Trauma-informed and affirmative mental health practices with LGBTQ+ clients

Psychol Serv. 2023;20(Suppl 1):134-144. doi: 10.1037/ser0000540. Epub 2021 Apr 15.


People with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expression are at greater risk for trauma, discrimination, and victimization than heterosexual and cisgender populations. Trauma-informed care (TIC) provides a framework for providing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ +) mental health services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)'s principles of TIC guide practitioners to create safety, trust, transparency, collaboration, and empowerment in helping relationships, and to ensure that services have cultural and gender relevance. This article first explores the role of trauma in contributing to behavioral health concerns presented by LGBTQ + clients. The application of TIC to mental health counseling and social services for LGBTQ + clients will then be described, with specific suggestions for translating TIC principles into affirmative practice. Through the lens of trauma, clinicians can improve clinical case conceptualization and effective treatment strategies for LGBTQ + clients. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*
  • Transgender Persons* / psychology