Counseling session

LGBTQ-affirmative Mental Health Treatments 

LGBTQ individuals disproportionately experience depression, anxiety, and substance use problems compared to heterosexual, cisgender individuals. For gay and bisexual men, these mental health disparities co-occur with risk for HIV/STI infection. One source of these disparities is often assumed to be LGBTQ people’s greater social stress, such as threat-oriented social perceptions and behavioral avoidance. While these tendencies are often adaptive in early development, when held onto throughout life, they can ultimately erode healthy relationships and behaviors. 

We are creating LGBTQ-affirming psychotherapy programs that undo these maladaptive tendencies to improve LGBTQ individuals’ mental, behavioral, and sexual health. For instance, our ESTEEM intervention reworks gay and bisexual men’s cognitive, behavioral, and emotional experiences to be self-affirming. Originally tested in a small waitlist-controlled trial, this treatment is now being tested in a large multi-site trial in NYC and Miami, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Results will not only establish whether this treatment works over the long-term but also how and why it works, allowing healthcare professionals to incorporate research evidence into their practices. 

We created another treatment, EQuIP (Empowering Queer Identities in Psychotherapy), with input from expert mental health providers with expertise treating sexual minority women’s mental health. This treatment, funded by NIMH, the Lesbian Health Fund, and the Yale Fund for Gay and Lesbian Studies, specifically aims to help sexual minority women cope with identity-related stress in order to reduce their depression and alcohol abuse. 

Our other LGBTQ-affirmative treatment studies are testing similar interventions in diverse global regions (e.g., Eastern Europe, China), in group format (e.g., at the Fair Haven Community Health Center in New Haven), using technologies (e.g., smartphones), and with particularly vulnerable populations (e.g., rural LGBTQ youth, LGBTQ migrants).

Publications

ESTEEM Lab

Please direct inquiries to esteem@yale.edu

220 E. 23rd St., Suite 405
New York, NY 10010

Phone: 646-344-4060

Monday 9 am - 5 pm
Tuesday 10 am - 8 pm
Wednesday 10 am - 8 pm
Thursday 10 am - 8 pm
Friday 9 am - 5 pm