The Olympics are usually a cultural phenomenon that promotes understanding and kindness, but the 2018 athletes who represented the USA took their mission to new heights. Two openly gay athletes competed, and Adam Rippon became the first openly gay man to win a medal at the winter Olympics. Adam and his good friend, Gus Kenworthy, were outspoken about the challenges of being a gay athlete and the need for more acceptance. Their voices are some of the highlights of recent advancements for the legal and cultural rights of those identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning. It is important to acknowledge the value of legal battles such as the legalization of gay marriage, but it is also important to acknowledge that more work is needed. LGBTQ individual continue to face marginalization and discrimination. They pay a steep mental health toll for inequality, and they suffer higher rates of mental health disorders because of it. Therapy that is informed and sensitive to the LGBTQ community’s particular needs is often an important part of healing.
“It pushed me to this place where I needed to come out and I’m so happy that I did. To take that step meant a lot for me and for my mental well-being.”
A foundation of mental health is the importance of living one’s truth. People need to be known and accepted for who they are in every aspect of their identity. Living one’s truth often begins with self-acceptance, but the mental health field has not always offered this basic level of care to those in the LGBTQ community. The American Psychological Association used to pathologize homosexuality, and it only changed its position in 1973. Even though the definition was changed, attitudes did not always change. There are many therapists who do not offer LGBTQ individuals the care they deserve and need.
The mental health professionals at Thriveworks Chesapeake understand that their clients need to live their truth. Our life coaches, counselors, and therapists are sensitive to the unique challenges that individuals who identify as LGBTQ face, and we are committing to offering care that meets their needs.
What Does LGBTQ Competent Therapy Look Like?
People’s whole lives are important. Their physicality, intellect, emotions, spirituality, and sexuality are all facets of their identity, and they are all intertwined. People’s emotional life is connected to their sexuality. Their physical health is tied to their emotional health. Psychological health means all aspects of a person’s being are integrated, and yet, many people in the LGBTQ community are asked to separate their identity in a way that is harmful to themselves. That is why it is so important for mental health care to be personalized and also aware of unique challenges that those within the LGBTQ community may be facing.
LGBTQ competent therapy is first and foremost individualized. Every person is unique with their own experiences, challenges, and opportunities. Each professional at Thriveworks Chesapeake works hard to build trust with their clients. As a therapist and client grow to trust each other, people are often able to go deeper and deeper into their story. That means healing can go deeper and deeper as well. In order to establish that trust, therapists may ask questions like…
- How did you decide to start therapy?
- How is your living situation? Is it safe?
- Is there were one thing you could change about your life, what would it be?
- What are some of the exciting things happening in your life?
- What do you want to be doing in a year? Five years? Ten? More?
Therapy is often about healing past wounds, but it is also about helping people create a happy life now. When people feel safe, they can speak openly about their fears, traumas, and challenges, but they can also speak openly about their hopes, loves, and opportunities. Therapy is often just as much about achieving dreams as it is about anything else. For some people, that looks like setting themselves up for a successful romantic relationship. For others, it looks like coming out to family and friends. There is no agenda or right path forward. Each client sets the trajectory and pace.
When trust is established and individualized care is offered, topics often arise that are unique to those in the LGBTQ community. The therapists at Thriveworks Chesapeake are committed to handling these topics with the care they deserve. A few examples include…
- Coming out issues
- Dealing with discrimination and non-acceptance
- Family concerns
- Past trauma and abuse
- Healthy communication
- Self-esteem issues
- Transcending gender roles
- Gender and sexual identity
- Dating and other relationships
- Eating disorders
- Addiction, Anxiety and stress
Appointments for LGBTQ Competent Therapy at Thriveworks Chesapeake
When you think about your life right now, are you ready to meet with a mental health professional? If you are, the therapists at Thriveworks Chesapeake are ready too. We offer LGBTQ sensitive therapy and we have appointments available. When you contact our office, you may be meeting with your counselor the following day. A scheduling specialist will answer your call and help you make an appointment. We do not have a voicemail, and we do not keep a waitlist. We do offer evening and weekend sessions. We also work with many difference insurance companies and accept many different insurance plans.
Let’s work together for your mental health. Call Thriveworks Chesapeake today.