Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health Certificate

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Program Overview

Fairfield University offers a 12-credit certificate for mental health professionals to serve a diverse range of sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth and adults. If you hope to or are currently working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ), polyamorous, kinky, and other SGM clients, this certificate will give you the resources, skills, and self-awareness you need to feel confident in your work.

  • Suited for marriage and family therapists, counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and more
  • One year of flexible, online learning that can fit into a busy schedule
  • A three-day, on-campus residency in July to welcome students
  • Highly engaging, interactive online courses taught by passionate and knowledgeable practitioners
  • A focus on intersectional, relational, life cycle, and self-reflective perspectives to foster a holistic view of both client and clinician
  • An opportunity to create and implement a project, program, or product that impacts LGBTQ mental health

Learning Objectives

Learning outcomes for this program are based in professional standards for clinical treatment of SGM clients (i.e., American Counseling Association, American Psychological Association), the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP) Conceptual Framework, and the Jesuit mission of Fairfield University. The certification in Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health prepares candidates who:

  1. Recognize their own biases, privileges, and worldviews as it pertains to SGM youth and adults and take responsibility for how these impact assessment and treatment
  2. Distinguish how biological, familial, cultural, socioeconomic, and psychological factors influence the development, growth, life cycle, and relationship and family formation for SGM individuals
  3. Recognize how sexual and gender identity intersect with other social identities (e.g., race, ethnicity, nationality, class, ability, religion/spirituality) to create diverse experiences of development, privilege, and oppression
  4. Articulate an affirmative approach to mental health treatment that includes a strength-based, normative view of sexual and gender diversity as well as an understanding of how stigma impacts mental health and well-being
  5. Seek and access resources for client care and continued professional development, including training, consultation, and research findings
  6. Create solutions that directly impact service delivery, community resources, or policy initiatives that improve SGM well-being

Message From The Program Director

Dear Prospective Student,

I am thrilled to present to you the Certificate in Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health! This certificate program is the first of its kind—almost entirely online, focused on the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ people and families, and open to graduate students and professionals across disciplines and across the world.

It is very likely that you are interested in this certificate because you are serving LGBTQ clients and communities, but did not receive very much training on these issues in your graduate program. This certificate was created to bridge that training gap so that we can all provide affirmative, ethical, and healing care to clients across the gender and sexuality spectrum.

The Certificate in Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health is offered primarily online so that you can fit it into your life, whether you are in a graduate program, caregiving, working, or a combination. The faculty are trained in the most up-to-date learning technology tools to provide you with an engaging, in-depth, and effective learning experience. We also look forward to meeting you during the three-day residency that begins each certificate cohort.

The faculty are all licensed mental health professionals with years of experience teaching, supervising, and providing therapy to LGBTQ clients. They have been published and given national presentations on this topic. But, most importantly, they are passionate and committed to your development as a therapist.

Please explore this page, and if you have any questions, please send me an email.

Erica E. Hartwell, PhD, LMFT
Director, Certificate in Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health

Courses

Course will be offered in sequence as follows:

FT 470 Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health (3 credits, Summer)

This class is designed to expand candidates’ multicultural competence when working with sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals, couples, and families in educational, mental health, and healthcare settings. This course adopts an intersectional, critical, and social justice perspective by interrogating heterosexism, homophobia, transphobia, power, privilege, and oppression. Using the minority stress model, candidates will examine health disparities and critical presenting concerns, such as coming out, depression, suicide, and gender transition. Candidates will engage in critical self-reflection of their own multicultural identities and the influence of these on the therapeutic process or the educational setting.

 

FT 471 Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health Treatment (2 credits, Summer)

This class is designed to follow FT 470 and expand candidates’ multicultural competence when working with sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals, couples, and families in educational, mental health, and healthcare settings. This course adopts an intersectional, relational, and family life cycle perspective. Topics include barriers to accessing treatment, effective approaches to treatment, and mental health prevention and promotion. Candidates will integrate professional practice standards, research evidence, healing and liberation practices, and critical reflection of their own multicultural identities to articulate an affirmative approach to treating SGM individuals, couples, and families. Prerequisite: FT 470.

 

FT 568A Affirmative Care with Gender Minority Youth and Adults (2 credits, Fall)

This class is designed to expand candidates’ multicultural competence when working with transgender and gender diverse youth, adults, and their families in educational, mental health, and healthcare settings. This course adopts an intersectional, relational, and family life cycle perspective. Topics include the unique challenges faced by gender minority individuals and their families, gender identity development, and letters of support for medical gender transition. Candidates will integrate professional practice standards, research evidence, and critical reflection of their own multicultural identities to articulate an affirmative approach to treating transgender and gender diverse individuals and their families.

 

FT 568B Affirmative Care with Sexual Minority Youth (2 credits, Fall)

This class is designed to expand candidates’ multicultural competence when working with sexual minority youth and their families in educational, mental health, and healthcare settings. This course adopts an intersectional, relational, and family life cycle perspective. Topics include current and evolving use of language, identity development and construction, social support and coping resources, and how to support families to nurture their youth. Candidates will integrate queer theory, research evidence, and critical reflection of their own multicultural identities to articulate an affirmative approach to treating sexual minority youth and their families.

 

FT 499 Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health Capstone (3 credits, Spring)

Candidates take this course after completing all other coursework required for the Certificate in Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health. In this course, candidates apply the knowledge and skills gained throughout the certificate program to create and implement a project in their place of employment, other sponsoring organization, or community. The project is developed with a faculty mentor and community partner to directly impact the mental health of SGM individuals, couples, or families. Prerequisites: Admission to certificate program, FT 470, FT 471.

Faculty

Daran Shipman, MA, LMFT

 
Get to Know Daran

Daran is a private practice clinician in Syracuse, NY, where he specializes in working with transgender and gender diverse clients. He also teaches and supervises marriage and family therapy students at Syracuse University and delivers workshops nationally and locally on the topics of LGBQ and transgender/gender diverse youth, adults, and their families.

Daran’s scholarship focuses on healthy development of transgender/gender diverse youth and affirmative care for the LGBTQ community and their families, and has been published in peer-reviewed journals. His recent article on the experiences of transgender therapists working with their clients was published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

Outside of the office, Daran is happiest at home doing yardwork, cleaning and organizing, and spending time with his cat (Roxie), and a little dog named Olive. Daran also loves adventure, traveling with his partner, being in nature, hiking the Adirondack mountains, CrossFit, and biking.

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Julie Tilsen, MA, LP, PhD

 
Get to Know Julie

Julie provides supervision, training, and consultation to a variety of agencies, therapists, and youth workers focused on socially just, anti-oppressive, and harm-reduction practices. In addition to numerous professional journal articles and book chapters, Julie is the author of Therapeutic Conversations with Queer Youth: Transcending Homonormativity and Constructing Preferred Identities (2013, Rowman & Littlefield), and Narrative Approaches to Youth Work: Conversational Skills for a Critical Practice (2018, Routledge).

Julie is community faculty in the Youth Studies Program of the University of Minnesota, an associate of the Taos Institute, and recipient of the Minnesota Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Distinguished Service Award. Her work is featured in several counselor training videos produced by Alexander Street Press and Sage/UPG Media.

Julie is a hard-core fan of the University of Minnesota Gophers Women’s Hockey team and likes drinking cold press. She has a greyhound named Feet and two cats, Presto and Juno. The sorting hat has decidedly placed Julie in the House of Ravenclaw.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Monique D. Walker, PhD, LMFT

 
Get To Know Monique →

Dr. Monique D. Walker, LMFT is a psychotherapist in Washington, DC who specializes in and has a deep passion for working with queer and transgender youth and their families, as well as queer and transgender adults throughout the lifespan. Previously, Monique served as clinical director and psychotherapist at two agencies in Philadelphia that largely serve LGBTQ+ individuals, couples, and families. Her research interests include parental acceptance/rejection of queerness and gender nonconformity, coupling and family relationships in queer communities, and intersectionality and identity development. Monique has published several journal articles and book chapters, and has presented her work locally, nationally, and internationally. In her free time Monique enjoys spending time with her little one, family, and friends, especially at the beach, or doing anything that allows her to be outside in warm weather and take in the many sights and cultural events in the Washington DC area.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

On-Campus Residency

The program will begin in the summer with a three-day, on-campus residency for matriculated students from July 12 - July 14, 2019. The purpose of the residency is to create a cohort and community among candidates and faculty, orient candidates to the program, begin planning for the capstone project, and launch coursework. The cost of food and housing for the three-day on-campus residencies is covered in student fees. Any travel costs are the responsibility of the student.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and demonstrate a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.67 across all degrees.

The program is intended for mental health professionals or graduate students with some clinical experience. Students are expected to have, at minimum, a basic knowledge of clinical assessment, diagnosis, and treatment and possess basic clinical skills.

Applications will be reviewed when they are complete and submitted. The application deadline is June 15, 2019. Space is limited. Applicants are encouraged to apply early.

Admission Procedures

Those seeking admission to the Certificate program must complete the following procedures:

  1. Apply online and complete the formal application.
  2. Pay a non-refundable $60 application fee.
  3. Submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  4. Submit a professional resume or CV that includes education and employment history.
  5. Submit one letter of recommendation from an employer or supervisor who can evaluate your skills and experience as a mental health professional.
  6. Submit a personal statement describing why you want to undertake this certificate program.
  7. Participate in an admission interview, either in person or via videoconference.

Contact Us

For more information about the Certificate in Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health, please contact:

Erica Hartwell, PhD, LMFT
Associate Professor and Clinical Director of Marriage and Family Therapy
Program Director of the Certificate in Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health
Phone: (203) 254-4000 ext. 2866
Email: ehartwell@fairfield.edu

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