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Training for counselors with LGBT clients

Published: Monday, April 28, 2014 3:24 p.m. CDT

According to the American Psychological Association, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) use mental health services more than their hetero-sexual counterparts. They also experience depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidality at higher rates, and are more likely to be homeless, suffer abuse, and experience feelings of loneliness.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, May 2, the Northern Illinois University Counseling Association and Chi Sigma Iota will offer an all-day workshop, “Counselor LGBT Training.” Two nationally recognized leaders in LGBT studies will serve as the keynote presenters. Dr. Jane Rheineck, Ph.D., will start the morning by teaching counselors the knowledge, awareness, and skills to make their practice LGBT-affirming. In the afternoon, Alan H. Boudreau, J.D., will speak on the legal issues facing LGBT clients, particularly those regarding marriage law and the ever-evolving diversity of family units, and how counselors can better advocate for their clients. The workshop will take place in the Gabel Hall Learning Center. It is free and open to all, but it will be especially useful to those who are counselors, psychologists, social workers, and others in the mental health profession.

Participants can register by going to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lgbt-counselor-training-tickets-10690342101.

“People belonging to the LGBT community learn early on to navigate the world differently," Rheineck said. "As professional counselors, it is our obligation to understand as best we can their lens for the world.”

“As today's families grow more diverse, members of the helping professions are constantly challenged to provide outstanding service in unfamiliar situations," Boudreau said. "This training focuses on preparing helping professionals to work with members of the LGBTQ community by providing tools to include LGBTQ clients in their practices, create LGBTQ supportive practices by identifying and addressing LGBTQ bias issues, and understand the complicated legal issues LGBTQ clients face outside of the safety of the professional's office.”

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