Description: Male same sex couples often have unique needs, expectations, and definitions that must be taken into account in order to be an effective counselor with this population. This process starts with an exploration of the heteronormative narratives and biases that often guide our work when it comes to couples and relationships. We will also go into basic terms that you need to know in order to work effectively with male same sex couples.

From there, we go into specific issues that male same sex couples face, including internalized homophobia, attachment trauma, negotiating open relationships, sex and gender roles, starting families, substance use, HIV, shame, and toxic masculinity.

We’ll go on to explore the research that has been done in this area as well as techniques and theories that have been proposed for working with male same sex couples.

Finally, we’ll take a look at how civil rights, technology, and medical breakthroughs are rapidly altering the landscape for same sex male couples, and how to adapt your practice.

Once you have a solid understanding of your own biases, the classic issues, and the quickly shifting landscape, you’ll have a solid background upon which to project the specific and unique issues that each male same sex couple presents with.

This workshop is designed to help you:


Explore your own heteronormative biases when it comes to relationships

Define basic terms that are common in male same sex relationships

Recognize common issues that male same sex couples present with

Summarize relevant clinical research and theory

Utilize effective techniques in a clinical setting with male same sex couples

Adapt your practice to accommodate for the latest shifts in LGBTQ culture

Learning Objectives: 

Identify at least one heteronormative bias that is informing my work with couples

Define basic terms that apply to this population

Identify at least two unique issues that male same sex couples present with

Explain relevant research and theory for clinical work with this population

Employ at least two specialized techniques when working with this population

Describe recent cultural shifts and their effect on this population

Activity Schedule: 

First half hour – Intro and guided self exploration

Hour 1 – Specific issues with examples/case studies

–       Internalized Homophobia

–       Attachment Trauma

–       Negotiating Open Relationships

–       Sex and Gender Roles

–       Starting Families

–       Substance Use

–       Shame

–       HIV

–       Toxic Masculinity

Hour 2 – Theoretical Approaches with specific considerations/modifications

–       CBT/REBT

–       Emotion Focused/AEDP

–       Person Centered

–       Psychodynamic

–       Warnings about conversion therapy

Hour 3 – Exploring Today’s Landscape

–       Civil Rights Advances

–       Tech/Apps

–       Medical Breakthroughs

Final Half hour – Summary, final case study, Q+A

Presenter Bio: Nick Fager is a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. He is the Cofounder and CEO of Lighthouse (, a rapidly growing new startup that matches LGBTQ people with nearby, LGBTQ affirming doctors and therapists. He graduated from the counseling psychology program at Columbia University and started his career at the LGBT Center of Manhattan. Follow Nick on Instagram for daily affirming messages @gaytherapy.