TPC Journal-Vol 11-Issue-3 - FULL ISSUE

376 The Professional Counselor | Volume 11, Issue 3 As demonstrated in the case example and Table 1, professional counselors can use RCT to strengthen an awareness of structural and interpersonal forms of oppression affecting older LGBTQ+ adults of color. With the combination of life transitions and convergent forms of oppression, Chris and Hector may become more disconnected from each other, society, or other personal relationships. The effects of oppression can culminate in a longstanding experience of disconnection. Under the RCT lens, professional counselors can identify how oppression (e.g., racism, heterosexism) exacerbates feelings of disconnection and impacts the overall health of relationships (Singh et al., 2020; Singh & Moss, 2016). It is possible that Chris might be contending with prior experiences of relational images that potentially invoke stigma and familial histories with discrimination. Consistent with Table 1, professional counselors can demonstrate how prior interpersonal experiences of marginalization can result in feelings of isolation within Chris and Hector’s relationship and silence around their concerns. As Chris and Hector navigate life transitions and aging, professional counselors can illustrate how physical and mental health draw upon the strength of relationships, especially for communities facing social isolation (Mereish & Poteat, 2015; Woody, 2014, 2015). Tenets of RCT also focus on relational growth and resilience, which reflect how professional counselors can use strengths, growth, and creativity to ameliorate the cumulative effects of marginalization (Comstock et al., 2008; Hammer et al., 2014, 2016). By infusing these elements in practice, professional counselors invoke the Five Good Things (Miller, 1976; Miller & Stiver, 1997), which can apply to Chris and Hector’s relationship and transfer to other personal relationships. Although professional counselors can contextualize the experience of oppression, focusing on the strengths of Chris and Hector’s relationship can highlight how they have historically relied on each other and other community members for support. Reflecting on experiences of resilience and oppression can elicit more nuanced meaning in their relationship and identify possibilities for growth. Future Research Directions for RCT With Older LGBTQ+ Adults of Color Considering the overall framework of RCT in application to older LGBTQ+ adults of color, gerontological counseling researchers can explore a variety of avenues to advance research agendas and bridge the gap across these intersecting social identities. Counseling researchers can employ quantitative and qualitative analyses pertaining to older LGBTQ+ adults of color to challenge relational images perpetuated by society (Duffey & Somody, 2011; Hammer et al., 2016). More importantly, research framed within principles of RCT can also yield more in-depth understanding of how older LGBTQ+ adults of color navigate resilience, empowerment, and incidents of oppression, which are foundational to intersectionality and the RCT approach (Duffey & Trepal, 2016; Haskins & Appling, 2017; Singh et al., 2020). This emphasis is especially critical for older LGBTQ+ adults of color who are less likely to seek counseling that fails to affirm their identity (Kim et al., 2017; Singh & Moss, 2016). As researchers have continued to emphasize a stronger focus on resilience with multiply marginalized communities (Bostwick et al., 2014; Bower et al., 2021; Singh, 2013), RCT presents a useful framework for identity affirmation because of its focus on authenticity and growth-fostering connections (Flores & Sheely-Moore, 2020; Mereish & Poteat, 2015). As several gerontological and health equity researchers have documented, identity affirmation and culturally responsive care are crucial for buffering negative health care experiences that prevent historically marginalized clients from seeking help (Flynn et al., 2020; Fredriksen-Goldsen et al., 2017; Howard et al., 2019; Kim et al., 2017). Associated with advances of research in intersectionality, RCT continues to demonstrate promising opportunities for the critical examination of linked social identities that mirror multiple overlapping forms of oppression (Addison & Coolhart, 2015; Chan & Erby, 2018; Singh & Moss, 2016). As a theoretical framework, RCT can contextualize how structural forms of oppression (e.g., racism, ageism, heterosexism) converge for