Jon K. Reid (Half-day)

Workshop Title
Loss in the Lives of Lesbians and Gays

Purpose/ Objective of Workshop
Although much has been written about bereavement from AIDS in the gay community, there are a considerable number of other losses in the lives of gay and lesbian adults. These losses may include:
1. The loss of being “normal”
2. The loss of family of origin and family of procreation
3. The loss of religious home, religious community, and spirituality
4. The loss of actual safety or a sense of safety due to societal intolerance
5. The loss of career and employment
6. The loss of friends and lovers from AIDS

Far from a morose lifestyle, being gay or lesbian can be full of hope. The workshop will address:
7. Strategies for successful coping with loss in the lives of gay/lesbian adults
8. Profiles of happy successful gay adults
9. Strategies for mental health and success in personal relationships

Brief Description
For those who become aware of a same-sex sexual orientation in adulthood, there are a number of losses or potential losses which often go unaddressed either individually or in counselling. These losses easily contribute to symptoms of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and relationship instability. Although being gay isn’t a mental illness, gay and lesbian adults who seek-out counselling are likely to have a counsellor with negative attitudes, ignorance of gay culture, and who may well be unprepared to address issues of sexual identity development, healthy relationships for gays and lesbians, as well as, lack of preparation for addressing numerous unidentified losses. This workshop will provide mental health professionals with awareness of both death-losses and non-death losses in the lives of gays and lesbians, as well as, increased awareness of the cultural contexts of discrimination. The workshop will also address strengths of gay culture and provide an optimistic and hopeful outlook not only for lesbian and gay persons, but also for professionals who work with this population.

Target Participants (and any pre-requisite)
Health professionals (midwives, obstetricians, paediatricians, neonatologists, neonatal nurses, sonographers) and caring professionals (social workers, counsellors, chaplains, support workers).


Facilitator Bio

Jon K. Reid, Ph.D. is a Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counselling at Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SE) in Durant, Oklahoma. He earned a Ph.D. in Family Studies (1990) from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. Professor Reid was granted the LPC (Licensed Professional Counsellor) in 1988, later certified as an Approved Supervisor (Texas), and then as a National Certified Counsellor by the National Board for Certified Counsellors. Professor Reid is also certified as a “Fellow in Thanatology” by the Association for Death Education and Counselling (ADEC), co-chaired the 2009 ADEC conference held in Dallas, and was recently installed as President of the ADEC Board (2013-2014). An experienced counsellor, Professor Reid has conducted counselling in a variety of contexts, such as public schools, churches, counselling agencies, psychiatric hospitals, and private practice. He has lead grief support groups for children, adolescents, and for adult survivors of traumatic loss. Recently he has conducted counselling at the Child and Family Guidance Center of Texoma (2006-2011). For several years he served as consultant and supervisor of grief counsellors for Camp Strong Heart, a summer camp for grieving children, as well as, a behavioural health consultant for Head Start (a federal program that promotes school readiness for at-risk young children). Professor Reid has been recognized by his university for Excellence in Research/Scholarly Achievements and has been published in several journals including Death Studies; School Psychology International; Journal of Personal and Interpersonal Loss; Psychology in the Schools; and Illness, Crises and Loss. Professor Reid has written about roadside death memorials in The Handbook of Death and Dying (2003) and The Encyclopaedia of Death and the Human Experience (2009) for which he served as an Associate Editor. Professor Reid has consulted with earthquake survivors in Sichuan Province, China and has made professional presentations in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Barbados. As a member of the SE Counselling Faculty, Professor Reid regularly teaches courses on human sexuality, grief counselling, diagnosis and treatment planning, counselling children and adolescents, religious and spiritual issues in counselling, and LGBT issues in counselling. While at SE, Professor Reid has been a recipient of the “Spirit of Southeastern” Award, attended the Oklahoma Outstanding Professors Academy, and received an award for Excellence in Service.