Therapy for Westminster’s LGBTQ Community—Counselors
Within recent years, the LGBTQ community has benefitted from many cultural and legal shifts that promote inclusion and acceptance. The 2018 Olympics have been just one of many examples. For the first time in history, an openly gay man won a medal at the winter Olympics. Figure skater Adam Rippon used his medal and his platform to promote understanding and awareness. Many in the US were cheering Adam’s efforts, both on and off the ice. Hard fought legal battles for marriage equality have also prompted significant changes. TV shows such as Modern Family and Will and Grace have brought many of the challenges that those who identify as LGBTQ face to the forefront of people’s attention with winsome humor. As valuable as these legal and cultural advances are, there is still more to accomplish. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning community still faces unacceptable discrimination and marginalization. Consider these facts:
- Many in the LGBTQ community live with constant “minority stress”—a heightened anxiety and stress level that results from experiencing abuse, family rejection, prejudice, social exclusion, and harassment.
- Those within the LGBTQ community are diagnosed with mental illnesses (like PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder) at rates that are three times higher than the straight and cis-gendered population.
- LGBTQ youth (ages 10-24) experience increased rates of hatred, bullying, and prejudice within their school and homes (as compared to their peers).
- A leading cause of death for LGBTQ youth is suicide.
- Thirty percent of those who identify at LGBTQ struggling with substance abuse while only 9 percent of the general population does.
Clearly, there is more work to be done so that LGBTQ individuals are known and accepted for who they are. The therapists, life coaches, and counselors at Thriveworks Westminster hope to contribute to that work. We offer LGBTQ competent mental health care and acknowledges and supports the unique burdens that our LGBTQ clients face.
Why LGBTQ Competent Counseling?
The mental health field has a history of poor and even abusive treatment offered to those in the LGBTQ community. The American Psychological Association used to pathologize homosexuality, and although it changed this position in 1973, many of the attitudes that support it lingered. In many ways, the mental health care field is like the general population: some therapists are affirming and others are not. This means that the LGBTQ community experiences higher rates of mental illness, but they have more difficulty finding mental health care. Many people call this “The Dual Stigma.” It is a significant problem, but many in the mental health field and within the LGBTQ community are working for change. More and more, therapists are offering LGBTQ competent care. Here are a few tips for seeking out a counselor:
- During your first appointment, if you trust your therapist, let them know that LGBTQ competent therapy is important to you.
- Ask about their experiences working with LGBTQ clients and request examples.
- As you are comfortable, reveal any information you want to about your own gender and sexual identity.
- As you are comfortable, speak about any mental health problems you are experiencing.
- LGBTQ competent therapy may allow people to work through topics such as:
- Gender and sexual identity
- Safety concerns
- Healthy communication
- Dating and other relationships
- Dealing with discrimination and non-acceptance
- How and when to come out
- Family concerns
- Eating disorders
- Self-esteem issues
- Anxiety and stress
- Transcending gender roles
- Past trauma and abuse
The Therapeutic Relationship and Trust
The professionals at Thriveworks Westminster understand the dual stigma that their LGBTQ clients are experiencing, and we work hard to close the gap between the care they need and the care they receive. We strive to offer each individual the personalized care they deserve and to build trust with each client. Everybody need a safe space where they are known—safety and trust are the bedrocks of a therapeutic relationship. As trust is built and safety is established, therapists and clients can go deep. A few areas therapists and clients may explore together are…
- How you came to the decision to start therapy?
- What energizes and excites you?
- How are your relationships? Married? Dating? Friends? Family?
- Where are you living? How are the conditions? Are you safe?
- What is happening in your career? What do you want to achieve professionally?
- If there were one thing you could change in your life, what would it be?
- Where do you see yourself in a year…two years…five years?
Setting Up an Appointment at Thriveworks Westminster for LGBTQ Informed Counseling
Think for a moment about what is happening in your life right now. What is going on? What would it be like to have help? If you would like an ally, Thriveworks Westminster is ready to meet with you. We offer LGBTQ informed therapy, and we have appointments available. When you call our office, a real person will answer your call and help you make an appointment. We do not keep a waitlist, and we do not have a voicemail. New clients, however, often meet with their counselor within 24 hours of their call to schedule an appointment. We offer evening and weekend sessions. We also work with many insurance providers and accept many different insurance plans.
Your mental health is important. Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks Westminster today.