Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth (SMY)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapeutic approach that aims to teach and modify negative thinking patterns. Additionally, it improves relationships with others, boosts self-confidence and encourages social interaction. CBT has become widely used for treating various mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
CBT is a widely-used approach to treating mental health disorders and one of the most effective treatments for depression. It may also be utilized to address issues such as alcohol abuse and sexual risk behaviors.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been extensively researched for treating depression, but little research exists regarding its application to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals or groups. Given that LGBTQ youth are particularly vulnerable to mental health outcomes such as depression and substance abuse issues, interventions tailored specifically towards this population are needed.
A tailored adaptation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for sexual minority youth (SMY) is necessary to bridge this knowledge and practice gap. A well-designed, rigorously evaluated intervention tailored for SMY would demonstrate its efficacy, giving providers a reliable tool with which to treat this vulnerable population effectively.
At present, only one randomized controlled trial has been conducted that examines a CBT-based program for sexual minority young adults that aims to address mental health outcomes such as depressive symptoms, alcohol use problems and sexual risk behaviors. This program, Effective Skills to Empower Effective Men (ESTEEM), has demonstrated promising results in terms of reduced depressive symptoms and alcohol use problems as well as improved sexual risk behavior among a sample of gay and bisexual men aged 18-35 years.
Recent pilot study results demonstrated that sexual minority youth who participated in the ESTEEM program experienced significant improvements in their depressive symptoms, alcohol use and sexual health outcomes compared to control participants. This could be attributed to targeted mental health issues commonly experienced among these groups.
BOWS works to transform internalized oppression and use cognitive restructuring to alter how LGBTQ clients view themselves and their identities – which often leads to depression in this population [25,27]. Furthermore, BOWS is a group intervention that offers advantages over individual psychotherapy because it gives clients/patients insight, skillsets, and support from others facing similar difficulties.
A clinical social worker created this intervention, adapting existing treatments that have been successful with sexual minority youth. The eight group sessions consist of instruction in CBT techniques, readings and discussion to create a long-term program.