All in the Family: LGBTQ Issues in Therapy

Saturday, October 3, 2015
9 am - 1 pm | 4 CEs
(Registration begins at 8:30 am)


In the few short decades since homosexuality was removed from the DSM, a vital queer community has grown. Clinicians who are working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) clients need to be skilled in a wide-range of issues involving sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual diversity, and relationship dynamics. The complex issues facing families coping with gender transitions are similar in some ways to coming out lesbian, gay, or bisexual. However, gender identity struggles also commonly involve intense body dysphoria and physical transitions that must take place out of the closet and in the public eye.

Families are impacted by gender-variance in numerous ways, yet the family therapy field has remained virtually silent on the impact of transgender, transsexual, and gender non-conforming behavior within the family matrix. Assisting transgender people in self-actualization requires not only an understanding of gender identity but also a systemic focus on family dynamics. This workshop will provide an overview of the distinctions between sexual orientation and gender identity, and explore the clinical issues impacting individuals, couples, and families who identify as transgender.

Invited Presenter

Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev LCSW-R, CASAC, is a social worker, family therapist, educator, and writer. She is the Founder and Clinical Director of Choices Counseling and Consulting ( and TIGRIS: The Training Institute for Gender, Relationships, Identity, and Sexuality ( in Albany, New York. Arlene is a Lecturer at the University at Albany, School of Social Welfare and is the Project Director of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Project (SOGI). She is on the adjunct faculty of Smith College School for Social Work, Empire College, and the Rockway Institute at Alliant International University. Arlene is also the Clinical Supervisor for Center Support Counseling Services, at The Pride Center of the Capital Region. She has authored numerous journal articles as well as two books: The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide and Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and their Families, winner of the APA (Division 44) Distinguished Book Award, 2006.


  • Participants will understand the overlap and complexity of the components of sexual identity, including sex, gender identity, gender role, and sexual orientation.
  • Participants will learn about the unique developmental lifecycle issues impacting the lives of transgender people.
  • Participants will develop tools to address the systemic nature of gender expression and gender transition within families.
  • Participants will recognize the role of identity development and coming out as well as the impact of discrimination and changing social mores on the psychological health of transgender people.


8:30am - 9:00am               Registration & refreshments
9:00am - 10:00am             Overview of the components of sexual identity
10:00am - 10:45am          Systemic impact of gender transitions on families
10:45am - 11:00am          Break
11:00am - 12:00pm          Case presentations
12:00pm - 12:30pm        Complicated clinical issues
12:30pm - 1:00pm            Q & A

Registration Information

You may register for this conference by completing the registration form and mailing it with a check or credit card information to the PSCSW office; or you may register online see below.  Participation may be limited due to space constraints, so we encourage early registration, for which there is a discount.  All conference fees include a CE certificate.  If you need to cancel after you have registered, refunds (minus a $15 administrative fee) will be issued prior to the program date.

Continuing Education

For Pennsylvania Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors: This program is approved for 4 CE credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for 4 CE credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).

FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS:  This program is approved for 4 CE credits.  Programs or courses approved by boards that license social work practice in other states are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)10).

FOR DELAWARE SOCIAL WORKERS:  Presenter(s) have a minimum of 2 (two) years of practical application and/or research experience pertaining to the subject matter of this presentation.  Please consult section 7.2.5 of the rules of the Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners to determine if this course is in conformance with state regulations.

PSCSW is authorized to provide CE Credits to participants who attend programs in their entirety, in this case from 9 AM until 1 PMTime will be strictly enforced. 

PSCSW Members: Please login to register and see discounted member pricing for this event.

  • October 3, 2015
    9:00 am - 1:00 pm