Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 302–307 | Cite as

Policy, Practice and People: Current Issues Affecting Clinical Practice

  • Jeane W. Anastas
Clinical Social Work Forum


This commentary highlights current policy issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people in the US with implications for mental and behavioral health care and social work services. These issues include conversion or reparative therapies, especially for young people, and conscience clauses that may exempt some students and practitioners from serving LGBTQ people and their families. While not a “policy” per se, emerging knowledge about health disparities that affect LGBTQ people will also be summarized because of its relevance to practice; many of these concern mental health and behavioral health. Finally, some resources for making health care organizations more responsive to the needs of LGBT people are identified.


Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Social policy USA 


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Therapies focused on attempts to change sexual orientation (position statement). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychological Association (APA). (2009). Report of the APA Task Force on appropriate responses to sexual orientation. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  3. American Psychological Association (APA). (2009a). Appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation. Available at:
  4. American Psychological Association (APA). (2009b). Resolution: Appropriate affirmative responses to sexual orientation distress and change efforts. Available at
  5. Anastas, J. W. (2012). Love, money, death and taxes: Why same-sex marriage matters. In E. Hoffler & E. Clark (Eds.), Social work matters. Washington, DC: NASW Press.Google Scholar
  6. Badgett, M. V. L. (1995). The wage effects of sexual orientation discrimination. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 48(4), 726–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Badgett, M. V. L., Sears, B., Lau, H., & Ho, D. (2009). Bias in the workplace: Consistent evidence of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination 1998–2008. Chicago-Kent Law Review, 84(2), 559–595.Google Scholar
  8. Carey, B. (2012). Psychiatry “giant” sorry for backing gay “cure”. New York Times. Available at:
  9. Hatzenbueler, M. L., McLaughlin, K. A., Keyes, K. M., & Hasin, D. S. (2010). The impact of institutional discrimination on psychiatric disorders in gay, lesbian and bisexual populations. American Journal of Public Health, 100(3), 452–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hoffler, E., & Clark, E. J. (Eds.). (2012). Social work matters. Washington, DC: NASW Press.Google Scholar
  11. Human Rights Campaign (HRC). (2012). Healthcare Equality Index 2012. Available at:
  12. Institute of Medicine (IOM). (2011). The health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people: Building a foundation for better understanding. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Available at
  13. International Federation of Social Work (IFSW). (2012). Statement of Ethical Principles. Available at
  14. Jones, S. L., & Yarhouse, M. A. (2011). A longitudinal study of attempted religiously mediated sexual orientation change. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 37(5), 404–427.Google Scholar
  15. King, M., Semlyen, J., Tai, S. S., Killaspey, H., Osborn, D., Popelyuk, D., et al. (2008). A systematic review of mental disorder, suicide, and deliberate self-harm in lesbian, gay and bisexual people. BMC Psychiatry, 18, 8–70.Google Scholar
  16. King, M., Smith, G., & Bartlett, A. (2004). Treatments of homosexuality in Britain since the 1950s—an oral history: The experience of professionals. BMJ, doi: 10.1136/bmj.37984.496725.EE.
  17. Maschi, T., Baer, J., & Turner, S. (2011). The psychological goods on clinical social work: A content analysis of the clinical social work and social justice literature. Journal of Social Work Pracice, 25(2), 233–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Meyer, I. H. (1995). Minority stress and mental health in gay men. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 36(1), 38–56.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. National Association of Social Workers (NASW). (2000). “Reparative” and “conversion” therapies for lesbian and gay men. Available at
  20. National Association of Social Workers (NASW). (2008). Code of ethics. Available at
  21. National Association of Social Workers (NASW). (2009). Social work speaks (8th ed.). Washington, DC: NASW Press.Google Scholar
  22. Schroeder, M., & Shidlo, A. (2001). Ethical issues in sexual conversion therapies: An empirical study of consumers. Journal of Gay and Lesbain Psychotherapy, 5(3/4), 131–166.Google Scholar
  23. State of Michigan, House of Representatives. (2012). Julea Ward Freedom of Conscience Act (H5040 2012 revised). Retrieved on 16 May 2013 at:
  24. Storholm, E. D., Halkitis, P. N., Kupprat, S. A., et al. (2013). HIV-related stigma as a mediator of relation between multiple-minority status and mental health burden in an aging HIV-positive population. Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services, 12(1), 9–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization. (2011). “Cures” for an illness that does not exist. New York: Author. Available at:
  26. Wright, R. G., LeBlanc, A. J., & Badgett, M. V. (2013). Same-sex legal marriage and psychological well-being: Findings from the California Health Interview Survey. American Journal of Public Health, 103(2), 339–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Silver School of Social WorkNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations