What motivates community mental and behavioral health organizations to participate in LGBTQ+ cultural competency trainings?

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Fish, J. N., King-Marshall, E. C., Williams, N. D., Aparicio, E. M., Tralka, H. M., & Boekeloo, B. O. (2022). What motivates community mental and behavioral health organizations to participate in LGBTQ+ cultural competency trainings? American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1037/ort0000641


The constantly evolving language, understanding, and cultural context regarding the mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexual and gender diverse individuals (LGBTQ+) require mental health providers to obtain LGBTQ+ cultural competency training to be affirmative and effective with this population. Unfortunately, many providers are not obtaining this ongoing training and mental health disparities continue to plague LGBTQ+ populations. Guided by the Consolidation Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), we conducted eight focus groups with community mental and behavioral health organization (MBHO) administrators (e.g., directors, clinical supervisors) and therapists to explore what factors facilitated or inhibited their adoption and implementation of a multicomponent LGBTQ+ cultural competency training program that required administrator and therapist participation in multiple learning sessions over several months (i.e., workshop, clinical consultation, and organizational technical assistance). Results from template analysis supported CFIR-aligned themes, including characteristics of individuals, inner setting, outer setting, and process, and two additional codes—marketing and other/previous training opportunities—emerged from the focus group data. Findings suggest that therapists are motivated to engage in such a program because they want to feel more efficacious, and administrators see the benefits of LGBTQ+ training programs for their clientele and marketing. Barriers to adoption and implementation include cost and personnel resistance, although participants believed these barriers were surmountable. Emphasizing therapist efficacy, clientele need, and benefits for marketing mental and behavioral health services could motivate MBHOs’ and therapists’ adoption and implementation of LGBTQ+ cultural competency training.


LGBTQ+ populations show elevated rates of poor mental health and substance use relative to their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts but often experience stigma and marginalization when seeking mental health care. Mental and behavioral health organizations and therapists recognize a need for LGBTQ+ cultural competency training opportunities and are interested in participating in these trainings. Professional organizations and state licensing bodies should consider policies that require accredited graduate programs and continuing education opportunities to include LGBTQ+ training and competencies.