Intervention Site: Flourish Counseling Services

Flourish Counseling Services — Provo, Utah

Integrating the Family Acceptance Project (FAP)’s Family Support Approach into Counseling Services for Religiously Conservative Families and their LGBTQ Children


We’re delighted to collaborate with the Family Acceptance Project to help families learn to nurture, support and accept their LGBTQ children. FAP’s family support approach helps families restore relationships so parents and children can move forward together. Strengthening and sustaining family connections is especially important for LGBTQ youth from conservative families where families are the bedrock of our culture and communities.” — Lisa Tensmeye Hansen, MS, LMFT


Collaboration with FAP:  Integrating FAP’s family support approach into mental health care for LGBTQ young people and their families through services provided by Flourish Counseling Services. This includes:  crisis intervention, family therapy, working with extended family members and providing individual counseling and group support for LGBTQ youth, parents and other family members. A critical component of our collaboration focuses on helping religiously conservative parents and family members learn to support their LGBTQ children in the context of their values and faith traditions.

Flourish Counseling Services is a clinical care program that provides individual, couples, family and group counseling for all age groups, including short- and long-term counseling, crisis intervention, parent intervention and support services. Clinical staff include licensed mental health practitioners, marriage and family therapists and counselors who are LGBTQ-positive and who provide counseling services and support groups at Flourish and on site at Encircle LGBTQ Family and Youth Resource Center.


Critical Funding Needed: Help fund evaluation of our work to integrate FAP's family support approach into counseling services for religiously conservative families to prevent suicide and depression and to increase family acceptance and support for their LGBTQ children.


This collaboration will enable us — for the first time — to integrate the Family Acceptance Project’s assessment and family support approach into counseling services for families from religiously conservative backgrounds. FAP has studied how religious families respond to their LGBTQ children and how these reactions contribute to health risks, including depression, suicidal behavior and substance use, as well as to promoting positive health and well-being. FAP’s approach provides a framework for how religiously conservative families can learn to support and accept their LGBTQ children.

Culturally sensitive mental health services are especially important since many families have significant misinformation about sexual orientation and gender identity and wrongly assume that they must choose between their LGBTQ child or their faith. Rates of suicide and depression are increasing among teens, in general, and studies show very high risk for LGBTQ youth for depression and suicidal behavior, compared with their heterosexual peers. In a recent national study, LGB youth were more than twice as likely to report higher levels of feeling sad or hopeless, and were more than four times as likely to attempt suicide and to have a suicide attempt that required medical care – compared with heterosexual peers.

Your tax-deductible gift will enable our team to evaluate the impact of urgently needed evidence-informed mental health services that help families learn to support their LGBTQ children in the context of their culture and faith traditions to strengthen families, reduce high levels of risk and promote well-being for LGBTQ youth. Results of this work will be used to guide mental health services for religious families in other communities across the U.S.