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Russell, G.M. Greenhouse, E.M. (1997). Homophobia in the Supervisory Relationship: An Invisible Intruder. Psychoanal. Rev., 84(1):27-42.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Review, 84(1):27-42

Homophobia in the Supervisory Relationship: An Invisible Intruder

Glenda M. Russell, Ph.D. and Ellen M. Greenhouse, Ph.D.

The intrusion of homophobia and heterosexism into the supervisory relationship represents the intersection of the personal and the political. It is the intersection at which sociocultural phenomena meet and influence the private world of clinical supervision. In this paper, we will explore the varied manifestations and impacts of homophobia and heterosexism on the practice of supervision.

The terms homophobia and heterosexism have been used in a variety of ways (Forstein, 1988; Herek, 1992; Neisen, 1990; Obear, 1991; Pharr, 1988; Weinberg, 1972). Weinberg (1972) defined homophobia as the irrational fear and hatred of same-sex affectional preferences and people who express them. While Weinberg's definition of homophobia refers to a phenomenon within the individual, the term heterosexism more accurately describes pervasive, culturally shared beliefs that transcend the individual (Neisen, 1990). Heterosexism refers to the general assumption that the heterosexual orientation is preferable or superior to the other sexual orientations. While homophobia and heterosexism represent different vantage points, they are almost invariably found together. Henceforth, we will use the word homonegativity to refer to any cognitive, affective, or social forms of these phenomena (Hudson & Ricketts, 1980; Martin, 1993; Shidlo, 1994).

Homonegativity can exist within the supervisory dyad whatever the sexual orientation of each member (i.e., both supervisor and therapist are heterosexual; neither member is heterosexual; gay/lesbian/bisexual supervisor and heterosexual therapist; heterosexual supervisor and gay/lesbian/bisexual therapist).

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