Identity Development around Sexuality, Gender, and Relationships

Presenter: Cadyn Cathers, PsyD

Recorded Webinar

5 CEs

Course Description


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.

Learning Objectives:

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


Buy Now

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:

Annual Membership


Lifetime Membership

Cadyn Cathers, PsyD smiling and standing in front a rainbow brick wall. He is wearing a light blue button down, blue slacks, and brown belt. Photo Credit: Crystal Lily PhotographyAbout the Presenter

Cadyn Cathers, PsyD (he/him/his) has been teaching courses on human sexuality, psychotherapy with LGBTQIA+ communities, and psychodynamic theory for over 10 years, and serves as teaching faculty at Antioch University Los Angeles in the LGBT Specialization. He is the founder and CEO of The Affirmative Couch, which provides online continuing education on clinical work with LGBTQIA+, CNM, and kink communities. He is a licensed psychologist in private practice at the Out Couch Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, P.C., where he focuses on psychoanalytic psychotherapy with transgender and nonbinary patients.

Additional Information

Instruction Level
This course is meant for an intermediate to advanced audience.

Who should Attend
Psychologists, counselors, and marriage and family therapists and social workers.

Recorded webinar recorded in January 2022.

Completion Requirements

  • To get CE credit, you will need to take the post-test with at least a 80% score in order to receive your certificate for a homestudy course.

Financial Support

The Affirmative Couch pays course presenters for their teaching. There is no other financial support for this course.

Conflict of Interest

There is no reported conflict of interest or outside commercial support for this course.

Contact Information

For any inquiries related to subject matter, problem resolution, corrections, grievances, or anything else, please contact us.


The Affirmative Couch will work to accommodate reasonable accommodations requests. Requests can be emailed with “accommodation request” in the subject line. Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Testimonials from the Live Event

This course delivered on what was promised. Dr. Cadyn’s mastery of knowledge combined with his personable and approachable style made for a welcoming space for learning. 

The course was incredibly helpful and I really enjoyed being in a class with so many affirming clinicians.

Breaking down identity into so many different layers, including distinguishing between identity and behavior, and various categories of behavior, was extremely useful to my current case conceptualizations. This is a much more nuanced and spacious framework that will help me guide my clients in their own identity explorations more effectively.

Amazing, great analysis of the terms and the theory

The course did a great job of exploring the rich ways that we all experience gender, sexuality, and relationships. I appreciated having the background about different models of development that influence the current model that Cadyn presents in this training.

It was fabulous and I love the framework for working with clients that struggle with identity gaps.

I am completely new to the whole domain of gender, sexual and relationship identity.  This training has made me aware that I have a lot more to learn and I am excited about it.  I am also aware that by not engaging in this learning previously, I have participated in the silencing of parts of self and perpetuating identity gaps by not naming their possible existence to be explored in therapy.

It was really helpful considering how people may or may not want to engage their identities in community. And it was helpful to consider being grounded while in a place of exploration or identity unknowns.

The layers and domains of the elements of sexuality. It helped me understand myself and my patients in a deeper way.

Learning the different domains and layers of identity and how identity gaps can interplay between them. It changes how I think about the ways that my clients discuss their identity and the ways that they may interact with that identity. Creates new opportunities for discussions and exploration with clients about their lived experience.

Very rich clinically, professional yet warm in it’s content and discussion.

Cadyn’s model for conceptualizing identity, I truly appreciated the ways that it avoids binaries in all areas, and provides recognition of differences between identity, behavior, public private, etc.

Cadyn is amazing! He is a wealth of knowledge and provides such a rich tapestry of understanding, perspective taking, and case conceptualization. It was so informative and I am excited to share this information not only with clients but also with fellow clinicians.


Continuing Education Approvals

APA ApprovedThe 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.


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