Michael LaSala
Michael LaSala

Associate Professor

PhD, SUNY at Albany
Dr. LaSala's research interests include clinical social work, gay and lesbian issues, and marriage and family therapy.


Michael C. LaSala, PhD (State University of New York at Albany, 1998) is director of the MSW program and associate professor at the School of Social Work at Rutgers University.  His research interests are the couple and family relationships of gay men and lesbians and his current work examines the role of gay and lesbian family relationships in coping with stigma and also parental influence on gay youth's safe sex behaviors. Dr. LaSala's forthcoming book entitled: Coming out, coming home: Helping families adjust to a gay or lesbian child (Columbia University Press) describes the findings and practice implications of a National Institute of Mental Health funded qualitative study of 65 gay and lesbian youth and their families.  Other examples of Dr. LaSala's work can be found in Social Work, Family Process, the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Families in Society and the Journal of Lesbian and Gay Social Services.  Dr. LaSala recently completed a Fulbright Fellowship during which he taught family therapy courses at Tallinn University in Estonia and where he also investigated the impacts of stigma on Estonian lesbians and gay men.  Dr. LaSala has been keynote speaker at national and international family therapy conferences in Sweden, Estonia, and Italy. Before joining Rutgers University, Dr. LaSala practiced social work for 15 years at the direct practice, supervisory, and administrative levels.  He is committed to practice-informed research and therefore continues to practice part-time as a licensed clinical social worker at the Institute for Personal Growth in Highland Park, New Jersey.  

Courses Taught:

  • Clinical Social Work: Families
  • Clinical Social Work: Solution-Focused Therapy

Selected Recent Publications:

LaSala, M. C.  (2010).  Coming Out, Coming Home: Helping Families Adjust to a Gay or Lesbian Child.  New York: Columbia University Press.

LaSala, M. C., Jenkins, D., Wheeler, D. P., & Fredriksen-Goldsen, K.I.  (2008). LGBT Faculty, Research, and Researchers: Risks and Rewards. Journal of Gay and Lesbian, Social Services. 21, 253-267.

LaSala, M. C. (2007). Old maps, new territory: Family therapy theory and gay and lesbian couples. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Family Studies.  Journal of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Family Studies, Innovations in Theory, Research, and Practice, 3, 1-14.

LaSala, M. C. (2007). Too many eggs in the wrong basket: A queer critique of the  same-sex marriage movement. Social Work, 53,129-132

LaSala, M. C. (2007). Parental influence, gay youth, and safer sex. Health and Social Work, 32, 49- 55.

Melendez, M. P. & LaSala, M. C. (2006).   Who's oppressing whom?: Homosexuality, Christianity and social work.  Social Work, 51, 371-377.

LaSala, M. C.
(2006). Cognitive and environmental interventions for gay males: Addressing stigma and its consequences. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, 87, 181-189.

LaSala, M. C. (2005).  Queering ideas: The descriptive and theory building potential of  qualitative research with lesbian and gay families. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 18, 61-72.

LaSala, M. C.  (2004). Monogamy of the heart: A qualitative study of  gay male couples. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 17, 1-24.

LaSala, M. C.
(2004). Comparing monogamous and nonmonogamous relationships. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, 85, 405-412.

LaSala, M. C.
(2003). When interviewing "family": Maximizing the insider advantage in the  qualitative study of lesbians and gay men. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 15, 15-30.
LaSala, M. C. (2002). Walls and bridges: How coupled gay men and lesbians manage their intergenerational relationships. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 28, 327-338.