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Beyond the Binary: Therapeutic Conversations with Queer Youth

Video Type: In Practice

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  • Summary

Julie Tilsen joins Diego, a Mexican American young man, in conversation on identity. Diego is in an “in-between” space in terms of identity and is considering moving from an identity as a gay man to a queer identity—something that reflects greater fluidity and flexibility. Diego talks about his upbringing, how his religious education early in his life had an impact on his thoughts about identity, and his current attraction to a trans man. Tilsen illustrates the clinical application of queer theory in her session with Diego. Queer theory, a set of ideas that challenge notions of fixed identity categories, can be useful in helping clients unpack taken-for-granted ideas about sex and gender. She also integrates culturally responsive, narrative, and constructionist therapies in her work with Diego. Tilsen provides viewers with a history of the word queer and how its meaning has shifted over decades. She also defines heteronormativity, homonormativity, and the gender binary and explains how each one operates as a way to restrict and box people into categories. Julie Tilsen is a licensed psychologist in Minnesota and holds a master’s in counseling psychology and a PhD in social sciences. She is a Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health Therapy–approved supervisor. She is in private practice in Minneapolis and also provides clinical supervision and consultation to a variety of individuals and agencies interested in cultivating socially just, effective, culturally responsive practices. As a therapist, supervisor, and trainer, she is highly sought after for providing responsive, creative, and effective services in respectful and engaging ways. She is also the director of ethics and practice for the International Center for Clinical Excellence, founded by Scott Miller. She travels throughout North America to train clinicians in the provision of feedback-informed therapy.

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