Benefits of an MAMFT with an LGBTQ specialization

Same Sex Couple Counseling

As a result of the Supreme Court ruling making same sex marriage legal nationwide, the LGBTQ community has been in the spotlight.

As these new couples enter marriage, it’s inevitable they’ll experience many of the same challenges as heterosexual married couples do, and one day may end up on the therapist’s couch.

While any marriage and family counselor could help, imagine the experience a therapist trained in the unique issues related to same sex marriage would bring to a therapy session. To address that missing niche, NCU is pleased to launch a LGBTQ Couple and Family Therapy specialization in its Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy.

There are differences in the developmental and socio-cultural variables these couples contend with. A 2013 study found that couple and family therapists report not feeling adequately trained at times to effectively address some of the concerns LGBTQ couples bring up in therapy. A specialization in this area will allow future therapists to not only address marital issues, but also provide counseling on things like “coming out” challenges, bringing children into the marriage, family and community supports, spiritual integration, and gender reassignment.

Respected marriage researchers Drs. John and Julie Gottman are in the midst of publishing the results from a 12-year study of 21 gay and 21 lesbian couples. They found that gay and lesbian couples are more optimistic in the face of conflict and are more likely to use humor and affection in heated discussions than heterosexual couples. However, they aren’t as savvy at repairing relationships if negativity occurs during a conflict. The research suggests that while relationship quality and satisfaction wasn’t statistically different between heterosexual and LGBTQ couples, some difference exist that can change the area of focus of the therapy and ultimately provide better outcomes.

“We have quite a few students that have expressed an interest in this specialization and feel we have created a very solid curriculum,” said Professor Valerie Q. Glass PhD, LMFT. “The classes will provide an in-depth look at the various forms of LGBTQ families, the possible unique challenges these families might face, the understanding of the social environment surrounding LGBTQ couples and families, and the best therapeutic tools for addressing these challenges."