The article by Earley et al. (2019) was published in the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling. The researchers aimed to qualitatively explore gay men’s experiences with counseling and provide practice-oriented suggestions. There was no definitive hypothesis due to the willingness to explore the understudied phenomenon holistically. However, based on the literature review section, they expected to find some evidence of Western mental health practitioners’ ill-preparedness for working with gay men from religious backgrounds.
Twelve men with some experience of receiving counseling services in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, or Britain were interviewed. To be enrolled, all participants had to be adult gay men that were raised in religious families and had children born in heterosexual marriages. The recruitment involved the use of social networks for gay fathers and snowballing techniques. There were two qualitative research methods, including semi-structured interviews devoted to counseling experiences and interpretative phenomenological analysis.
The results reveal multiple issues in counseling gay fathers in English-speaking countries. These include the examples of gay conversion therapy experienced by seven participants, with many of these instances linked to the Christian church and counselors’ attempts to restore their heterosexuality (Earley et al., 2019). At the same time, two-thirds of participants also experienced one-on-one counseling sessions that could be called gay-affirmative, and five participants reported the same experiences in the form of group therapy. Thus, the authors suggest non-judgmental treatment and exploring the impact of heteronormativity on the studied population’s identity formation as the opportunities to improve therapeutic interventions for gay fathers.
Earley, E., Clarke, V., & Moller, N. (2019). Counselling formerly heterosexually partnered gay fathers raised with religion. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 48(6), 768-779. Web.