VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
An Exploratory Study: Lesbian Identity Development and Attachment Style
Hunter Alessi, Bonnie Ahn, Heidi Kulkin, and Mary Ballard
Another important aspect of resolving relationship issues is identity formation. Stage theories of identity formation have proved particularly useful in helping therapists assess clients’ development, predict and describe normative changes, and assist clients to normalize their own experiences. Theorists since Freud and Erikson posited developmental stages, usually (ideally) culminating in a strong heterosexual identity (Hoare, 2005). However, for gay or lesbian clients, these models are surely inadequate, even, perhaps, offensive. Over the past few decades several models of homosexual identity formation have been posited, critiqued, and researched (Cass, 1979; Chapman & Brannock, 1987; Coleman, 1982; McCarn & Fassinger, 1996; Troiden, 1989). Most of these theorists speculated that achieving a strong identity is dependent upon accepting one’s own sexual identity/orientation. Acceptance is often defined as coming out to self and others.