Wouldn’t it be a relief to be able to be yourself?
It’s possible to begin to heal from past negative experiences and learn to cope better with the issues that being under the stress of stigma, discrimination, or prejudice cause. It begins with acknowledging these experiences of being an LGBTQ+ individual and finding a safe, empathetic, and affirming environment in which to talk about who you are.
Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (or questioning) individuals seek counseling for reasons similar to non-LGBTQ+ individuals (i.e., depression, anxiety, stress, etc). And while some issues have little to do with sexuality, gender, or identity, the LGBTQ+ community does have their own set of unique challenges as well.
Stigma and discrimination, which LGBTQ+ individuals often face on a regular basis from society, family members, peers, and co-workers contributes to the higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues seen amongst LGBTQ+.
Discrimination may take different forms including social rejection, verbal and physical bullying. Repeated instances will likely lead to chronic stress and diminished mental health. Perceived discrimination —the expectation of discrimination—may also lead to mental health issues.
Some LGBTQ+ individuals go through periods of questioning their sexual identity, which can cause confusion and stress. Also pertinent to the LGBTQ+ community and sexual identity issues is the “coming out” process and coping with the reactions of friends and family.
You may be dealing with societal discrimination, prejudice, or feeling flawed, unworthy, or isolated. Maybe you’re in the process of coming out and/or negotiating family relationships and feeling lost or alone in handling these stressors.
You’ve probably gotten really good at reading situations to determine how much you can safely be yourself. This skill can be adaptive, but it can come at a cost because it was developed in response to being subjected to persistent prejudice and discrimination.
As a gay male therapist, I work with individuals who are experiencing anxiety, depression, stress, and other symptoms of living under the pressure of a society that is often unaccepting of the LGBTQ+ community.
I use an affirmative therapy approach to LGBTQ+ counseling. I focus on the empowerment of LGBTQ+ individuals in all areas of life and relationships. I work with you from an affirmative approach to honor the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals and help you navigate these challenges in an effective way.