A Quick Guide to the Cass Theory of Lesbian & Gay Identity Formation

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By Vivienne Cass Ph.D.

The Cass theory of lesbian and gay identity formation is well-known to those who work in the field of sexual orientation. Since it was first published over forty-five years ago it continues to form the basis of research studies, provide counsellors and therapists with a framework for helping them to work effectively with lesbian and gay clients, and to be part of training programs for health professionals. Increasingly it is being applied in developing countries as these absorb Western ideas about sexual orientation.

Although the Cass theory was presented over several articles and provides a multifaceted theoretical framework, many have narrowed their focus to its central idea, namely that the process of acquiring an identity of ‘lesbian’ or ‘gay’ can be viewed as a series of six stages. When this occurs, the process of identity formation is often disconnected from the larger theoretical and epistemological context in which it sits, leading to inaccuracies in the way the theory is interpreted.

Mindful of this problem, and also of the difficulty some international professionals and students of her theory have in accessing academic materials, Dr Cass has written A Quick Guide to the Cass Theory of Lesbian & Gay Identity Formation as a snapshot of her theory. In this short book she provides an overview of the theory, integrating, for the first time, all the different facets of her theory that have previously been dispersed throughout various publications. The source material is clearly identified so that readers can go to these references in order to obtain the full account of Dr Cass’ theory. As such it is an excellent resource for researchers, educators and health professionals, whether they are new to the theory or simply wish to confirm their understanding of it. As a bonus, Dr Cass also offers some new insights by addressing the various critiques of her theory and providing her response to each of these.

You can purchase the book online from Smashwords and/or Amazon at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/581890.

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at goodlifeguide.com

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