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




    • 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 and amazon.com (Kindle)
    • Also available for purchase from other major online retailers such as Apple ibooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, WH Smith, FNAC, Diesel, Oyster, Scribd, Flipkart, Stanza, Inktera and Aldiko.

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