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      “Stepping up the Ladder in Safety”: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of how LGB Clients Experience Their Therapists’ Sexual Orientation

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          Abstract

          Relevant literature has explored the issue of disclosure of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) therapists to heterosexual or LGB clients. But how do homosexual or bisexual clients understand and experience their therapist’s heterosexual orientation, known or assumed, in relation to the therapeutic alliance and the therapeutic process? In this qualitative study, we used the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to examine eight semi-structured interviews with LGB clients in a family-oriented therapy in Greece. Analysis revealed two themes of higher order, each having three subordinate themes depicting the client’s experience of the therapist’s sexual orientation: 1. Focus on the therapist’s sexual orientation: (a) as a hypothesis (b) as a factor of acceptance (c) as a factor of professional capability and 2. Focus on other therapist features: (a) gender (b) personality traits (c) practice of professional role. The therapist’s sexual orientation or the one perceived by the client was not a neutral issue in therapy and the cultivation of the therapeutic relationship but was only one part of the process. The way all these issues were processed and approached by clients was related to their personal history and phase of therapy. Suggestions for future research include conducting a research on clients from different therapeutic perspectives since it was carried out only on participants in long-term systemic family therapy.

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          Most cited references25

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          Giving voice and making sense in interpretative phenomenological analysis

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            Evolving guidelines for publication of qualitative research studies in psychology and related fields

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                EJCoP
                Eur J Couns Psych
                The European Journal of Counselling Psychology
                Eur. J. Couns. Psych.
                PsychOpen
                2195-7614
                09 January 2019
                2018
                : 7
                : 1
                : 211-223
                Affiliations
                [a ] Training and Research Institute for Systemic Psychotherapy , Athens, Greece
                Author notes
                [* ]22-24, Portarias Str., 11523 Athens, Greece. maria_viou@ 123456hotmail.com
                Article
                ejcop.v7i1.139
                10.5964/ejcop.v7i1.139
                a80ea5cb-f7d0-4746-b8e0-135a3a58ab47
                Copyright @ 2018

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 19 January 2017
                : 15 September 2018
                Categories
                Articles

                Psychology
                family therapy,therapeutic relationship,Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis,therapist’s sexual orientation,LGB clients

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