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Mindfulness and Acceptance for Gender and Sexual Minorities

Mindfulness and Acceptance for Gender and Sexual Minorities
A Clinician's Guide to Fostering Compassion, Connection, and Equality Using Contextual Strategies




The Context Press Mindfulness and Acceptance Practica Series


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ISBN: 9781626254282
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About the Book

As more clinicians train in mindfulness and acceptance-based therapies, the demand for skills specifically for treating diverse clients grows. In this much-needed edited volume, you’ll find evidence-based strategies for treating gender and sexual minorities with acceptance and compassion for better treatment outcomes.

Gender and sexual minorities face unique concerns and, according to research, are actually more likely to want and seek therapeutic help due to greater levels of psychological distress. But research also shows that many psychologists and therapists do not feel adequately educated or efficacious discussing topics related to sexuality and gender in clinical practice. This book will address this significant gap with evidence-based and best-practice interventions and applications.

Mindfulness and Acceptance for Gender and Sexual Minorities offers a number of practical strategies within a contextual behavioral science framework, including mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions, compassion-focused therapy (CFT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), relational frame theory (RFT), and more. With chapters on stigma, shame, relationships, and parenting, this book will be a valuable resource for all therapists.

If you’re a clinician, you understand the ongoing need for cutting-edge, effective approaches for treating a variety of clients. With this guide, you’ll learn about the unique application of contextual behavioral approaches as they relate specifically to the experiences of gender and sexual minorities, and feel better equipped to help all of your clients work toward happiness and health.


Matthew D. Skinta, PhD, ABPP, is a board-certified clinical health psychologist who lives with his husband in San Francisco, CA. In addition to having a private practice, he is core clinical faculty at Palo Alto University, where he directs the... Read more

Books by Matthew D. Skinta

Aisling Curtin (Editor)
Aisling Curtin, MSc, is a registered counseling psychologist at the Psychological Society of Ireland who lives with her partner in Dublin, Ireland. She is director of ACT Now Ireland, has a small private practice, and consults with a number of... Read more

Books by Aisling Curtin

John Pachankis (Foreword by)
John Pachankis, PhD, is associate professor of epidemiology at Yale University. He studies the mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. His research specifically seeks to identify the psychological and social... Read more

Books by John Pachankis


“This empowering volume shows how to bring powerful, evidence-based methods to gender and sexual minorities (GSM): do it through the application of GSM-affirmative, scientific principles linked to evidence-based procedures. Acceptance, mindfulness, compassion, and values-based action open the door to a new and more progressive conversation with the entire field about how to best meet the wide-ranging needs of GSM populations. Comprehensive, powerful, and clearly stated, this wonderful book helps show us all a new way forward.”
Steven C. Hayes, PhD, Foundation Professor at the University of Nevada, and codeveloper of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
Mindfulness and Acceptance for Gender and Sexual Minorities is an important addition to the literature on mental health of GSM. Since the 2000’s, we have seen growth in sophisticated epidemiological research leading to better understanding of patterns and causes of mental health of GSM. But guidance on treatment has lagged. We have learned a lot about minority stress but less about how to help people who experience it. This clinician’s guide comes to fill this gap in our knowledge, updating the literature on treatment of GSM. The writers, experienced therapists and researchers, apply research on mindfulness- and acceptance-based therapies to treating minority stressors related to stigma and prejudice experienced by GSM. The chapters in this book bring insight to broad areas of concerns in the lived experience of GSM, from coming out, to raising families, to creating salubrious environments.”
Ilan H. Meyer, PhD, Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at The Williams Institute UCLA School of Law, and coeditor of The Health of Sexual Minorities
“Skinta, Curtin, and the chapter authors respond to the need in the field to articulate ways in which mindfulness-based approaches can address many specific challenges faced by gender and sexual minority (GSM) individuals. It is increasingly important to ensure that GSM (and other minority) populations are able to access mental health treatments that are both evidenced-based and follow culturally competent, affirmative care. This book is a unique intellectually stimulating resource for clinicians to have in our tool box, both those who are familiar with mindfulness-based approaches and desire information about how to work with GSM, as well as those who work with this population and require information about mindfulness-based approaches to care.”
Steven Safren, clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Miami
“This volume includes the latest thinking and therapeutic interventions in our field to help guide clinicians in their work with gender and sexual minorities. Each of the chapters includes the nuts and bolts involved in helping GSM clients. No stone is left unturned in the array of chapters that include such topics as coming out, same-sex parenting, shame, and being a minority in GSM communities. The book is clearly aimed at detailing therapeutic interventions for clinicians, including compassion-, acceptance-, and mindfulness-based treatments as both standalone as well as integrated with other approaches such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP). This volume includes specific suggestions as well as case examples that clinicians can apply in their work. It even includes a chapter to address the issues confronting straight therapists working with GSM clients. Their goals are not only to help clinicians be effective with GSM clients, but also address implications for society. I highly recommend this extremely interesting, timely, and well-written and edited book.”
Robert J. Kohlenberg, PhD, ABPP, professor in the department of psychology at the Center for the Science of Social Connection at the University of Washington
“I finished this book feeling both humbled and at the same time empowered in my work with GSM clients. It provides a very approachable overview of the theoretical foundations central to contextual behavioral science, while at the same time being extremely practical and directly applicable for clinicians, offering numerous clinical examples and suggested exercises. This book is an essential read for any clinician working with issues of sexuality, gender and gender identity, stigma, and shame from a functional contextual perspective.”
Jenna LeJeune, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist, and cofounder and director of clinical services at Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, and Training Center in Portland, OR
“Matthew Skinta and Aisling Curtin have edited the preeminent book on GSM-affirmative treatment. Writing from their core personal and professional experiences, the chapter contributors inspire readers to become not only more insightful and effective therapists, but to strive for cultural humility and societal equality. This deeply thoughtful and heart-stirring treasure trove will guide clinicians for generations to come.”
—Mavis Tsai, PhD, coauthor of A Guide to Functional Analytic Psychotherapy, and research scientist and clinical faculty at the University of Washington
Mindfulness and Acceptance for Gender and Sexual Minorities is an important contribution to the next wave of therapies for GSM. As we move beyond a focus on affirmative and non-pathologizing therapies, it is crucial that we begin to adapt evidence-based therapies to meet the needs of the diverse populations that we treat. Mindfulness and acceptance are approaches that are especially suited for GSM clients struggling not only to accept themselves, but also to live effectively in a changing, and at times, hostile culture. This book is essential for any clinician treating GSM clients.”
Jayme L. Peta, PhD, coauthor of The Gender Quest Workbook
“There is a kind of violence that occurs when we tell people, in bold headlines and in small, quiet ways: do not express your difference, do not wonder about who you are, certainly not out loud, but really not even to yourself. Just be quiet and fit in. The palette of human sexuality is broad, and that breadth is largely unknown because we have suppressed the knowing of it, even among individuals who have a sense of these differences from the inside out. We have a choice. We can create a kinder, more curious, and more thoughtful context for our clients to come to know themselves and to help us to know them. This is an important book if you want to be part of that kinder context.”
Kelly G. Wilson, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Mississippi
“This is a groundbreaking book on several levels. The expert authors bring the light of cutting-edge behavioral research to people and challenges that are often overlooked by mainstream clinical approaches. Furthermore, the book places compassion front and center in the development of new strategies. This is a must-read book.”
Dennis Tirch PhD, coauthor of The ACT Practitioner’s Guide to the Science of Compassion, and founder of The Center for Compassion Focused Therapy
“The evolved human brain carries multiple possibilities for experiencing and acting in the world. Our capacity for love coexists with our capacity for hatred and cruelty; our capacity for joy lives with our capacity for depression; we are multidimensional beings. Such richness of our potential multiplicities is especially manifest in our sexualities, where many combinations of with whom and how are possible. Tragically, for complex psychocultural reasons we have sought to limit, suppress, and constrain this richness. Shaming and stigma have confined and narrowed choices, and not always in favor of the heterosexual, e.g. Sparta. We are oppressed by the repressed. This excellent book brings together a group of insightful and knowledgeable authors that address the personal and social costs of shame and stigma on sexual variations. ... Sensitive, wise, and compassionate, this will be a classic in the field for many years.”
Paul Gilbert, PhD, FBPsS, OBE, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Derby, and author of Human Nature and Suffering and The Compassionate Mind
“This book is an indispensable resource for any evidence-minded clinician who wants to bring acceptance, compassion, and effective change to the lives of all of those they work with. This long-awaited, seminal work provides practical guidance through GSM-affirming, evidence-based treatments with care and precision. The authors and editors of this volume honor the diversity and real-world applicability of these treatment approaches with a depth and scope that is bound to be greatly appreciated by any mental health provider working with GSM clients and communities.”
—Laura Silberstein, PsyD, director and clinical psychologist at The Center for Compassion Focused Therapy in New York City, NY, and coauthor of The ACT Practitioner’s Guide to the Science of Compassion and Buddhist Psychology and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Mindfulness and Acceptance for Gender and Sexual Minorities is a thought-provoking journey for those who serve the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. It is also a self-reflecting glimpse for those who are learning how to understand, develop, and manage the many facets of being a part of the LGBT identity, and the joys and struggles related to the process of owning your sense of self.”
Robin McGehee, cofounder of GetEQUAL

“I had the pleasure of attending a few ACT workshops, both daylong and brief, and found ACT’s way of pinpointing, relating, and neutralizing the deeply ingrained patterns of negative self-identity as wholly refreshing. It was as if facilitator Aisling Curtin coaxed what we didn’t realize we’d always known, regarding how the world can cause us to feel displaced, dysfunctional, and othered. What Curtin and coeditor Matthew Skinta have done here is apply these individuated, gentle, and psychically loosening techniques to identity groups currently in the maelstrom of public scrutiny, as they incrementally gain equal rights across the West.”
Clara Rose Thornton, culture journalist and radio and television broadcaster focusing on identity politics; InkBlot Complex

“Skinta and Curtin have achieved a rare feat in this volume: along with their contributors, they have delivered a book that captures the zeitgeist of today’s contextual psychology with as much depth and nuance as they bring to their discussion of clinical issues and approaches with LGBT clients. The result is a text that speaks equally to experts in contextual psychology who are eager to increase their cultural competence with LGBT clients, as well as those who are keenly familiar with LGBT populations who are eager to learn and incorporate acceptance and mindfulness approaches within their work. No matter which end of the spectrum the reader comes from, they will walk away with a thorough, practical, and immediately applicable knowledge base in both arenas.”
—Mary P. Loudon, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist and certified functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) trainer

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