The Struggle to Develop a Viable Sexual Orientation

Clinical Stories of Working with Gay and Bi-Sexual Men

with R. Dennis Shelby, PhD

Saturday, October 2, 2010, 1/2 day program
National 4-H Conference Center, 7100 Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD

Dennis Shelby will discuss his intensive psychotherapy work with two men experiencing struggles with their sexuality and in their sexual orientation. The first clinical discussion focuses on a man in intensive psychotherapy who expressed uncertainty about whether he was gay, bi or straight. A history of sexual boundary violations appears to have played a pivotal role in his difficulties engaging either men or women in an ongoing sexual relationship. The second clinical presentation involves a man in analysis, essentially a virgin in his early thirties, who presented with severe inhibitions, a marked delay in his sexual development, and tremendous difficulties defining and following his own path in life. In this case, the personalities of the parents appeared to have played the major pathogenic role.

Both cases raise important questions about the psychological building blocks of sexual orientation as well as the theoretical and personal perspectives of the clinician in working with gay and bisexual men. Shelby will present the theoretical works of Marion Tolpin and Arnold Goldberg to explore:

  • the psychological structures involved in sexuality and sexual orientation;
  • the capacity for ongoing sexual engagement with others and
  • the role of clinical engagement.

In the presentation, Shelby will engage the conference participants in an active discussion concerning questions regarding sexual orientation and the clinical case examples.

Course Objectives

Based on this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the relationship between psychological structures and sexual orientation.
  • Discuss the role psychotherapy plays in facilitating the development of the capacity for ongoing sexual engagement with others.
  • Explain how intensive clinical work with gay men can facilitate the development of a viable sexual orientation.


Register and pay by credit card online at EventBrite

or mail in the registration form with your check


ICP&P Members – Free

Non-Members – $85.00

Full-time Students – $35.00

CE credits

3.0 CE credits will be offered for full attendance.

ICP&P is proud to announce accreditation by MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis (ICP&P) maintains responsibility for the content, quality, and scientific integrity of this educational program. ICP&P is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. ICP&P is approved by the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners to offer Category I continuing education credit. Because ICP&P has approval from the Maryland Board, CE credits hours awarded by ICP&P may also be claimed by social workers licensed in Virginia and the District of Columbia. These continuing education credits meet the ANCC approval standards for nurses and the approved standards for marriage & family therapists. Attendees from the above professional groups will earn 3.0 CE credits for attending the conference. Full attendance is required to receive the designated CE credit. ICP&P is accredited by MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians. ICP&P designates this educational activity for a maximum of 3.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. ICP&P received no financial support for this program.

More information

For more information, call 202-686-9300 ext. 5 or email