CALL FOR CLINICAL CONTRIBUTIONS

UPDATE: MARCH 29, 2016

Per the below, HEADCASE continues to seek clinical contributions on the topic of LGBTQ mental health. We are extending the deadline for queries to April 15, 2016, and at this time, we are prioritizing submissions related to the following specific topics:

  • Consumer advocacy and activism; the psychiatric survivors movement and radical madness
  • Intersectionality: race and ethnicity, youth and geriatric LGBTQ mental health, dis/ability, issues of marginalization
  • Interventions, particularly regarding psychopharmacology and peer support
  • Approaches to de-pathologizing trans and gender non-conforming identities
  • Barriers to access: economic, cultural, geographic
  • The failure of some mental health graduate and training programs to consider clinicians’ own experiences of first-hand trauma as opposed to vicarious trauma in client work, and whether “trigger warnings” should be in effect in training settings;
  • The lack of social and professional acceptance of clinicians who are themselves in recovery or remission from mental illness, setting up an “us v. them” dynamic with consumers/peers–mental health professionals such as Kay Redfield Jamison, Marsha Linehan, and Elyn Saks who have disclosed in their memoirs being exceptions

Clinicians who are of color, of transgender experience, and/or are providing services to LGBTQ women and TGNC clients are particularly encouraged to submit queries.

The Project

HEADCASE: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Writers and Artists on Mental Illness was originally conceived as an anthology of curated personal pieces that include essays, poems, illustrations, and photographs by writers and artists both established and new. The book aimed to explore the themes of mental health, mental illness, and experiences of the mental health care systems by members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities.

We are currently expanding the anthology to include clinical perspectives as we begin working with an academic publisher. The finished book will appeal to both lay readers and mental health professionals. While we are at capacity for submissions from peers, consumers, and other individuals with lived experience, at this time we do seek contributors from LGBTQ communities who possess clinical expertise and professional credentials to submit content relevant to the anthology. Community members who fall into both categories are particularly encouraged to submit queries.

The Issues

As the literature states, gay affirmative therapy has been defined as “the integration of knowledge and awareness by the therapist of the unique development and cultural aspect of LGBT individuals, the therapist’s own self-knowledge, and the translation of this knowledge and awareness into effective and helpful therapy skills at all stages of the therapeutic process” (Bieschke, Perez et al, 2007). But “limited empirical information exist on what constitutes effective psychotherapy for LGB individuals…Even less empirical research exists on validated interventions pertaining to issues such as coming out that are unique to this sexual minority population,” (Johnson, 2012) let alone to individuals who are both LGBQ and trans/gender non-conforming.

As Johnson goes on to ask, “Without an identified theoretical framework or operationalized definitions for specific interventions, it appears that gay affirmative therapy is better defined as a therapeutic approach rather than a specific psychotherapy…should [LGBTQ-affirmative therapy] be developed as a specific, validated intervention for this unique population?”

We are interested in learning clinicians’ take on this issue in working with LGBTQ clients, especially those with multiple marginalized identities.

Other important topics clinical contributors may address:

  • The challenges LGBTQ practitioners have encountered in the course of their own clinical training, such as when training programs are not themselves LGBTQ-affirmative or culturally competent;
  • The failure of some mental health graduate and training programs to consider clinicians’ own experiences of first-hand trauma as opposed to vicarious trauma in client work, and whether “trigger warnings” should be in effect in training settings;
  • The lack of social and professional acceptance of clinicians who are themselves in recovery or remission from mental illness, setting up an “us v. them” dynamic with consumers/peers–mental health professionals such as Kay Redfield Jamison, Marsha Linehan, and Elyn Saks who have disclosed in their memoirs being exceptions;
  • The dynamics of working within our own communities of LGBTQ individuals, as well as with clients who are not members of this population and may express homophobic/transphobic sentiment.

The call

Other concepts the book will address from a clinical perspective can include:

  • Terminology
  • Prevalence and diagnosis of mental illness–especially depression, anxiety, and PTSD–in LGBTQ populations
  • Stigma for LGBTQ consumers and issues of self-disclosure
  • Suicide, suicide prevention, and survivors of suicide loss in queer and trans populations
  • Interventions: psychotherapeutic, psychopharmacological, and peer support
  • Consumer advocacy and activism; the psychiatric survivors movement and radical madness
  • Dating & intimate relationships; parenting & mental illness
  • Intersectionality: race and ethnicity, youth and geriatric LGBTQ mental health, dis/ability, issues of marginalization
  • Barriers to access: economic, cultural, geographic
  • Dual diagnosis/MICA/Double Trouble among LGBTQ individuals
  • Approaches to de-pathologizing trans and gender non-conforming identities
  • Intersections of health and mental health
  • Violence against LGBTQ people with mental illness
  • Arts & activism
  • A queer patients’ bill of rights

We invite inquiries from practitioners and researchers with diverse clinical perspectives who would like to contribute relevant pieces for the anthology. We seek articles written in an accessible style, even if citing research. We recommend a conversational style over an academic tone when writing for our crossover audience. Word count limit is 5000 and all queries/proposals are due by April 1, 2016. Deadline for finished pieces TBD.

Please email inquiries, including specific story ideas and angles along with a proposed timeline, to headcasesubmissions@gmail.com and also include a brief biography.

We look forward to hearing from you!

~Teresa Theophano, LMSW and Stephanie Schroeder, JD

 

About us

Teresa Theophano is a New York State-licensed social worker and freelance writer/editor. She currently helps oversee case management services at Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). Teresa co-launched the New York City Queer Mental Health Initiative (QMHI), an LGBTQ mental health peer support network in collaboration with the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, in July 2014. Since graduating from Hunter College School of Social Work with an MSW the same year that her book Queer Quotes (Beacon, 2004) was published, she has worked and volunteered with LGBTQ communities at numerous organizations including Rainbow Heights Club, Trinity Place Shelter (at which she is currently a member of the board of directors), the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, and Queers for Economic Justice. Additionally, she has taught as an adjunct professor at the New York City College of Technology–part of the City University of New York–and is currently enrolled in clinical coursework at NYU and the University of Buffalo. Teresa has been involved in social justice movements for decades and is interested in further exploring radical and holistic approaches to mental health. She has contributed to websites including xojane.com and glbtq.com and to anthologies including The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts and The Queer Encyclopedia of Music, Dance, and Theatre, and has read short works at various literary events in New York City.

Stephanie Schroeder is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She has written for The Guardian, Curve Magazine, Passport Magazine, Brooklyn Paper, About.com, Station-to-Station.com, Life of The Law, Lambda Literary Review, and blogs about mental illness/mental health. Her work has been anthologized in the classic queer anthology That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, as well as Here Come the Brides: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage, and Easy to Love, But Hard to Live With: Real People, Invisible Disabilities, True Stories. She is an activist working toward social and economic justice within an anti-racist framework and in the context of sexual and gender liberation. Stephanie graduated from Hunter College with a BA in communications and holds a JD from New York Law School. She has a special interest in creativity and mental illnesses as well as therapeutic jurisprudence. She is the author of the memoir Beautiful Wreck: Sex, Lies & Suicide (Creative Evolution, 2012).

 

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