Gay Couples Who Adopt Children Who Have Been Abused: Ideas and Interventions from a Self Psychological Perspective to Facilitate the Adoption Process

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Michael Karson

Second Advisor

Lynett Henderson Metzger

Third Advisor

Claire Poole


Adoption, Children, Qualitative research, Self psychology, Gay couples, Abused children


There are currently hundreds of thousands of children in the US foster care system who are all in need of a stable and predictable home with parents on whom they can depend. Recently, there has been an increased interest in adoption from gay couples who want to start a family. Because the majority of children in the foster care system have some sort of abuse or neglect history, a large number of them present with difficulties such as oppositional behavior, mood dysregulation, and other kinds of mental health problems. This paper addresses the unique situation of gay couples who adopt children who have been abused. Kohut's self psychology theory is utilized to help identify strengths and potential problems that could arise from this type of situation. Particular attention is given to the three selfobject needs that are central in self psychology: mirroring, idealization, and twinship. Additionally, ideas for interventions are posed for potential adoptive parents and mental health professionals to use to help the adoption process progress more smoothly and to hopefully lead to long-term, healthy placements.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


39 pages

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