At Thriveworks in Grand Rapids, we work with a diverse group of clients. One of the many populations we serve is the LGBT community. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community face a social stigma that can have significant impact on their lives, perceived sense of happiness and fulfillment, as well as feelings of isolation.
Homosexuality is not a mental illness, however, not all members of the society in which these individuals live have conformed to that fact. For this reason, it is important for these individuals to have a strong support system and well as the internal ‘tools’ to persevere and thrive through social stigma.
Some of the LGBT clients we serve at Thriveworks in Grand Rapids, Forest Hills come to us for the following reasons:
- Couples counseling
Address relationship concerns.
- Premarital counseling
With the June 2015 Supreme Court decision, we are seeing some clients to either fill a local court requirement for premarital counseling or are simply seeking it on their own as a way to strengthen their impending marriage.
- Conflicts between religious faith and homosexuality
This is a common concern of those in the LGBT community. Many individuals struggle with the conflict between what religion says about their lifestyle and their inability to change who they really are.
- Identity concerns
Some members of this community feel the social pressure to suppress who they are and, therefore, develop concerns about their identity. They wonder who they really are. They ask themselves, “What would the social or family consequences be if I began behaving as I really am?” Some individuals develop anxiety, depression or other issues because of this suppression of their true self.
- Workplace/school prejudice
- Victims of trauma or hate-crimes
You’re not alone in this journey. We can help you recover.
It is important to note again that homosexuality is not a mental illness. Therapy for LGBT individuals really focuses on the struggles that all people face, with the unfortunate added stressor of social stigma – which can be compounded in comparison to the everyday struggles the heterosexual population faces.
Effective therapists will not only be knowledgeable about the social struggles of this population, but also be able to provide some effective coping skills, as well as tools for managing healthy relationships.
We believe it is important for therapists to behave ethically and show respect for all clients who are seeking their help. It is also equally important for therapists to continually educate themselves on the most relevant treatment methods for diverse populations.
Clinicians who are skilled in these areas can have a great impact on the individuals in this community. Not only by providing a sense of acceptance and support, but also helping them develop the skills and internal dialogue needed to live happy, healthy lives, as well as thrive in relationships, work, school and society as a whole.
A qualified LGBT counselor is available at Thriveworks Counseling in Grand Rapids, Forest Hills. Call us today at 616-425-2176.