Alternative Title

Grassroots efforts to provide LGBTQ affirmative psychotherapy & social services, 1960-1987: Oral History Project, Seattle, Washington


Dexter Rose

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type

Qualitative, Oral history


School for Social Work


Sexual minorities-Service for-History-20th century, Sexual minorities-Mental health services-History-20th century, Social work with sexual minorities-History-20th century, Positive psychology, Oral history


This thesis reports on the preliminary oral history findings collected for a larger national study directed by David S. Byers and Stephen Vider. The findings reported here focus on experiences of clinicians and social service providers in Seattle, Washington. Another student, José Hernandez conducted similar field research in Los Angeles, California. Both projects were under the supervision of the principal investigators.

The larger study—and this thesis—examines the motivations and strategies of clinicians and social services workers offering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) affirmative psychotherapy and social services during a time when homosexuality and later egodystonic homosexuality were listed as a diagnosis in the DSM, 1960-1987. This exploratory study’s purpose was to record oral histories from those providing LGBTQ affirmative psychotherapy during this time. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in an effort to better understand how clinicians and social service workers approached the task of developing LGBTQ affirmative psychotherapy, counseling, and social services despite national leadership.

Significant findings of the research were 1) LGBTQ affirmative services were the result of collective, organized volunteer efforts and skill sharing 2) political activism, education and clinical services overlapped to increase LGBTQ civil rights and destigmatize homosexuality 3) although homosexuality had been removed from the DSM the practice of providing affirmative services was limited to LGBTQ specific efforts led by LGBTQ people.




v, 76 pages : illustrations (some color). M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 65-66)

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Social Work Commons