Without a doubt, the culture is shifting toward being more inclusive of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer, but also without a doubt, there are many challenges that the LGBTQ community faces. Progress often comes with two steps forward, one step backward. Great gains have been made legally and culturally, and yet, many LGBTQ individuals face discrimination and marginalization on a daily basis. Rates of anxiety, addiction, depression, and relational difficulties are often higher within the LGBTQ community as many still bear the weight of an unfair and untrue social stigma.
One important principle of mental health is living in one’s truth. It is vital for people to be who they are, especially regarding their sexuality and gender. At Thriveworks Charlotte, we understand that not all therapists are inclusive and affirming. It was only in 1973 that the American Psychological Association stopped pathologizing homosexuality. Some call it a “dual stigma”—members of the LGBTQ community face many mental health challenges, but they may also have difficulty finding a therapist who is affirming and informed.
The therapists, counselors, and life coaches at Thriveworks Charlotte understand that one of the most powerful changes people can make within their lives is acknowledging who they are to themselves and to the world. This means being honest about what they like and dislike, about how they are strong and weak, where they experience happiness and discontent, and of course, about who they are—emotionally, physically, spiritually, and sexually.
Living life with honesty takes courage and probably a little support along the way. That is why Thriveworks Charlotte offers LGBTQ informed therapy. No one should have to navigate issues regarding their sexuality and their mental health alone. We are here for you.
What Could LGBTQ Therapy Look Like?
The mental health professionals at Thriveworks Charlotte try to address life’s issues within their proper context. People are whole beings. Their sexuality is not separate from their biology. Their psychological well-being is not separate from their social life. Their physical health is not separate from their spirituality. Yes, who people are sexually, physically, psychologically, and socially are interconnected. This reality is true for everyone, but people who identify as LGBTQ may feel this more sharply. When cultures label one lifestyle “normal,” those who do not fit the mold often feel the weight of these expectations, even though their experiences are just as normal as anyone else’s.
While sexuality is not the entirety of who people are, it is a major factor in forming one’s identity—what makes you who you are. You are a unique individual. Your story is unlike anyone else’s. The challenges you face are your challenges. The opportunities you have are your opportunities. When you begin therapy at Thriveworks Charlotte, your time will likely begin by building trust as you get to know your counselor, and your counselor gets to know you too. You may discuss what brought you to schedule therapy. Therapist may ask questions such as…
- What is exciting in your life right now?
- What is your living situation like?
- Is there something about your life you would change if you could?
- Where do you see yourself in a year? Three years? Five? More?
- How did you come to decision to seek out a counselor?
Many cultural representations of therapy focus upon problems and difficulties and shortcomings. While hardships are real, therapy is much more focused upon the positive. What are your strengths? Where do you feel comfortable? What opportunities do you want to pursue and how can you do that? Many times, people need to learn relational and emotional skills that help them succeed in achieving what they want out of life.
Therapy is often a process of self-discovering, where you can learn about your strengths and weaknesses and where you can learn what you need and how to get it. For example, what would it look like to pursue a romantic relationship that is satisfying and healthy for you? What would it look like to let loved ones know your truth?
Counseling sessions often focus upon creating a judgment-free, safe space where these issues can be explored without shame. In therapy, clients often feel free to speak openly and honestly—to name and explore ideas they otherwise would not dare discuss.
Topics that come up in LGBTQ therapy:
- “Coming out” issues
- Family concerns
- Dealing with discrimination and non-acceptance
- Healthy communication
- Self-esteem issues
- Transcending gender roles
- Gender and sexual identity
- Dating and other relationships
- Eating disorders
- Anxiety and stress
- Past trauma and abuse
Scheduling an Appointment at Thriveworks Charlotte
What is happening in your life right now? If you are facing discrimination or marginalization, know that we are sorry for what you are experiencing. There is no shame in who you are. If you are navigating additional difficulties because of your sexuality and who you are, know that you are not alone. The professionals at Thriveworks Charlotte are ready to stand with you and for you.
When you contact our office, a person will answer. Our scheduling specialists will help you schedule an appointment. Many new clients have their first appointment within 24 hours of their first call. We also accept many forms of insurance as well as offer evening and weekend appointments.
Let’s work together for more acceptance and inclusion. Contact Thriveworks Charlotte today.