Recommendations for Training

A limited number of facilities offer LGBTsensitive treatment. The training of professional and support staff to serve LGBT individuals in their own communities is critical for improving treatment and treatment outcomes. Considerations for improving training to enhance treatment for the LGBT community follow.

• Provide training to staff members in cultural diversity and sexual orientation sensitivity to promote better understanding of LGBT populations. Education topics should be diverse and applicable to all LGBT populations and include topics of sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, and sexual behaviors.

• Use LGBT-specific training and educational programs to ensure that quality care is provided. Educators and trainers with expertise in LGBT issues should develop training programs, manuals, books, videos, films, CD-ROMS, and other interactive training technology focused on LGBT treatment that can be widely disseminated.

• Provide sensitivity training when LGBT clients and heterosexual clients attend the same group therapy sessions. Counselors should protect LGBT clients from homophobic behavior. LGBT clients should not be forced to discuss sexual orientation or behaviors if they are not comfortable doing so. If the facility provides LGBT-only groups, attendance should be voluntary and confidentiality should be respected.

• Assess staff comfort, experience, and competence in serving LGBT individuals before developing a training program, during training, and after providing training.