In some ways, those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning community are enjoying greater freedom and acceptance than they have experienced in the past. Hard-fought legal victories for equality are making headway securing human rights for the LGBTQ+ community, in particular regarding the legalization of gay marriage. Cultural attitudes are changing too. Couples like Mitchell Pritchett and Cam Tucker have shown audiences what it is like to be a family built upon loved. Many other celebrities, like Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen, have used their platforms to focus cultural attitudes upon inclusion and kindness. These advances are substantial and should be celebrated, but they do not negate the significant challenges that the LGBTQ+ community still faces. Think for a moment about these dynamics:
- For youth ages 10-24 within the LGBTQ+ community, a major cause of death is suicide.
- LGBTQ+ youth experience more prejudice, fear, bullying, and hatred than their cis-gendered and straight peers.
- Those within the LGBTQ+ community struggle with mental health disorders (such as generalized anxiety disorder or major depressive disorder) at rates that are three times higher than other populations.
- “Minority stress” is often a daily struggle for those within the LGBTQ+ community, and this stress is rooted in family rejection, prejudice, social exclusion, harassment, and abuse.
- While the general population struggles with substance abuse at a rate of 9 percent, the substance abuse rate in the LGBTQ+ community is 30 percent.
The discrimination and marginalization that those in the LGBTQ+ community face exact a significant toll. Finding mental health care can also be a challenge because the mental health care community can mirror the culture: Some therapists are inclusive and affirming and others are not. The counselors and therapists at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO want to be a part of the solution and offer healing. Our therapists provide informed and sensitive counseling that accounts for the particular needs that those in the LGBTQ+ community may face.
“You can argue that it’s a different world now than the one when Matthew Shepard was killed, but there is a subtle difference between tolerance and acceptance. … It’s the chasm between being invited to a colleague’s wedding with your same-sex partner and being able to slow-dance without the other guests whispering.”
― Jodi Picoult, Sing You Home
The Dual Stigma
As recently as the 1970s, homosexuality was officially labeled as a pathological disorder. Because the mental health industry has historically been a contributor to the stigmatization of those in the LGBTQ+ community, it is understandable that many within that community are skeptical of the mental health profession. Even though homosexuality is no longer officially pathologized, many within the industry are lagging behind in providing the kind of mental health care those in the LGBTQ+ community need. Thus, the LGBTQ+ community as a whole experiences higher rates of mental disorders, but they also have more difficulty finding a therapist who can help them. This experience is so common that it has a name: the dual stigma. When members of the LGBTQ+ community experience depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and more, it is understandable that they may be hesitant to reach out for help.
Many in the mental health community, however, are working to erase the dual stigma. The informed and sensitive care at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO is tailored to the unique needs of those within the LGBTQ+ community. Many within the LGBTQ+ community are receiving the care they need.
LGBTQ+ Therapy That Is Sensitive and Affirmative
At Thriveworks in Littleton, CO, we offer unique and personalized care. Each individual faces particular circumstances, but often LGBTQ+ affirmative counseling can help clients work through topics like:
- How and when to come out
- Dealing with discrimination and non-acceptance
- Healthy communication
- Dating and other relationships
- Gender and sexual identity
- Transcending gender roles
- Eating disorders
- Anxiety and stress
- Family concerns
- Self-esteem issues
- Safety concerns
- Past trauma and abuse
The mental health professionals at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO understand that any therapeutic relationship is founded upon trust. Everyone needs a place where they can speak freely, be heard, experience empathy, and have their stories validated. As trust between a counselor and client grows, therapy can become that safe place where people can go deep and address questions like the following:
- What are your living circumstances like? Do you feel safe there?
- Where do you about for your life, professionally and personally?
- What energizes and excites you?
- How did you come to the decision to start therapy?
- If you could change something about your circumstances, what would it be?
- What are your relationships like? With your significant other? Family? Friends?
The stereotype of therapy is often of a person sitting on a sofa, recounting every terrible thing that has happened in their life while a therapist scribbles notes. Of course, people work through difficulties in therapy, but this is only half of the story. The goal of therapy is to allow people to thrive. It is a safe space to dream and then go after those dreams. This involves naming challenges, but it also involves so much more.
Make an Appointment for LGBTQ+ Affirming Therapy at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO
If you are ready to meet with a therapist, know that the professionals at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO are ready to meet with you. We have appointments available, sometimes as early as 24-48 hours after your booking. When you contact our office, a scheduling specialist will answer your call and help you make an appointment. We offer weekend and evening sessions, in-person and online counseling. We also accept many forms of health insurance. Call Thriveworks in Littleton, CO today.