A Quick Guide to the Cass Theory of Lesbian & Gay Identity Formation

Ebook Edition

A new book by Dr Vivienne Cass released on the 4th October 2015

What is it?

  • The Cass theory of lesbian and gay identity formation is well-known to many who work in the field of sexual orientation.  Since it was first published over forty-five years ago, it continues to form the basis for research studies and for training programs for health professionals, and provides counsellors and therapists with a framework for helping them to work effectively with lesbian and gay clients. Increasingly it is being applied in developing countries as these absorb Western ideas about sexual orientation.

Why is it necessary?

  • Although the Cass theory was presented over a number of published articles and book chapters, and provides a multifaceted theoretical framework, all too often it is the original article alone, published in 1979, which is assumed (incorrectly) to offer an understanding of the complete theory.
  • Additionally, many have narrowed their focus to the theory’s central idea, namely that the process of acquiring an identity of ‘lesbian’ or ‘gay’ can be viewed as a series of six stages. When this occurs, the process of identity formation is often disconnected from the larger theoretical and epistemological context in which it sits, leading to inaccuracies in the way the theory is interpreted.

What does it offer?

    • Mindful of these issues, and also of the difficulty some international professionals and students of her theory have in accessing academic materials, Vivienne Cass has written A Quick Guide to the Cass Theory of Lesbian & Gay Identity Formation as a snapshot of her theory.
    • In this book she provides an overview of the theory, integrating, for the first time, all the different facets of her theory that have previously been dispersed throughout various publications. The book offers a summary of each aspect and clearly identifies the source materials so that readers can go to these references in order to obtain the full account of what is discussed.
    • As such it is an excellent resource for researchers, educators, health professionals and students, whether they are new to the theory or simply wish to confirm their understanding of it.
    • And, for the first time, Dr Cass addresses a number of critiques of her theory, providing responses to each of these that offer some new insights into her understanding of the identity formation process.

What do the contents include?


      • Preface.           Why the need for a quick guide
      • Using the Quick Guide
      • Chapter 1.       Developing the theory
      • Background



      • Chapter 2.       The theory’s epistemological base
      • Social constructionist psychology

        Dynamic interaction process

        Negotiated interpersonal relationships

        Other distinguishing features of Cass’ theory

        Psychology of knowledge

        Indigenous psychologies

        Sexual knowledge

        Cognitive schemas

      • Chapter 3.       Definition of identity formation process
      • Chapter 4.       Motivational factors
      • Motivation to engage in identity formation

        Interpersonal congruency theory

      • Chapter 5.       Definition of Identity
      • Conceptual framework

        Homosexual identity as typological identity

        Distinctions between presented, perceived and sexual identities

      • Chapter 6.       Stages of Identity Formation
      • Stage descriptions

        Pre-stage 1

        Stage 1: Identity Confusion

        Stage 2: Identity Comparison

        Stage 3: Identity Tolerance

        Stage 4: Identity Acceptance

        Stage 5: Identity Pride

        Stage 6: Identity Synthesis

      • Chapter 7.       Stage Allocation Measure
      • Chapter 8.       Critique of theory
      • Linearity of stages

        Experiences of women

        Stage 6 as the end-point

        Individuals at Stage 6 as more mature

        Relevance of theory

      • Chapter 9.       Time to expand our thinking
      • Chapter 10.     Implications for counselling and therapy
      • Counselling guidelines


Where can I buy it?

    • A Quick Guide to the Cass Theory of Lesbian & Gay Identity Formation can be read on all good ebook reading devices and computers.
    • Available from: smashwords.com
    • Also  Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd and others.

Contact Us

Postal Address:

PO Box 1127 Bentley DC 6983 Western Australia

Contact Details:

Email: contact@brightfire.com.au