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Tracy Marsh


There are known issues related to religion and spirituality (R/S) among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population, such as identity struggles, religious abuse, and internalized homonegativity. Many therapists are uncomfortable incorporating R/S into therapy, with poor training and supervision identified as a possible rationale. The purpose of this study was to explore supervisors’ experiences mentoring therapists-in-training on issues related to R/S among LGBT clients as well as supervisors’ level of preparation to mentor this area. The integrated affirmative supervision model (IAS) and multiple dimensions of cultural competence (MDCC) conceptual frameworks drove the development of this study. A generic qualitative research design was used. A total of 10 supervisors with experience mentoring in this area participated in the study via a 1:1 phone interview. Interview data were coded using thematic analysis, which resulted in 10 themes. Results indicated challenges mentoring this area of intersection, such as limited R/S competence as well as greater need for processing transference/countertransference and self-disclosure with therapists-in-training. Furthermore, results indicated that supervisors were prepared to mentor in this area primarily via personal exposure and receiving supervision. Despite unique issues mentoring in this area, overall results indicated known supervision skills, such as creating a safe space and empowering therapists-in-training, were helpful with mentoring in this area. Through better understanding of what mentoring therapists-in-training on issues related to R/S among LGBT clients looks like, there can be reduced mystery and fear of mentoring R/S among LGBT clients.

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