Craig and Austin Headshots_0.pngFeaturing: Shelley L. Craig, PhD, RSW, LCSW and Ashley Austin, PhD, LCSW 


May 10, 2017 | 12 noon – 1:00 pm ET
Strategies for Delivering AFFIRMative Cognitive Behavior Therapy to LGBTQ+ Youth

Webinar Description:

While there is growing support in contemporary society for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBQ+) identities, LGBTQ+ youth continue to experience disproportionate risk for myriad mental and behavioral health outcomes.  Disparate health risk among LGBTQ+ youth is linked to stressors associated with their sexual and/or gender minority identities.  As a result, successfully navigating adolescence can be challenging and painful process for many LGBTQ+ youth.  Mental health professionals can play a key role in supporting LGBTQ+ client health and well-being through the use of affirmative practice approaches. LGBTQ+ affirmative practice acknowledges the multidimensional spectrum sexual and gender identities as equally healthy and valuable, validating the identities, strengths and experiences of LGBTQ+ youth.  Affirmative practitioners provide a clinical context which counters oppressive and unethical reparative approaches, challenging social and cultural factors that contribute to minority stress and oppression in the lives of LGBTQ+ youth.

This webinar will focus on AFFIRM, a LGBTQ+ youth-specific version of Cognitive Behavior Therapy that has been adapted to ensure (a) an affirming stance toward LGBTQ+ identities, (b) recognition and awareness of LGBTQ+-specific sources of stress, and (c) the delivery of CBT content within an affirming, developmentally relevant and trauma-informed framework.  AFFIRM helps clients to identify and challenge internalized stigma and negative core beliefs in a safe and supportive clinical context. Participants will be introduced to the skills associated with several core components of AFFIRM including Case Conceptualization, Psychoeducation, Modifying Thinking, and Behavioral Activation, LGBTQ+  youth learn to counter stress, develop support, and engage in healthy coping. 

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Assess the role and impact of homo/transphobic stigma, bullying, and discrimination on LGBTQ+ youths’ presenting mental health concerns.
  2. Articulate an affirmative stance toward LGBTQ+ diversity among youth
  3. Develop skills associated with effectively implementing CBT strategies within an affirmative context which challenges external and internal stigma, and attends to LGBTQ+ youths’ specific needs.

Presentation Level: Intermediate/Advanced

This webinar is eligible for 1 CE.

Presenter(s) Biography:

Shelley L. Craig, PhD, RSW, LCSW is Associate Dean Academic at the Factor Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. Ms. Craig teaches in the Health and Mental Health specialization, primarily focusing on research and practice for health. Dr. Craig’s research focuses on the social determinants of health and mental health and the impact of the service delivery system on vulnerable populations. Her primary specializations are: (1) the needs of sexual and gender minority youth and subsequent program development and service delivery (2) the roles and interventions used by health social workers to impact the social determinants of health (3) developing competent social work practitioners through effective social work education. As principal investigator she has recently tested several interventions for sexual and gender minority youth including Strengths-First, a resilience-focused case management program for youth at risk, ASSET, an empowering group  model and funded through the Canadian Institute of Health Research, AFFIRM, an affirmative cognitive-behavioural group intervention. 

Ashley Austin, PhD is currently an Associate Professor of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL. Her research and practice interests revolve around reducing disparities in health and treatment for LGBTQ youth and young adults. Her areas of research and professional practice include promoting resilience and well-being among sexual and gender minority youth, transgender affirmative practice, education, and research, and adaptations of empirically supported interventions for marginalized populations. Her recent research and scholarship collaborations focus on addressing notable gaps in the treatment literature through the adaptation of evidence informed cognitive behavioral interventions to meet the unique needs of diverse LGBQT youth and young adults. Dr. Austin has authored multiple publications and presentations aimed at advancing the delivery of transgender affirmative social work education and clinical practice. 


Craig, S.L., & Austin, A. (2016). The AFFIRM Open Pilot Feasibility Study: A Brief Affirmative Cognitive Behavioral Coping Skills Group Intervention for Sexual and Gender Minority Youth. Child and Youth Services. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.02.022
Austin, A. & Craig, S. L. (2015). Transgender affirmative cognitive behavioral therapy: Clinical considerations and applications.  Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 46(1), 21-29. 
Craig, S. L. Austin, A. & Alessi, E. (2012).  Gay affirmative cognitive behavioral therapy for sexual minority youth: A clinical adaptation and approach. Clinical Social Work Journal. DOI:10.1007/s10615-012-0427-9