Research has demonstrated that all couples, regardless of orientation, go through many similar developmental stages and challenges. However, to truly be effective in helping lesbian, gay, and sexual minority couples, it is imperative to utilize a historical, socio-cultural lens that challenges the dominant heteronormative societal assumptions (which the mental health profession is a part of) about relationships and sexuality. It is equally important to understand the unique challenges and vulnerabilities that result from homophobia and being a sexual minority, and how untreated Minority Stress might present itself within a relational context. This workshop will provide the practitioner assessment and intervention tools to improve clinical outcomes using a strength-based, attachment-oriented, and trauma-informed framework. Case examples and resources will be provided.

Participants will be able to:

  1. Define minority stress and identify at least two ways untreated minority stress can present itself clinically when working with lesbian, gay, and other sexual minority couples
  2. Critique their own assumptions about what constitutes healthy relationships based on current research inclusive of LGBTQ+ relationships
  3. Identify three strengths and three challenges experienced by many lesbian/gay couples


Steffani Brandenburg, LCSW, LICSW, CST is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist with a full-time private practice in Mt. Kisco, New York. She is a Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist and Approved Supervisor through The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, with advanced training in psychoanalytic psychodynamic psychotherapy, attachment and trauma-informed therapy including EMDR. Ms. Brandenburg has over 30 years of experience working with individuals and couples and specializes in working with LGBTQ identified individuals and mixed and same-gender couples. As a leading professional in the field of human relationships, Ms. Brandenburg has extensive experience providing clinical consultation, advanced clinical training and professional and community education throughout the New York Tristate area.

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