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Asking the right questions 2 

Talking with clients about sexual orientation and gender identity

(La version française suit la version anglaise.) 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, two-spirit, intersex, and queer (LGBTTTIQ) people have specific life factors that relate to substance use and/or mental health problems. These factors include “coming out,” gender transition, societal oppression, loss of family support, isolation, and the predominance of bars in LGBTTTIQ communities.

To provide effective addiction and mental health services, therapists/counsellors need to be aware of these life factors in clients. Asking the Right Questions 2 will help service providers create an environment where all clients feel comfortable talking about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Asking the Right Questions 2 includes:

  • interview items that can be used to facilitate discussion during assessment or early in treatment
  • an assessment form and guide to be used with a standard substance use, mental health, or other service assessment
  • background information to help clinicians use the ARQ2 guide
  • a glossary of concepts and terms

This manual is a revision of Asking the Right Questions: Talking about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity during Assessment for Drug and Alcohol Concerns; it has been revised to include mental health issues, updated resources and an expanded glossary.

Download the entire manual in PDF format.

Please note: In the process of posting this CAMH publication online, links to external sites were reviewed. In those cases where links have changed or are no longer in use, they have been deleted from the HTML (web page) version, but remain in the PDF versions. As a result, not all web pages will exactly match their PDF and print counterparts. The PDF versions will be updated if and when the print version is updated. We apologize for any inconvenience.




  • Why is this manual important?
  • Findings from two phases of the ARQ project—general conclusions

Using the manual

  • What is in this manual?
  • Using the ARQ2 guide
  • Using the background information

Background information:

Part A — Client Questionnaire

Part B — Conversation Guide

Counsellor competence — This section answers some common questions from counsellors.



Appendix — Creating the guide and manual

What readers said about Asking the Right Questions:

The ARQ manual makes it easy for service providers to bring sexual orientation and gender identity issues into the room, so that clients can sense that there is sensitivity to their needs. If the service provider doesn’t raise it, the client may assume that the person isn’t aware or receptive. ARQ is an invaluable tool for agencies, medical settings and private practice therapists.

Nelson Parker, MSW; David Kelley Lesbian, Gay and HIV/AIDS Counselling Program, Family Service Association of Toronto

The way this manual presented its questions, in a straightforward, matter-of-fact format, immediately sends the message to clients that we accept them unconditionally for who they are. I think that this can ease some of their anxiety surrounding LGBTT issues, allowing them to feel more freedom in discussing their concerns.

Tammy Pajuluoma, Healthy Choice Worker; Algoma AIDS Network, Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Version française : Poser les bonnes questions 2

Poser les bonnes questions 2Poser les bonnes questions 2 : Parler avec les clients de leur orientation et de leur identité sexuelles dans les établissements de santé mentale, de traitement de la toxicomanie et les cabinets de counseling

Les personnes gaies, lesbiennes, bisexuelles, transgenderistes, transsexuelles, bispirituelles, intersexuelles et queers (LGBTTBIQ) présentent des facteurs de vie spécifiques qui sont liés à des problèmes de toxicomanie ou de santé mentale. Parmi ces facteurs figurent l’affirmation de leur identité, la transition sexuelle, l’oppression sociale, la perte du soutien familial, l’isolement et la prédominance des bars dans les communautés LGBTTBIQ.

Pour fournir des services efficaces liés à la toxicomanie et à la santé mentale, les thérapeutes et conseillers doivent avoir conscience de ces facteurs de vie. Poser les bonnes questions 2 aidera les fournisseurs de services à créer un milieu où tous les clients pourront sans appréhension parler de leur orientation et identité sexuelles.

Poser les bonnes questions 2 comprend :

  • des questions qui peuvent être utilisées pour faciliter la discussion lors de l’évaluation ou au début du traitement ;
  • un formulaire d’évaluation et un guide pouvant être utilisés dans le cadre d’une évaluation standard en toxicomanie, santé mentale ou autre ;
  • des renseignements généraux afin d’aider les cliniciens à utiliser le guide Poser les bonnes questions 2 ;
  • un glossaire des concepts et des termes.

Ce manuel est une version révisée et mise à jour de la version d’origine (en anglais seulement) Asking the right questions: Talking about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity during Assessment for Drug and Alcohol Concerns. La version révisée traite des problèmes de santé mentale et contient de nouvelles ressources et un glossaire élargi.

Télécharger le format PDF de la version complète de Poser les bonnes questions 2.

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