Homophobia: Therapeutic and Training Considerations for Psychiatry

  • Jerrold S. Polansky
  • Dan H. Karasic
  • Patricia L. Speier
  • Karin Hastik
  • Ellen Haller


A ubiquitous aspect of contemporary society, homophobia has important intrapsychic consequences. This overview examines therapeutic considerations for psychiatrists and other clinicians working with patients whose identifiable sexual orientation (whether bisexual, lesbian, “queer,” or gay) is enough homoerotic to be the target of homophobia in latency, adolescence, and young or older adulthood. It explores the relationship between perceived or introjected homophobia, self-destructive behavior, and psychological symptoms. Treatment of patients for whom the homoerotic is part of sexual identity can be improved by educating psychiatrists throughout their training and practice about sexual identity formation, the “coming out” process, the internalization of homophobia, and the integration of sexuality with identity in homoerotically identified patients. Recommendations are made for the individualized, empathic treatment of identified homoerotic patients. The impact of homophobia on the psychiatrist and the psychiatrist in training is also discussed.

Homophobia psychiatry substance abuse lesbians bisexuals gay men latency adolescence 


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Copyright information

© Gay and Lesbian Medical Association 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerrold S. Polansky
    • 1
  • Dan H. Karasic
    • 2
  • Patricia L. Speier
    • 2
  • Karin Hastik
    • 2
  • Ellen Haller
    • 2
  1. 1.San Francisco
  2. 2.University of California at San FranciscoSan Francisco

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