This is the website to accompany the book:

Richards, C. & Barker, M. (2013). Sexuality and Gender for Mental Health Professionals: A Practical Guide. London: Sage.


Questions of sexuality and gender affect everyone and therefore have an inevitable relevance in the consulting room. Yet with interpretations and manifestations of both varying greatly from person to person, understanding the inherent complexities of sexuality and gender can be a daunting task for the health professional. Breaking down these complexities this practical guide familiarises the reader with all of the common and many of the less common sexualities, genders and relationship forms, and explains experiences and issues relating to each. The book contains:

  • Explanations of various forms of sexuality, gender and relationship structures
  • Common concerns relating to specific groups
  • Key practises relating to specific groups
  • The treatment of specific groups in contemporary Western society
  • Details of some rules and ideals that are commonly found within specific groups
  • Suggestions for professional practice with these groups

Ideal for all members of the multidisciplinary team, this accessible book is relevant to practitioners across theoretical backgrounds. Whether you are a trainee or qualified psychotherapist, counsellor, nurse, medic, psychiatrist, social worker or applied psychologist, this is a vital text for your professional practice.

Reviews of the book:

“A cogent, carefully crafted and comprehensive introduction to the complexities of genders, sexualities and relationships which challenges our assumptions about normality and difference, refreshingly including heterosexuality, asexuality and BDSM alongside LGB and T*” Dominic Davies, Founder of Pink Therapy

“Filling an enormous void in the literature, this book teaches health professionals the essentials of cultural sensitivity when working with issues of sexuality and gender” – Charles Moser, PhD, MD. , Fellow of the European Committee of Sexual Medicine and Professor and Chair of the Department of Sexual Medicine at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality

“A lucidly written “one stop shop” counselling primer on transgender, transvestism, intersex, gay and lesbian, bisexuality, asexuality, bondage, adult/baby role play, monogamy yes/no, and even heterosexuality. Although limited to 220 pages, it manages to convey a learned, sensible, empathic, client-oriented perspective for each group” – Richard Green MD JD FRCPsych, Retired Consultant Psychiatrist, Gender Identity Clinic, Charing Cross Hospital, London; Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles

“This book gives even-handed, clear-eyed and above all thoroughly practical advice to anyone seeking to better understand these client groups” – Dr James Barrett, Consultant Psychiatrist and Lead Clinician, West London Mental Health NHS Trust

“Richards and Barker provide a very readable and practitioner-friendly overview of practices and identities related to gender and sexuality. They also offer a separate section on relationship structures that includes monogamy and non-monogamy. By taking us through the key terms, common practices, major concerns, group norms and situating groups within a wider social context, each chapter offers a wealth of knowledge for the novice psychologist, the seasoned therapist, and the many of us in between. The book not only offers insights, reflection points and guidelines related to working therapeutically with sexual and gender minority clients, but also provides us with the contemporary language of gender and sexuality (and a wholesome glossary, from 24/7 to yiff!)” – Roshan das Nair, Co-editor of Intersectionality, sexuality and psychological therapies: Working with lesbian, gay and bisexual diversity (Wiley-Blackwell) & Consultant Clinical Psychologist (Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust)

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