What I Have Learned in More than Forty Years
What I Have Learned in More than Forty Years as a Psychotherapist and Counselor to a Predominantly Gay Male Population of Individuals, Couples, and Groups:
What Works, What Doesn’t Work, and How To Tell the Difference.
Thomas Sherratt’s BA was in Philosophy in 1975 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; his MA in Counseling Psychology came in 1978 from Pepperdine University. He has been a full member of the American Academy of Psychotherapists since 1986 and was elected to life membership in 2014.
Mr. Sherratt’s presentations to public, professional, and political organizations specifically on gay male issues began in 1979 and continue through the present. Perhaps the most gratifying was to the Second Congress of the World Council of Psychotherapy in 1998 in Vienna, Austria, with representatives of more than twenty nationalities present.
Many of the topics that he covers in a general presentation are problems that other professionals should be aware of … but typically aren’t.
- Perhaps what might be useful is for me to initially speak about my own personal history with psychotherapy as a gay teenager in the nineteen sixties.
- As a psychotherapist in my own right I have developed in what might be termed an Existential/Experiential approach.
- Traditionally psychoanalytical theory posited “close-binding mothers and remote fathers“ as being the problem. Richard Isay’s psychoanalytical theory of Gay genesis is far more apt.
- A profound part of my history in this community is HIV/AIDS disease from the early eighties into the middle nineties. In some measure we who were around then as gay men all suffer from PTSD.
Issues that I encounter most often among Gay men:
- Culturally most of us of a certain age were raised in a culture which regarded gay men as: criminal, pathological, and wicked. The artifacts of that remain.
- Shame is probably the most important factor that can be grasped in attending to gay individuals…we don’t have a secret; we are a secret.
- Coming out is of crucial importance and can happen at almost any age. There are stages to coming out, both for the individual involved and for his family and friends.
- Additionally, substance as well as behavioral addictions occur at a disproportionately higher level for gay men than for the general population.
Members of the audience this time are acutely, individually aware of how these issues have affected their lives. Come and get an overall view of this world.