LGBT competent counseling isn’t necessarily directly about being L or G or B or T… or Q or I or any other letters you can add there. Often issues in counseling are informed by how society has responded to these sexual identities; however, counseling starts with welcoming and valuing people first. My clients are people who want safety, security, acceptance and a sense of belonging. They are people who want to love and be loved openly.
Unjustly, living in our society as a sexual minority often means trying to create the illusion of fitting into a heterosexist society to be safe. This concealed stigma – the closet – is a safe, but stifling coping skill where risk of loss increases over time. The effect is social isolation of the true self, and the risks of exposure are high. Coming out of the closet could mean loss of a job, church, family, friends, child custody, even at times, wives and husbands. Depression and anxiety are responses that healthy people have when faced with these very real threats of loss and rejection. Some research suggests the depression and anxiety tied to concealed stigma is more harmful than to outright discrimination faced by ethnic and cultural minorities.
Other issues relating to sexual identity and orientation exist beyond the closet and discrimination. People struggle with histories of assault, trauma, AIDS, body image, relationships and intimacy, eating disorders, substance abuse, domestic violence, rape, cutting, and molestation histories. These issues are not present because of their sexual identity. They are only issues for therapy because bad things have happened to otherwise healthy people who want to live more free and fulfilled lives.
I work with gay individuals and couples in relationships. I have experience with helping transgender individuals at various stages of transition to find confidence and community. Make and appointment today!
Having your livelihood and rights being constantly brought up in politics, social media, and general conversation is a common occurrence for those in the LGBTQIA community. Add any amount of traumatic life experience or relationship issue to that equation and what you have left is a person who likely feels ostracized, hurt, confused, and betrayed. Coming to therapy to work through your emotions and experiences can be a positive step. However, it is so important that the therapist your choose is not only sympathetic to your worldview, but can competently counsel you with the sensitivity to see the world as you see it, with its unique challenges, obstacles, and experiences.
I have worked professionally with the LGBTQIA community in some aspect for the past 10 years and pride myself on being a counselor that is competent in creating treatment plans that are sensitive and understanding of the challenges you may face. You can trust that by working with me, your issues and concerns will not be looked into at face value, but instead looked at through the contextual lens which you experience daily. Aristotle wrote ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. This philosophy is one that I take to heart in each session, so that I can treat each individual holistically with the utmost care and understanding of the difficulties they face. If you are ready to take a positive step towards mental wellness with a therapist competent in understanding your experiences, don’t hesitate, call today! I am eager to help you in any way I can. Make an appointment today!
– Nobody understands me…
– They say they support my decision to be gay/lesbian, but this is not a decision. It is how I was made…- My parents are trying to be supportive, but they do not want me to tell anyone else in the family…
I venture to state if you are an adolescent, who happens to be gay/lesbian, you have made these or similar statements. Maybe you are feeling depressed or anxious, and you need someone to simply treat you with an unconditional, positive regard and without judgment. Perhaps anxiety is the problem or even trauma is the issue. I boldly make this statement, “Sexuality does not define the problem, and do not let the problem define you.”
I want you to know you are not alone with these feelings. I talk with adolescents experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or trauma. You may be blaming yourself for how you feel right now. Blaming yourself does not work, and together we can the face problems. Make an appointment today!