Affirmative Practice and Alternative Sexual Orientations: Helping Clients Navigate the Coming Out Process
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Hill, N.L. Clin Soc Work J (2009) 37: 346. doi:10.1007/s10615-009-0240-2
- 855 Downloads
Those who differ from the dominant heterosexual ideal of exclusively other-sex attraction and intimacy encounter unique challenges, such as the coming out process, during which individuals with alternative sexual orientations must explore, define, and disclose their orientations in a way straight individuals need not. This article focuses on how clinicians can aid clients throughout the coming out process in a way that affirms the full range of sexual orientations. Following an overview of alternative sexual orientations and models of the coming out process, a case example is used to illustrate how clinicians can help clients address three challenges of coming out: overcoming internalized biases; clarifying their sexual orientation and identity; and making decisions about disclosure.