Last updated June 16, 2015
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Effects of Conservative Religion on Lesbian and Gay Clients and Practitioners

Practice Implications

Social workers have historically avoided examining the effects of religion and religious beliefs on gay and lesbian clients. Effects of Conservative Religion on Lesbian and Gay Clients and Practitioners: Practice Implications exposes religion as the source of powerful conflicts for our clients. In a carefully documented review of different religious perspectives and beliefs, the author not only identifies sources of conflict and punitive actions but helps us know what to do with them. Religion can be a source of support or a barrier to one’s self esteem. Specific tools such as support groups, self-help educational materials, and strategies for reconciling religion and one’s sexuality are carefully presented.

Ski Hunter directly confronts therapeutic models that purport to change one’s sexual orientation. There cannot be a cure if there is no disease. This text does not de-value religion or religious beliefs put rather boldly illustrates how it cannot be ignored by social workers and social work educators.

Dr. Jean Quam, Ph.D., L.I.C.S.W.

Dean and Professor, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota


Negative religious views about homosexuality and the right of lesbian and gay people to receive services free from bigotry and discrimination has created an ongoing tension in the social work profession. In a truly original and ground-breaking book, Ski Hunter examines a broad range of religious views about homosexuality, cites extensive research that demonstrates the harmful effects of condemnation, and makes a compelling case for the necessity of lesbian and gay affirmative practice based on the profession's Code of Ethics, moral principles, and legal requirements. Importantly, she goes beyond an in-depth analysis of the problem and offers concrete ways in which heterosexist practitioners and organizations can engage in transformation. This is one of the most extensive and scholarly treatments of this topic and Hunter’s fluid and approachable writing style make this a joy to read. This book should be required reading for all current and future social workers.

Susan Robbins, Ph.D., LCSW

Associate Professor, University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work