At the 2018 Olympics, team USA represented their country in ways it had never done previously. Two openly gay athletes competed, and Adam Ripon became the first openly gay man to win a medal at the winter Olympics. Many cheered him on the ice and off as he openly spoke about his experiences and about the importance of acceptance. More and more, cultural and legal battles are making equality a greater reality for those within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning community. And yet, there is so much more work to do. Those within the LGBTQ community still live with unacceptable stigmas and challenges. Consider these realities:
- LGBTQ youth, ages 10-24, face more prejudice, bullying, fear, and hatred than their straight and cis-gendered peers.
- A leading cause of death for LGBTQ youth is suicide.
- People who identify as LGBTQ have higher rates of mental health disorders (for example, Major Depressive Disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder) than others.
- The general population’s substance abuse rate is 9 percent. The substance abuse rate among LGBTQ people is 30 percent.
- Many within the LGBTQ community experience daily “minority stress” as a result of experience higher rates of social exclusion, family rejection, harassment, prejudice, and abuse.
Marginalization and discrimination demands a high cost. The toll they take on an individual’s mental health is unacceptable, but the challenge goes even deeper. Many LGBTQ individuals have difficulty finding accepting and understanding mental health care because therapists are like the general population: some are understanding and includes while others are not.
“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
Thriveworks North Little Rock offers accepting and understanding therapy to our clients who are a part of the LGBTQ community. Our therapists understand the unique challenges they have, and we offer personalized care.
The Double Stigma
Much to its embarrassment, the mental health profession labeled homosexuality as a pathology until the 1970s. Even though the official definition has changed, cultural attitudes among therapists have lagged behind. Those within the LGBTQ community may understandably be skeptical of mental health care professionals. This is what many within the LGBTQ community and the mental health community call the double stigma: those who need mental health care the most may have a more difficult time finding the therapy they need.
Many, however, are working hard to close the gap between the need for and the access to quality mental health care. Therapists and leaders within the LGBTQ community are raising awareness. Thriveworks Maumelle aims to be a part of this positive movement. We offer sensitive and informed mental health care that accounts for unique needs that those in the LGBTQ community have.
Sensitive and Affirmative Therapy
Thriveworks Maumelle offers personalized and holistic care. Each individual has unique experiences, strengths, weaknesses, traumas, opportunities, desires, quirks, and more. Our therapists also know that whatever their clients are facing, they need a safe space. Everyone needs a place where they can be themselves. Living your truth and experiencing acceptance is powerful. Everyone needs to be able to name their reality and be affirmed in their truth. While therapists do not force an agenda for any client, certain themes often naturally arise within therapy for LGBTQ clients. For example, when they feel safe and trust has been established with their therapist, clients often work through issues such as…
- 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
- Anxiety and stress
- Eating disorders
- Family concerns
- Self-esteem issues
- Past trauma and abuse
- Safety concerns
Thriveworks Maumelle understands that the foundation of any therapeutic relationship is trust. As therapists provide they are trustworthy, clients often free more freedom to share more and more of themselves. As clients share more of themselves, therapists are often able to guide them toward deeper healing. To establish trust, therapists often ask questions such as…
- What are your relationships like? With your significant other? Family? Friends?
- What are your living circumstances like? Do you feel safe there?
- What energizes and excited you?
- Where do you about for your life, professionally and personally?
- How did you come to the decision to start therapy?
- If you could change something about your circumstances, what would it be?
Therapy often addresses emotional and psychological wounds, builds up strategies for healing, and teaching coping skills. However, there is another side of mental health care: a positive side. Counselors often work with their clients to develop a clear vision of their identity, their dreams, and their hopes. Counseling is also about building the life people want and establishing the support structures they need to maintain that life.
LGBTQ Inclusive Counseling at Thriveworks Maumelle
Do you identify as LGBTQ and are you ready to start therapy? If so, know that the counselors at Thriveworks Maumelle are ready to work with you too. When you call our office, you may have your first appointment the following day. We also offer evening and weekend sessions. Many forms of insurance are accepted. Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks Maumelle today.