There is no question that cultural attitudes and actions are changing. Many people and institutions are now more inclusive toward those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. There is also no question that cultural attitudes and actions have room to improve before those in the LGBTQ community are fully embraced for who they are. As with many cultural moments, change and progress comes incrementally. While LGBTQ individuals have experienced several encouraging steps forward in the past few years regarding their rights culturally and legally, they also still face daily marginalization and discrimination. These barriers take their toll. Those in the LGBTQ community suffer from higher rates of depression, anxiety, relational tension, and addiction than most people. The LGBTQ community often still bears the burden of an untrue and unfair stigma.
Living in one’s truth—the reality of who you are—is one of the foundational principles of living an emotionally healthy life. People are most free when they are who they are—in their likes and dislikes, in their strengths and weaknesses, in their gender and sexuality. Thriveworks Manassas understands that many people are still not affirming of others’ truth, even other counselors and therapists. In 1973, the American Psychological Associated finally stopped labeling homosexuality a pathology—not that long ago. Many counselors and therapists still hold to this old bias. In fact, the “dual stigma” that the LGBTQ community faces in the mental health field is well known: its members have higher rates of mental health difficulties, but they also have a more difficult time finding an informed and affirming counselor.
The life coaches, counselors, and therapists at Thriveworks Manassas know that when people admit their truth to themselves and live their truth in their lives, their world often changes for the better. Admitting who you are emotionally, spiritually, physically, and sexually takes courage, and we are here to support you in your journey. Thriveworks Manassas offers LGBTQ informed therapy that is focused upon self-discover, acceptance, and safety. Our therapists and counselors are here for you.
LGBTQ Therapy: What Could It Look Like?
Every challenge in life has a context, and that context is very important when it is a mental health issue. Human beings are whole people. Their biology and sexuality are interconnected. Their psychological make-up factors into their social life. Their spirituality affects their physical health. People’s physicality, sexuality, and psychology are all contributing factors to who they are and what they experience. People in the LGBTQ community often feel this reality acutely. When certain people label one physicality, sexuality or psychology “normal,” anyone who does not fit within these expectations may suffer harassment, shame, discrimination, and more. The reality is, however, that anyone’s experiences are just as “normal” as anyone else’s.
Sexuality is not the only contributing factor to people’s identity, but it is important. Each person is unique and individual. There is no “normal,” but you are unlike anyone else. Your challenges are your challenges. Your opportunities are your opportunities. If you are ready to meet with a mental health professional, that time at Thriveworks Manassas would begin with establishing trust. The counselors at Thriveworks Manassas never see generic clients—they meet with you. Our professionals want to understand you and earn your trust.
The therapists at Thriveworks Manassas may ask exploratory questions and give their clients the opportunity to share about their experiences. For example, a therapy session may survey:
- What in your life is exciting now?
- How is your living situation?
- If you could, is there anything you would want to change about your life?
- Where do you want to be in a year? Five years? A decade?
- What brought you to the decision to meet with a counselor?
Counseling often involves self-discovery—learning about one’s own weaknesses and strengths, opportunities and challenges. People often discover or clarify what exactly they want from life, and they may implement practical steps to achieve their goals. For example, many people learn what they want from a romantic relationship and how to pass up unhealthy partners and pursue people with whom they connect well. Others learn how to hold to their truth while allowing their family and friends into their story.
The therapist’s job is often to make a space for you that is judgment-free and safe. Everyone needs a place where they can process life events and challenges without shame, and many find that counseling is that safe place where they can open up.
Topics that may arise in LGBTQ counseling:
- “Coming out” issues
- Dealing with discrimination and non-acceptance
- Family concerns
- 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
Appointments at Thriveworks Manassas for LGBTQ Informed Therapy
Think about what is going on in your life right now. Are you experiencing marginalization or discrimination? Are you feeling the stress of someone else’s definition of “normal”? The counselors at Thriveworks Manassas want you to know that we are sorry you are experiencing this negativity and that you are accepted here just as you are. You are not alone.
If you are ready to meet with a therapist or counselor, the staff at Thriveworks Manassas is ready to meet with you. When you call our office number, you may have your first appointment within 24 hours. Weekend and evening sessions are offers. We also work with many insurance companies to accept a variety of plans.
Contact Thriveworks Manassas today.