LGBTQ Sensitive Therapy in Columbia, SC—Counselors

There is no question, attitudes in the United States are changing to be more accepting of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning. There is also no question that there is more room to improve. As with most fights for human rights, change happens incrementally. Yes, major legal wins have delivered advancement for marriage equality. Yes, influential voices are using their soapbox to advocate for more inclusion and kindness. Yes, those in the LGBTQ community still face high rates of marginalization and discrimination. Yes, they are paying a mental health toll for this stigmatization as they face higher rates of addiction, anxiety, and depression.

“It takes no compromise to give people their rights…
it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk

Living in freedom—the freedom to be oneself—is the foundational of good emotional health. This includes the freedom to have one’s own likes and dislikes. This includes being honest about one’s weaknesses and strengths. This includes being true to one’s gender and sexuality. Those within the LGBTQ community face roadblocks that others do not. The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Columbia understand the many forms those obstacles can take, and we are ready to offer support and care for they journey toward self-acceptance and mental health.

LGBTQ Inclusive Therapy

Living one’s truth is critical, but that does not mean it is easy. Others are not always supportive of our truth. Sometimes, we are not even sure of our truth. One of the goals of any therapeutic relationship is safety. When people have a safe place where they can dream, question, speak, remember, and plan without judgment and without shame, then often, they often grow a strong sense of self. There are many positive changes that people experience when they feel this trust, kindness, truth, and self-acceptance, and those within the LGBTQ community need extra support for this process.

People who identify as LGBTQ still face an untrue and unfaith stigma that is nonetheless very real, and this stigma demands a psychological and emotional price. The stress of experience discrimination, harassment, and rejection at higher rates than others has real-life impact. Here is a glimpse into that impact:

  • While the substance abuse rate for those in the general population is 9 percent, the rate within the LGBTQ community is 30 percent.
  • People who identify as LGBTQ report experiencing on-going “minority stress” that results from experiencing more prejudice, denial of human rights, abuse, harassment, family rejection, and social exclusion.
  • LGBTQ youth, ages 10-24 experienced greater rates of hatred, bullying, fear, and prejudice within their schools and homes.
  • LGBTQ youth are also four times more likely to try and kill themselves than their straight or cis-gendered peers.
  • Those within the LGBTQ community experience mental illnesses such as major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder at rates that are three times higher than the general population.

As sobering as these statistics are, the LGBTQ community also faces a “dual stigma” within the mental health care field. Up until 1973, the American Psychological Associate labeled homosexuality as a pathology. The very mental health care that so many within the LGBTQ community needed was denied to because of an unacceptable bias. Even though the label has been officially overturned, many mental health care professionals are uninformed and un-affirming toward their clients who identify as LGBTQ.

The cultural and social context that people live in matters, and given this context, it is understandable that many people within the LGBTQ community have hesitated to reach out for help. However, times are changing. More and more, therapists and counselors are sensitive toward the unique circumstances that their LGBTQ clients face. More and more, LGBTQ people are reaching out for the mental health care they need.

What does it look like for therapists to offer LGBTQ informed care? The counselors at Thriveworks work hard to build trust with their clients. We know that everyone needs a safe place to be themselves, to speak their truth, to tell their story, and to be heard. Our therapists understand the harm that harassment, discrimination, and abuse causes. We honor our clients’ pain. We also honor our clients’ dreams. Many clients also need a safe place to dream and an ally to accomplish those dreams.

There is no formula, but many topics that arise in therapy include:

  • Dealing with discrimination and non-acceptance
  • “Coming out” issues
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Family concerns
  • Eating disorders
  • Dating and other relationships
  • Gender and sexual identity
  • Healthy communication
  • Depression
  • Transcending gender roles
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Safety concerns
  • Past trauma and abuse

Appointments for LGBTQ Informed Counseling at Thriveworks Columbia

Take a moment to think about what is going on in your life right now. If you are facing discrimination or family rejection or a mental health disorder or minority stress or any number of issues, know that you are not alone. The therapists are Thriveworks Columbia are ready to provide the mental health care you deserve. When you contact our office, know that a real person will answer the phone and help you make an appointment. We do not have an automated response system or a voicemail. New clients often have their first appointment within 24 hours. Weekend and evening sessions are offer. We also accept many forms of insurance. Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks Columbia today.

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From the moment I first walked through the doors, I have been treated with respect, and care. I feel so at eas...Read more

e with all the people I have met there. I cannot recommend this team of mental health care providers enough!

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I just wanted to say how much I appreciate Dr. Pena and her staff. I can't even begin to tell you how much she...Read more

has helped me. She will go out of her way to make me feel cared for and heard. The fact that she responds to texts and emails shows how much she cares and goes out of her way to make sure I'm ok. I've learned so much these past few months and I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you.

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I was ready to give up hope of ever healing from PTSD when I found Thriveworks. Patrick’s approach using CPT...Read more

worked when traditional counseling by several other therapists had failed. I really was beginning to believe PTSD was just something I’d have to learn to live with, but Patrick taught me how to work through my issues using the worksheets on my own. As a military spouse, my time with Patrick had a deadline as my husband’s service time at Fort Jackson came to a close. Patrick ensured that I took with me the tools to continue working through my issues long after leaving his office. I can’t thank him enough for changing my inner voice, and giving me the power to stop negative thoughts and process them in a healthy way. Patrick changed my life and after struggling for all of my adult life, I finally have the confidence to live without shame and understand my value. He has a deep understanding of the unique struggles military couples face, and worked tirelessly with my husband and me. Thank you, and Patrick, for teaching me how to save myself and my marriage.

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Thriveworks Counseling

Schedule your first appointment with a Thriveworks Counselor or Life Coach!

  • 2805 Millwood Ave.
    Columbia , SC 29205

  • Mon-Fri:8AM-9PM