Identity Development around Sexuality, Gender, and Relationships
Presenter: Cadyn Cathers, PsyD
Identity formation is a key developmental process for all individuals, but has special significance to those developing LGBTQIA+, consensually non-monogamous (CNM), or kink identities. A lack of coherent identity can impact a person’s relationships, mood, and occupation in a variety of ways. The Spectrums Model of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality (SMSGS-6) conceptualizes identity development across sexuality and gender and can be a useful tool for therapists. The model contains influences from the Kinsey scale (1948), Klein’s sexual orientation grid (1993) and its adaptation by Hoang (2006), Bidimensional Model of Sexuality (Storm, 1978),Genderbread Person (Killerman, 2011), and the Communication Theory of Identity (Hecht et al., 2005). In the Spectrums Model 6, identities are conceptualized as having multiple layers: physical, essentialist, socially constructed, enacted, relational and communal. In turn, these identities span multiple domains: sex, gender, sexuality, romanticism, sexual bonding/relationship style, romantic bonding/relationship style, and eroticism. When conflict between two aspects of identity exist across layers or domains, it is called an identity gap and can cause intense psychological distress (Jung & Hect, 2004). In this course, we will explore which identity gaps are common in LGBTQIA+, CNM, and kink communities and how to address them effectively in psychotherapy. We will cover the evolution of the Spectrums Model 6 model as a way to help clinicians gain insight into the complexity of experiences by conceptualizing the diversity of their clients’ identities. We will explore how this model can be utilized in clinical practice to help clients who are questioning their identities, or those who are dealing with internal or external conflicts related to their identities. Using case examples and personal reflection, participants will play with the model and deepen their understanding.
After this course, participants will be able to:
- Describe the differences between the domains of sex, gender, sexuality, romanticism, sexual bonding/relationship style, romantic bonding/relationship style, and eroticism
- Describe the differences between the layers of physical, essentialist, socially constructed, enacted, relational, and communal layers of identity
- Describe at least 2 identity gaps that may occur around sexuality and how they impact clinical work
- Describe at least 2 identity gaps that may occur around gender and how they impact clinical work
- Describe at least 2 identity gaps that may occur around sexual relationships and how they impact clinical work
- Describe at least 2 identity gaps that may occur around eroticism and how they impact clinical work
Who should take this course:
Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists, Social Workers, Professional Counselors, and other professionals working with LGBTQIA+, consensually non-monogamous, or kinky clients.
Licensed therapists who work in nonprofits price and veterans is $80 (Use coupon code: identitynp at checkout)
Student/pre-licensed price is $50 (Use coupon code: identitypl at checkout)
You can also get access to this course and all other courses with our memberships:
Continuing Education Approvals
The Affirmative Couch, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Affirmative Couch, LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.