Therapeutic Conversations with Queer Youth & Their Families: Honouring Resistance, Cultivating Connection

Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd June, 2018

Julie Tilsen

Queer youth today are engaging with gender and sexuality in ever-expansive and expanding ways.  Their embrace of emergent and flexible identities reflects courageous resistance to limiting cultural norms and suggests the hopefulness of new possibilities. These possibilities materialize in the relational world as young people both navigate and create a landscape of identities (for example, queer, non-binary, pansexual, agender) previously unimagined.

Providing therapeutic support to queer youth and their families in this new and unfolding identityscape requires conceptual and conversational resources that go beyond those advanced in “gay-affirmative” therapies.  Young people who live outside of normative gender and sexual identities often face unique relational and social challenges.  In this workshop, Julie introduces narrative practices and queer theory as praxis allies that position you alongside families in the construction of relationally engaged, generative conversations that help you meet these challenges.

This experiential workshop includes case vignettes, reflexive questions, and practice-based activities that encourage participants to examine the discourses that influence their ideas about gender, sexuality, identity, and family through a critical, intersectional lens. These activities also provide opportunities to apply and practice the concepts and skills presented.

This workshop will:

  1. Examine the relational and societal challenges faced by queer youth and their families.
  2. Review terms and concepts related to sexual and gender identity.
  3. Explore participants’ beliefs, attitudes, and understandings about gender, sexuality, identity, and family, and consider the clinical implications of these.
  4. Discuss intersections of gender and sexuality with race, class, ability, culture, religion, age, and nationality and consider the practice implications of these.
  5. Introduce key tenets of a sex positive stance, explore its relationship to queer theory, and identify ways to integrate it into practice.
  6. Introduce conceptual and conversational resources informed by queer theory and put into action through narrative practice for respectful and inclusive practice with queer youth and their families.
  7. Teach cultural studies methodologies for engaging youth in productive conversations about pop culture and media representation of queer youth identities.

This is a workshop that should not be missed!

Julie Tilsen, PhD, is the Director of Ethics & Practice for the International Centre for Clinical Excellence, an associate of the Taos Institute, and a recipient of the Minnesota Association of Marriage and Family Therapy’s Distinguished Service Award.

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