Andrew Extein, MSW, ASW
In my practice I work with gay men, lesbians, transgender folk, queer individuals, as well as those who fit into other sexual minorities. I have seen the joys and struggles of queer communities and individuals, and I have a vested interest in enriching the lives of these populations. I see clients who struggle with creating a healthy sexual identity, managing feelings of isolation and marginalization, or integrating sexuality into a fulfilling life.
I am accepting and understanding of varying sexual desires and behaviors. As a student of queer theory, I do not subscribe to rigid definitions of sexuality and gender. I believe that sexuality and gender are fluid and complex, and vary widely in one’s preferences. I have a particular interest in working with overlooked sexual and gender minorities such as asexual, minor-attracted, genderqueer, and kinky people.
I understand the relationship of gay male identity and masculinity, mental health, substance use, and compulsive sexual behaviors. In the gay male community, there is a particular emphasis on masculine gender expression and strict social and cultural codes, resulting in undue emotional pressure for some. Depression and anxiety are common problems for gay men, and I address this in my practice with an informed understanding of gay lives. To alleviate feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression, many members of the gay community use compulsive behaviors such as substance use and sexual activity. In gay communities this can be especially easy due to prevalent cultures of drinking and drug use, as well as the ease of online hook-ups through websites and apps such as Adam4Adam, Manhunt, and Grindr.
Another specialty is work with young adults, life transitions, and emerging adulthood. As both a contemporary and professional I can offer insight into the difficulties and experiences of growing up queer in the age of Y2K, the Internet, and radically shifting gay politics. Use of social media has influenced the way we communicate with others, build interpersonal relationships, and represent ourselves to the outside world. Importantly, our generation is faced with the daunting challenge of navigating new adulthood during an unstable economy, with financial security compromised.
I understand that those living with HIV/AIDS have specific issues such as isolation, economic hardship, lack of affordable health care, and stigma within queer communities, and that those who do sex work also face particular challenges and stigmas. We are not defined by these issues that we face, but rather they inform how we view ourselves as whole, complex, and deserving people.
I understand the importance of race, ethnicity, and class–social justice and work with disenfranchised populations are key parts of my practice and philosophy. I believe that all people, regardless of socioeconomic status, belief systems, or creed have a right to competent mental health services. I value open communication and the power of relationships, as well as the inherent worth of all people and the right to a rich, purposeful life.
As a social worker, I have advocated for inmates in the LA County Jails system, provided psychotherapy for people living with HIV/AIDS at AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and worked with at-risk HIV+ youth and transgender adolescents at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I also studied visual art, painting, video, and installation. I am currently working on a web-based project about masculinity in the queer community.
Under the supervision of Leslie Halpern, PsyD #LCS11929
• USC School of Social Work
• Pomona College
Number of Staff
Sliding Scale Payment
Last Update: Thu February 28, 2013 15:40:48