Without a doubt, American attitudes and actions regarding people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning are changing for the better. Without a doubt, American attitudes and actions regarding people who identify as LGBTQ also has room for improvement. As with many types of social change, cultures often take two steps forward and then one step back. Yes, those in the LGBTQ community have experience significant gains in establishing their human rights. Culturally and legally, however, they still face many forms of discrimination and marginalization. These abuses take a steep toll. Studies have shown that members of the LGBTQ community suffer higher rates of mental health challenges such as anxiety, addiction, and depression than others. Many unfair and untrue stigmas still plague the LGBTQ community.
“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
Experiencing the freedom to be oneself—live in one’s truth—is the bedrock of emotional health. This means being honest with oneself about likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, sexuality and gender, and more. On their path toward emotional health, there are significant roadblocks that people who identify as LGBTQ may face that others will not. The counselors and therapists at Thriveworks Virginia Beach understand these obstacles and are ready to offer care and support. We understand that living one’s truth is important, but it can also be scary. When people live their story, others are not always supportive, even therapists and counselors.
At Thriveworks Virginia Beach, our staff’s goal is to build a therapeutic relationship built upon safety and trust, where each client can live their truth and be who they are. We have seen the positive change that can result from trust, truth, kindness, and acceptance.
LGBTQ Sensitive Therapy
The stigma that many people in the LGBTQ community face take an emotional and psychological toll. The stress of facing harassment, discrimination, rejection, and more has repercussions. The statistics tell the story:
- Approximately 30 percent of people in the LGBTQ community struggle with substance abuse. Within the general population, 9 percent struggle.
- LGBTQ individuals are three times more likely to have a mental illness like major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder than those who do not identify as LGBTQ.
- LGBTQ youth, ages 10-24 are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers.
- “Minority stress” plagues many in the LGBTQ community as they experience more harassment, prejudice, social exclusion, denial of human rights, family rejection, and abuse than the general population.
- LGBTQ youth frequently experience bullying, hatred, fear, and prejudice in both their homes and schools.
These statistics are sobering, but there is more. The American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its list of pathologies in 1973. That means, as recently as the 1970s, many people were pathologized for simply being themselves—a shame upon the mental health community. Many therapists and counselors today are still uninformed and insensitive, and thus, the LGBTQ community faces a “dual stigma.” It faces these severe mental health challenges with the added difficulty of finding a therapist who is informed, affirming, and sensitive.
The context of people’s problems matter, and this the context that many LGBTQ individuals face. Is there any wonder many are hesitant to reach out for help? At Thriveworks Virginia Beach, we understand the fear, and we would like to change these difficult realities. We offer therapy that is sensitive to the challenges that LGBTQ people may face. What does that mean?
The therapeutic relationship must be built upon trust. Everyone needs a place where they can tell their story and be honest about what is happening in their lives. When clients say they are facing harassment or discrimination, that abuse cannot be minimized. Instead, our therapists work hard to listen well and build trust so that clients can speak their experiences.
This also involves a positive element. A safe space often means clients can dream and explore and hope. They may set goals and achieve personal and professional goals they never thought possible.
Issues that frequently arise in LGBTQ sensitive counseling:
- Dealing with discrimination and non-acceptance
- “Coming out” issues
- Anxiety and stress
- Family concerns
- Dating and other relationships
- Eating disorders
- Healthy communication
- Self-esteem issues
- Transcending gender roles
- Safety concerns
- Gender and sexual identity
- Past trauma and abuse
Scheduling an Appointment for LGBTQ Informed Therapy at Thriveworks Virginia Beach
Then about what is happening in your life at this time. Are you facing marginalization or discrimination? Are the effects of stress taking their toll? If you are, know that the staff at Thriveworks Virginia Beach is sorry you have experienced such abuse. If you are ready to meet with a therapist or counselor, but you are concerned that you will be treated with respect, know that we understand your fear. The professionals at Thriveworks Virginia Beach are working hard to earn your trust and give you the safety you need to heal and to live your truth.
When you contact our office, we hope you feel supported from the time you dial our number. When you call, you may have your first appointment within 24 hours. A real person will answer and help schedule your session. Weekend and evening appointments are available. We also accept many insurance plans.
You are worthy of love and respect and acceptance. Call Thriveworks Virginia Beach today.