“The shadow escapes from the body like an animal we had been sheltering” - An exploration of the experiences of gay male psychotherapists in relation to their sexuality in and out of the therapy room

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Glennon, Scott
Issue Date
BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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Homophobia and heterosexism can often hinder a gay male’s development and developing internalised homophobia can challenge their ability to connect with others. This study attempted to explore the views and experiences of gay male psychotherapists with regards to their sexuality, inside and outside the therapy room. Three gay male psychotherapists were recruited to participate in semi-structured interviews. The transcriptions were subsequently analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA). Three themes emerged: impact of training; otherness; therapist self-disclosure/ unintentional or otherwise. Overall, the study highlighted the impact participants’ sexuality had on their journey through the training process. Light was also cast on how the participants’ otherness played a role within the therapeutic dynamic. Lastly, these findings indicate intricacies relating to unintentional therapist-self disclosure. It is hoped that these findings will bring about discussion and reflection, and in some way help make gay issues more discernible within psychotherapy and counselling training.