Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
LGB individuals seek out counseling at higher rates than their straight counterparts and they tend to present for counseling with concerns that are unique and different from heterosexuals, such as difficulty reconciling one's sexual orientation with one's own religious beliefs. Yet counselors and counselors-in-training indicate that they have received very little education and/or training for working competently with LGB clients or with clients dealing with issues of religion and spirituality. The counseling profession could benefit from research providing in-depth and descriptive information as to the experiences of LGB participants who have same-sex attractions and come from a religious faith tradition that is not embracing of a non-heterosexual orientation identity in order for counselors to more fully understand the issues these LGB clients might present with. To begin addressing this need this dissertation was undertaken with the purpose of examining the experiences of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who currently have or have had same-sex attractions. A phenomenological methodology was used in order to collect and analyze the data from two semi-structured interviews with 10 Caucasian women who: were born into and raised in the LDS religion; had resided in either Utah or Idaho during their formative years; and, had indicated that they had experienced a same-sex attraction. Results indicated that the women in this study struggled with: figuring out and identifying themselves as a non-heterosexual person, the LDS religion and religious culture, and coming out to others in their lives. In-depth descriptions are provided highlighting the commonalities and ways in which the women in this study experienced difficulty and conflict during their experience of having a same-sex attraction within the LDS religious culture. The results of this study have compelling implications for counselors working with this population as well as counselor educators in charge of the training and education of counseling students.
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