Certificate in LGBT Affirmative Psychology

In the LGBT-Affirmative Psychology Certificate Program, you will develop the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and self-awareness to implement the most effective and empowering mental health services for LGBTQIA+ individuals. You will challenge how you understand identity and become part of a community of advocates challenging broader categories of identity and helping advance greater equality and understanding. The Certificate will help you as an affirmative practitioner address the impact of minority stress (e.g., both institutionalized and internalized homo/bi/transphobia) that can be underlying causes for the depression, anxiety, substance abuse, unsafe sex, and other psychic challenges faced by many LGBT individuals. The LGBT Specialization benefits both LGBT people wanting to become immersed in the life-saving domain of affirmative theory and practice as well as allies who are eager to serve this community with new competencies and qualifications.

The LGBT Affirmative Psychology Certificate is designed for marriage and family therapists, clinical counselors, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists or related professionals (licensed or license-eligible) seeking to expand their practices and refine their skills in clinical work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, gender nonconforming, queer, intersex, asexual, questioning, and other related communities.  The certificate was initially offered in Los Angeles, but has the potential to be offered in other cities. 

The structure of the LGBT Affirmative Psychology Certificate consists of two consecutive 10-week sessions that combine online learning with three in-person weekend residencies. Four courses are offered at 3 credits each, for a total of 12 quarter units of accredited graduate work. The in-person residencies are face-to-face during week 1, week 10 or 11, and week 20 of the program. During these residencies, students participate in classroom activities facilitated by the instructor(s). The residencies enable students to form personal and professional connections with the instructors, guest speakers, and each other. During the online portions of the program, students work from home to read required course material, write papers, and engage in robust online discussion. 

Through the LGBT Affirmative Psychology Certificate program, you will:

  • Explore unconscious dynamics unique to LGBTQIA people
  • Gain expertise in the most effective techniques in affirmative psychotherapy
  • Grow awareness of unique issues associated with multiple oppressions of LGBTQIA people of color
  • Learn to treat symptoms of internalized homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and heterosexism in LGBTQIA client through exploring the unconscious and relational dynamics.
  • Engage in case consultation regarding LGBTQIA cases

Required Courses

PSY 5930ZAffirmative Psychotherapy3
PSY 5930KCTLgbt History and Mythology3
PSY XXXX Affirmative Therapy Clinical Case Consultation3


If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for these certificate programs, but believe you are qualified to complete them, please contact MAP Director of Weekend and Satellite Programs to discuss why you are interested in enrolling and how you think it will benefit you.