Working with Gay Men

  • Kevin T. Kuehlwein


This chapter will offer a basic model for the use of cognitive therapy with men who are struggling to better understand and integrate their same-sex sexual orientation. Its aim is to aid the expansion of a man’s social, behavioral, and self-identity to include more positive feelings and actions consonant with his sexual and affectional attraction to men. This chapter will take the reader through the course of a simulated case and will present reading suggestions for gay men in therapy and/or their therapists. Although it is presented in largely linear fashion, the therapeutic focus with this population (as with others) would likely oscillate between the delineated stages as gains were solidified. The examples in this chapter are based on gay men I have known and worked with clinically, but do not represent any one person. (The approach could probably easily be applied also to lesbians but because of my own limited experience on this account, I purposely focus here on the population with which I have worked most closely.) The word heterosexism is used here to refer to the valuing of heterosexual over homosexual behavior and orientation, rather than the more common term homophobia, because of the latter’s imprecise meaning.


Cognitive Therapy Automatic Thought Homosexual Behavior American Professional Football Term Homophobia 
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  1. Beck, A. T., & Emery, G. (1985). Anxiety disorders and phobias: A cognitive perspective. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
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Suggested Readings

  1. Borhek, M. (1983). Coming out to parents: A two-way survival guide for lesbians and gay men and their parents. New York: Pilgrim. (Superb book for anyone by a mother whose strong religious beliefs initially made her react negatively to her own gay son; especially good regarding grief, religion, and the parents’ point of view.).Google Scholar
  2. Brown, H. (1976). Familiar faces, hidden lives: The story of homosexual men in America today. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. (An autobiographical book by a physician. Has good chapters on religion, psychiatry, and parents.).Google Scholar
  3. Churchill, W. (1967). Homosexual behavior among males: A cross-cultural and cross-species investigation. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. (Good for skimming; pretty exhaustive.).Google Scholar
  4. Fairchild, B., & Howard, N. (1989). Now that you know: What every parent should know about homosexuality. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. (Written by parents.).Google Scholar
  5. Fox, J. (1984). The boys on the rock. New York: St. Martin’s. (Great novel for gay men about coming out.).Google Scholar
  6. Hobson, L. (1975). Consenting adults. New York: Doubleday. (Excellent semiautobiographical novel—and 1980s telemovie— about the author’s own struggle to understand her son’s homosexuality. Good for parents or clients.).Google Scholar
  7. Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia: Saunders.Google Scholar
  8. Kopay, D., & Young, P. D. (1988). The David Kopay story. New York: Donald Fine. (Excellent book about the first American professional football player to go public with being gay.).Google Scholar
  9. McNaught, B. (1988). On being gay: Thoughts on family, faith, and love. New York: St. Martin’s. (Excellent essays, many autobiographical, on religion and other topics.).Google Scholar
  10. McNeill, J. (1988). The church and the homosexual (3rd ed.). New York: Putnam. (Excellent book by a Catholic priest; addresses many of the thorny theological issues.).Google Scholar
  11. Miller, N. (1989). In search of gay America: Women and men in a time of change. New York: Atlantic Monthly. (Fascinating reportage of gay life even in remote regions of the United States.).Google Scholar
  12. PFLAG, P. O. Box 24565, Los Angeles, CA 90024, l-(800)-4FAMILY. (Stands for Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays, a national group. Call or write for a chapter near you.)Google Scholar
  13. Reid, J. (1973). The best little boy in the world. New York: Putnam’s. (Good autobiographical first book.).Google Scholar
  14. Silverstein, C. (1977). A family matter: A parents guide to homosexuality. New York: McGraw-Hill. (Good book for parents or clients; excellent chapter on the changing views and perspectives of medicine and psychiatry on this issue. Also touches on some religious aspects.).Google Scholar
  15. Warren, P. N. (1974). The front runner. New York: Bantam. (A good gay male love story about an athlete.).Google Scholar
  16. Weinberg, G. (1983). Society and the healthy homosexual. New York: St. Martin’s. (A very readable, but somewhat more psychological book.).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin T. Kuehlwein
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Cognitive Therapy, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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