American culture is unquestioningly shifting toward inclusivity of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. Think about the attitude shifts that many celebrities have helped facilitate. Ellen brings sensitivity and kindness into many people’s homes every day. Will and Grace tackle LGBTQ challenges with endearing humor. Cam Tucker and Mitchell Pritchett portray a loving, honest couple, doing their best to raise their daughter. Think about the big legal wins that have been won for equality—in particular, marriage equality. However, as with any social progress, with every two steps forward, there is almost always a step backward. Many in the LGBTQ community still have daily marginalization and discrimination. Here are a few sobering statistics:
- People who identify as LGBTQ are three times as likely than others to have a major mental health condition like generalized anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder.
- Many people in the LGBTQ report dealing with “minority stress,” because of how they are treated differently than the majority population. Such treatment may include harassment, social exclusion, prejudice, denial of human rights, abuse, and family rejection.
- While about 9 percent of the general population experiences substance abuse, as many as 30 percent of the LGBTQ communities does.
- LGBTQ youth often face bullying, fear, hatred, and prejudice in their schools and homes.
Unfair and untrue social stigma still persist, and many in the LGBTQ community are suffering under their weight. The counselors, therapists, and life coaches at Thriveworks Alexandria, VA (Franconia) are sensitive and understanding of what their clients who identify as LGBTQ may be facing. Our professionals see each client for the individual who they are. We see their preferences, their strengths and weakness, their experiences, their challenges and opportunities. We know that that who they are physical, emotionally, and sexually matters, and we have helped many clients live in their truth.
What Is LGBTQ Sensitive Therapy?
Prioritizing one’s mental health often means prioritizing one’s truth and experiences. People need to be who they are, but it was just in the 1970s that the American Psychological Association stopped labeling homosexuality as a pathology. That is to say, as recently as the 1970s, the mental health field pathologized people for being who they are. It is a shame and stigma on the mental health community, and unfortunately, many therapists and counselors have still not come out of these antiquated and harmful labels. This dynamic has created a “dual stigma” for the LGBTQ community wherein they face greater mental health challenges, but they also have more difficulty finding a mental health professional who is sensitive to the unique issues they may face.
The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Alexandria understand the dual stigma. That is one of the reasons we offer sensitive and informed care to our clients who identify as LGBTQ. We know that every challenge has a context, and many in the LGBTQ community face a hostile and even abusive context. We work hard to build trust within the therapeutic relationship. Everyone needs a safe place. Everyone need somewhere to express their reality without being shamed. Your challenges are your challenges, and they should never be minimized.
This trust is often established as therapists and counselors listen. The beginning of a therapeutic relationship is often focused upon understanding. Therapists may inquire about…
- What excites and energizes you?
- The circumstances that brought you to counseling.
- Are you in a relationship? Married? Dating?
- How is your living situation?
- Whether there is something you would like to change in your life.
- Where you would like to be personally or professionally in a year…three years…five years?
When most people think of therapy, they may think about a person lying on a sofa, telling a stranger all their problems, setbacks, and shortcomings. Without a doubt, as has already be acknowledged, life’s difficulties are real and need to be processed, but therapy rarely focuses exclusively on the problem. It is often a much more positive process. Many times, people become more in touch with what they want in their personal and professional lives, and then they may learn how to achieve those goals.
LGBTQ sensitive therapy often addresses issues such as:
- How and when to come out
- Safety concerns
- Dealing with discrimination and non-acceptance
- Family concerns
- Healthy communication
- Dating and other relationships
- Gender and sexual identity
- Eating disorders
- Transcending gender roles
- Anxiety and stress
- Self-esteem issues
- Past trauma and abuse
Setting Up an Appointment at Thriveworks Alexandria for LGBTQ Therapy
Take a moment to consider what is going on in your life. Know that if you are experiencing discrimination, abuse, or marginalization because of who you are, we are sorry for what you are facing, and we are ready to stand by you. You do not have to navigate these challenges alone. The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Alexandria, VA (Franconia) are able and ready to give their support.
If you are ready to meet with a therapist who understands the myriad of challenges you are facing as an individual who identifies as LGBTQ, then, our therapists are ready to meet with you. When you call our office, a real person will answer (not an automated response). Your first appointment may be within 24 hours. There is no waitlist. We know you have a busy life, so we offer weekend and evening session. We also accept many forms of insurance.
You are worthy of inclusion and acceptance. Call Thriveworks Alexandria today.