What is LGBTQ+ Counseling?
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.