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Addressing key theoretical approaches to gay male sexual identity: issues and insights for practitioners of mental health

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mark Casey


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This article seeks to draw attention to understandings of sexual identity and practice beyond essentialist notions of sexuality for mental health professionals working with gay men. A number of key studies and articles are explored in the article, which offer both historical and contemporary discussions of sexuality in mental health research and the social sciences. Initially, the article examines the important changes in approaches to and understandings of homosexuality and gay male identity by mental health professionals. In so doing, it considers the strengths and limits of recent studies by Diaz et al. (2001) and Sandfort et al. (2006) into mental health and homosexuality. The article then goes on to highlight approaches to gay male identity within the social sciences, focusing, in particular, on the work of Richardson (1987) and the value of social constructionist approaches to sexuality for therapists and practitioners. Work by Gray (2000) is then drawn upon which he examines the worth and value of using social constructionist accounts of sexuality in therapeutic practice. The aim of the article is to draw attention to the limits of essentialist notions of sexuality and the potential value of social constructionist accounts of sexual identity for those working with gay men and their mental health needs.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Casey ME

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Critical Public Health

Year: 2009

Volume: 20

Issue: 3-4

Pages: 293-305

ISSN (print): 0958-1596

ISSN (electronic): 1469-3682

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/09581590902951613


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