Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Area of Study in Chicago


Area of Study Description

The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Area of Study in the Clinical Psy.D. program teaches students culturally competent behavioral health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their families across the lifespan. 

Specialized coursework includes subjects like sexual minority clients, gender identity, and life course development for sexual minorities.

Admission into the Chicago Campus’ Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program.

GRE Requirements

Sample Courses

Gender Identity: Development, Expression and Clinical Considerations

Begins with an overview of the biological and physiological underpinnings of gender. Students then examine the development of gender identity expectations and the systems that reinforce traditional presentations. Social contexts and issues impacting the gender roles of females, males, and transgender and intersex individuals are explored. Gender development theories are examined and integrated with clinical perspectives. The unique challenges encountered when working with clients for whom gender identity and/or gender expression do not fit into a binary system are discussed.

Sexual Minority Clients: Cultural Considerations

Provide a contextual framework for clinical work with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer identified clients. Starting with the conceptual development of "sexual orientation," a historical overview of psychology's treatment of sexual minorities will be provided. The course includes examination of the evolution of DSM definitions, and existing barriers to affirmative treatment.

Students examine the process of coming-out, and explore the impact of homophobia, heterosexism and heterocentric perspectives. Sexual minority experiences of prejudice and oppression, and multiple discriminations, are illuminated as diversity within the LGBT community is explored. Students examine the current socio-political climate sexual minority clients must navigate, and consider how this impacts their functioning as psychologists.

Relational Lives of Sexual Minorities
Focuses on the relational lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer identified clients. Students examine the effects of oppression and stigma on the formation and development of same-sex relationships. The commonalities and differences of opposite-sex, lesbian, gay male, and couples with bisexual and transgender partners are explored. The impact of gender transition and gender nonconformity on individuals' partners and families are considered.

Students gain an appreciation for the multiple meanings of "family," and the differentiations between of family of origin, family of choice and intimate partner family relationships. Students explore how to modify and apply models of family and couples therapy to work competently with sexual minority clients.

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