A new family systems therapeutic approach for parents and families of sexual minority youth

Christopher J Doyle
Issues in Law & Medicine 2018, 33 (2): 223-234
Recent legislation introduced in the United States, and abroad, to restrict "conversion" or "change" therapies for clients under the age of eighteen has brought upon increasing challenges for religious and/or rejecting families of children who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBBTQ), or experience unwanted same-sex attractions or gender identity conflicts. Currently, fourteen states, the District of Columbia, and forty-four cities have based laws to prohibit such therapies, with ore legislation being introduced every year. While reports of abuse and/or forced therapy with licensed clinicians are hard to verify, outcomes studies on the effects of "conversion" or "change" therapy for minors have not been published in the scientific peer-reviewed literature, and even less is known about successful interventions for religious and/or rejecting families of such youth. With the increasing scrutiny brought about by such laws, licensed medical health practitioners should consider adopting innovative models of family systems therapy in order to safely and effectively work with sexual minority youth, and their families. This article presents one such family systems therapeutic model, while also addressing several important ethical considerations for working with religious and/or rejecting families of sexually minority youth.

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