An integrated training and education system addresses both content and process and uses experiential as well as didactic methods. It addresses six components:
• Faculty or trainers
• Institutional systems
• Professional peers
Improving present treatment conditions for LGBT clients requires a comprehensive training approach that includes the six components. Long-term results are more likely with an approach that addresses these components. The process of implementing training and program change begins with a commitment to action by decision makers. The intention of training and continuing education is to increase the sensitivity and competence of the staff and, ultimately, to improve treatment outcomes. The learning objectives are to:
• Raise awareness of culturally specific issues and the sensitivity of all involved persons
• Identify and become fluent in LGBT appropriate and sensitive language
• Implement explicit nondiscrimination policies and procedures
• Develop skills to support LGBT individuals in substance abuse treatment services
• Compile a resource list of local, regional, and national support services.
Training should at least result in LGBT-tolerant treatment. Beyond that, however, training can help practitioners help their clients be more comfortable with themselves and their lives. In gender-specific treatment, services should include attention to LGBT issues. Assuming that the separation of men and women will enable practitioners to address LGBT needs is false. Treatment that is LGBT antagonistic should be changed but with the realization that great effort and patience will be required.
Program content should be specifically shaped by the target audience’s understanding of LGBT issues.