LGBTQ+ Affirming Therapy
People who identify within the LGBTQ+ community come to therapy for many of the same reasons as heterosexual or cisgender people do. Depression, anxiety, trauma and other psychological concerns don’t discriminate based on gender identity, sexual orientation or sexual expression. However, for some within the LGBTQ+ community, their therapeutic needs are intricately intertwined with their identity. Regardless of your reason for seeking therapy, it is important that anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ connects with a therapist who provides LGBTQ+ affirming therapy.
Whether it is tied to the reason you are seeking treatment or not, a person’s identity is an integral part of the therapeutic process. You need to know that the person you are sharing the most intimate parts of your life with has the skill and ability to contextualize your experience within the unique set of circumstances that LGBTQ+ individuals must navigate as they move through the world.
The Positivity of Affirmation
Aspects of our identity can be filtered through a society that can sometimes be oppressive and the subsequent implications can be revealed in therapy. This can be overtly expressed at the time when therapy is sought out, it can reveal itself anytime throughout treatment, or it can be something you never want to address. However, the implications of being exposed to oppression can be infused into how we are equipped to manage stress, our sense of self, the worries and fears we hold, or in how we confront the life transitions we face.
Oppression and undue influence of societal norms on the LGBTQ+ community can be extremely visible. They can also be incremental in their scope, gradually affecting how we view ourselves as equal and empowered people in society. From coming out, to LGBTQ+ specific relationship issues, to affirming our identity and sense of self, to discrimination, to family or religious concerns, to elements of power, control and agency, to LGBTQ+ oriented causes for isolation and loneliness, to a lack of validation surrounding how someone identifies, to accessing freedom of self-expression, there are innumerable issues within the LGBTQ+ community that require a competent therapist.
Your Experience is Valuable
It is important that I am responsive to both what you express you need in therapy, while at the same time, possessing a sensibility toward how sexual orientation, gender identity or sexual expression can impact what you are exploring throughout the therapeutic work.
We can work directly on how you do or don’t identify and how this influences your confidence in other areas of your life. We can focus on issues such as self-esteem and self-image and how community/societal norms and pressures can influence how you view yourself. We can address family, religious, environmental or romantic conflicts that are interconnected with your identity. We can explore any desires you have to change how you identify: both to yourself, as well as to others. You can rest assured that if you do not conform or identify within the constructs that have been established in society/the community, that there is the space for you to exist as you are in therapy; embraced and accepted.
You Take the Lead
We can address how seemingly mundane aspects of one’s life – work, family, relationships, sex, where you live, or any other “ordinary” activity - is affected by your sexual orientation, gender identity or sexual expression. We can focus on areas of your life that challenge you that may seem separate from your sexual orientation, gender identity or sexual expression, with the knowledge that if we uncover ways in which these parts of yourself do come to intersect, we can move fluidly through exploring what this means to you and how it makes you feel.
We can work from an understanding that I know your community, so you don’t have to spend your time educating your therapist. We can pursue therapy, never touching upon how you identify. I take your lead. It is just important that you know you are working with a therapist who will validate your experience if and when it is needed. My goal as your therapist, no matter how you identify, is to foster a deep sense of acceptance and trust, as well as honest, open dialogue, around the issues that matter to you. I have extensive experience working with transgender folks, gender non-conforming individuals, gay men and lesbians. A portion of my work history was working at the LGBT Center in NYC. If you feel that I might be a good match for you, I invite you to schedule a time to connect with me to talk further.