.
    Describes a modification of attachment-based family therapy for working with sexual minority young adults and their persistently nonaccepting parents. The goal of the treatment is to improve the quality of young-adult–parent relationships and promote connection and mutual acceptance. We provide a brief overview of the treatment tasks that comprise the model, describe the rationale behind each task and how it is implemented, offer clinical excerpts, and conclude with thoughts about the limits of the model and future challenges. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Promoting an affirming, competent practice with older lesbian and gay adults.
    The American Psychological Association’s Practice Guidelines for older adults and for lesbian and gay (LG) clients encourage psychologists to increase their awareness of the unique stressors faced by older LG adults. Psychologists are increasingly likely to see an older LG client in their practice as the number of LG elders is expected to swell to nearly 7 million within the next decade, in tandem with the aging of the general population. This article promotes LG-affirming practice and competence by reviewing issues related to stigma and discrimination, physical, sexual, and mental health disparities, legal issues, and barriers in long-term care, as well the capacity for adaptation and resilience evident in many LG older adults. The importance of racial and ethnic group membership and age cohort in the experience of aging among LG adults is discussed. Case examples, resources, and recommendations for practice, advocacy, and research related to LG aging also are provided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Training in psychological assessment: Current practices of clinical psychology programs.
    Training in psychological assessment has been studied periodically since 1960. The goal of this project was to provide an update of training practices in clinical psychology programs and to compare practices across Clinical-Science, Scientist-Practitioner, and Practitioner-Scholar training models. All APA-accredited programs in clinical psychology were invited to respond to an anonymous online survey about program characteristics and assessment training; a 33% response rate was achieved. Assessment training over the past decade was generally stable or increasing. Training in treatment effectiveness and neuropsychology were areas of growth. Across training models, there was remarkable similarity in assessment instruction except for coverage of projective instruments, number of required assessment courses, and training in geriatric assessment. The most popular instruments taught in clinical psychology programs were the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–IV, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children–IV, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory–II, the Beck Depression Inventory–II, and the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement. Assessment coursework relevant to evidence-based practice, ethics, and multicultural issues may need more emphasis to support the development of core competencies in future generations of clinical psychologists. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Addressing racial and ethnic microaggressions in therapy.
    Racial and ethnic microaggressions in everyday life can negatively impact the well-being of racial and ethnic minorities (REM). When microaggressions are perceived in therapy they can interfere with therapeutic progress. However, little is known about whether microaggressions are addressed in therapy and if so, does addressing them impact the therapeutic relationship. REM clients from a university counseling center (n = 120) reported on their therapy experience. Approximately 53% of clients reported experiencing a microaggression from their therapist. Clients’ perceptions of microaggressions were negatively related to the working alliance, even after controlling for their current psychological well-being, number of sessions, and therapist racial and ethnic status. Of those clients who reported a microaggression, nearly 76% reported that the microaggression was not discussed. For those clients who experienced a microaggression and did not discuss it, alliance ratings were lower as compared with clients who did not experience a microaggression or who experienced a microaggression but discussed it. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • In-session sketching: An adjunctive technique for brief dynamic therapies.
    Using a brief psychodynamic framework, I propose that the use of in-session therapist drawings or “sketches” that support verbal communication is a meaningful activity in the therapist–patient dyad. I argue that the creation of visual sketches in session is synergistic with multiple therapeutic elements in brief therapy. These elements include a focus on a central theme, explicit verbal communications that promote insight, and nonverbal activities that foster important relational functions such as triangulated referencing, mentalization, and disembedding. In addition, I suggest that a sketch of the therapist’s interpretation of the patient’s in-session comments onto a visible surface provides clarification, allows for organization, and increases accessibility to affective memories. I offer a case example, with attendant sketches, that shows how the patient, taking the therapist’s sketches into his subjective world, integrates the experience of being understood more fully than with language alone. I argue that the simultaneous use of verbal and visual modalities permits enhanced reconstitution of the problematic gaps in the patient’s developmental processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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