Gay affirmative therapy:
a theoretical framework and defence
Dr. Darren Langdridge
The Open University
12.30-1.30pm on Friday 16th November 2007
Ground Floor Seminar Room, ScHARR, Regent Court,
University of Sheffield
Gay affirmative therapy (GAT) has recently emerged in an attempt to rectify previously discriminatory psychotherapeutic practice with lesbians, bisexuals and gay men. GAT aims to achieve this by providing a framework for practice which is affirmative of lesbian, gay and bisexual identities. This “positive framework” is clearly challenging for psychotherapies which seek to avoid imposing specific expectations on their clients and a number of humanistic and existential psychotherapists have challenged the applicability of such a framework for their practice. This paper examines these arguments and suggests that Ricoeur’s formulation of hermeneutic phenomenology may provide a solution. It is argued that incorporating a version of a hermeneutic of suspicion and critique of the illusions of the subject into psychotherapeutic practice would enable therapists to recognise and work with the twin impact of the psychotherapist and social world on the construction of a client’s sexual identity.
Dr. Darren Langdridge is a lecturer in social psychology at the Open University, a Chartered Psychologist and UKCP accredited existential psychotherapist. Darren has extensive experience in working clinically with sexual minority clients as well as writing and conducting research on ‘new sexualities’, amongst other topics. He is the author (or editor) of a number of books and numerous papers/chapters including, most recently, Phenomenological Psychology: Theory, Research and Method (Pearson Education) and (with Dr. Meg Barker) Safe, Sane and Consensual: Contemporary Perspectives on Sadomasochism (Palgrave).