Doing Family: Decentering Heteronormativity in “Marriage” and “Family” Therapy


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

In this chapter, we invite clinicians to consider how we conceptualize “family.” The primacy of heteronormativity in dominant discourse has a profound impact on family therapy literature, research, teaching, training, and practice. Despite increased acknowledgement of gay and lesbian individuals, the language of family therapy literature privileges heterosexual couples thereby marginalizing or rendering invisible same-sex couples and families. The authors propose a shift in family paradigm away from a heterosexually dominated, binary orientation to develop a language that does not inherently marginalize or pathologize non-heterosexual or gender variant people and families. The authors propose transforming the concept of “family” to a verb – “doing family” – a concept that celebrates diversity and variation as the new norm.

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