“We are better and happier if we are inclusive.” Therapist perspectives on the importance of LGB cultural competence in a mental health setting

Joshua Bishop, Dimity Crisp, Brett Scholz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to report dissatisfaction after accessing a counselling or psychological service. Greater dissatisfaction may result from therapists who focus on psychopathology without considering cultural context. Research has demonstrated therapists' cultural competence (attitudes, knowledge and skills) may influence effective service provision to LGB people. Counsellors and psychologists (N = 10) were interviewed to determine the sources of information influencing the cultural competence and LGB cultural competence practices used by therapists in their clinical practice. Three themes were developed from semistructured interviews: (1) the importance of multiple sources of cultural competence; (2) applying cultural competence improves the therapeutic process; and (3) ensuring visual cues of affirmation are affirming, not pathologising. Theme 1 highlighted that initial professional training, cultural competence training and lived experience could be triangulated to assist therapists in improving their cultural competence. Theme 2 highlighted that cultural competence improves the therapeutic process by ensuring therapists can demonstrate affirming attitudes, knowledge about LGB people and culturally affirming skills to work effectively with LGB clients. The final theme explored the need for therapists to create an inclusive space for LGB clients. Recommendations for improving clinical practices and tools to enhance cultural competence are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

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