Does Affirmative Training Matter? Assessing CFT Students’ Beliefs About Sexual Orientation and Their Level of Affirmative Training


  • Monica Rock, MS, is a Graduate of the Couple and Family Therapy Program at North Dakota State University; Thomas Stone Carlson, PhD, and Christi R. McGeorge, PhD, are Faculty Members in the Human Development and Family Science Department at North Dakota State University.

Address correspondence to Thomas Stone Carlson, Department of Human Development and Family Science, North Dakota State University, 283 EML Hall, Fargo, North Dakota 58105-5057; E-mail:


This study examined couple and family therapy (CFT) students’ beliefs about sexual orientation, their self-reported competency working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) clients, and the level of affirmative training students received in their CFT programs. One hundred and ninety students from accredited CFT programs completed the study. While participants reported feeling only somewhat competent to work with LGB clients and less than half reported receiving any training on affirmative therapy, the majority of the participants did appear to hold positive attitudes toward LGB clients. The results support the literature arguing for CFT programs to include specific training on affirmative therapy practices, as the level of affirmative training was directly related to participants’ self-reported clinical competency working with LGB clients.