AFFIRM is an 8-session evidence-based cognitive behavioral affirmative intervention, developed by Shelley Craig, Ph.D., LCSW and Ashley Austin, Ph.D., LCSW, that targets the unique needs of diverse LGBTQ+ youth. It was developed as a response to the harmful and unethical ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapies. The intervention utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) strategies to target patterns of negative thinking and emotional distress that may arise among LGBTQ+ youths as a result of exposure to homophobic and transphobic bullying or family rejection. The aim of the intervention is to help LGBTQ+ youth cope in ways that support their authentic identities, reduce unhealthy or risky behaviors, and decrease internal and external sources of distress. In an open pilot feasibility study conducted in 2014, AFFIRM participants had statistically significant reductions in depression and increases in cognitive appraisal, reflective coping, and sexual self-efficacy. Ongoing research integrating an affirmative stance toward sexual and gender diversity and evidence-based practices is being conducted as part of the Affirmative Research Collaborative.
To learn more, visit www.affirmativeresearch.com.
Heather M. Chik, Ph.D., HSPP
Anxiety & OCD Behavioral Health Center
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