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.
Deciding to Disclose: The LGBTQ Counselor’s Unique Challenge
Benjamin G. Hearn and Cirecie West-Olatunji
Counselors identifying as members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community are consistently faced with the decision of disclosing this identity to their clients. Literature shows that both disclosing and withholding an LGBTQ identity to clients may have a significant impact on the therapeutic relationship. While significant, variables leading to successful and ethical disclosure have yet to be investigated. The authors provide a review of the literature, as well as one author’s own practicum experience regarding LGBTQ identity disclosure and its effects. An ethical decision-making model is referenced and variables that may affect ethical disclosure are hypothesized. Both the literature and the authors suggest considering disclosure on a case-by-case basis and call for researchers, educators, and supervisors to pay more attention to LGBTQ students and clinicians as they consider disclosure.