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DSST Fundamentals of counseling

Often the survivor feels worthless and they have a

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Often the survivor feels worthless and they have a very low self-esteem that typically results in a poor body image. Victims see themselves as intrinsically bad and may engage in self-destructive behaviors like drug abuse or prostitution. As a coping mechanism survivors of child sexual abuse often dissociate or split themselves off from the emotions or feelings that are too painful to deal with. Dissociation is a common coping mechanism and can result a splitting of other parts of the personality resulting in bipolar disorders and in extreme cases multiple personalities. Related to dissociation is the coping mechanism of denial or amnesia surrounding the abuse. Again in an attempt to block out the events that are too painful. Gay men and lesbian women comprise approximately 10 - 15 % of the overall population. Society has come a long way since 1986 when homosexuality was listed in the DSM III as a mental illness. Although there is a surface level acceptance of homosexual behavior the stigma is still very pervasive and gays and lesbians are often termed the “invisible minority.”
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The process of acquiring a gay image is referred to as coming out. Discovering the gay identity can occur at any age but it usually follows a set pattern of development. Stage 1: Identity Confusion, Stage 2: Identity Comparison, Stage 3: Identity Tolerance, Stage 4: Identity Acceptance, Stage 5: Identity Pride, and Stage 6: Identity synthesis. As a counselor, if you choose to work with gays and lesbians, you will likely encounter clients at all stages of the identity development process. Bisexuality refers to those people who enjoy sexual intimacy with people of both genders . Our definition of sexuality has expanded from a dichotomous state of homo or heterosexual to a continuum where sexual preference can lie anywhere on the line between the two extremes. If one considers fantasy as part of a person’s sexual orientation, a large percentage of people would fit in the middle of the spectrum. True or False: To effectively counsel a gay or lesbian client the counselor should be gay or lesbian him or her self. False The two most important factors in being able to effectively counsel someone who identifies themselves as homosexual is (1) the ability to speak comfortably about sexual issues and (2) the understanding that gay men and lesbian women need to explore normalcy and self actualization not trying to find a cure. Since the first diagnosis of AIDS in 1981, counselors have had to readjust their methods for dealing with terminal illness. Unlike other terminal diseases, AIDS affects more than an individual, it affects an entire social network and culture. For this reason counseling AIDS patients requires a specific skill set and mental attitude. Often counselors go into the client’s environment and become an active member of the clinical team including medical doctors as well as social supporters.
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