Happy pride month!
What a wonderful time to be alive to honor the LGBTQI+ community’s resilience, achievements, and ongoing struggle for equality. We at Gabby Cares, see you, hear you, and stand with you. We especially advocate for your mental health because we understand that sometimes it’s not easy to exist as yourself with pride and to navigate our society’s prejudice towards you.
Finding LGBTQI+ affirmative therapy can be a challenging task because there are still many barriers to accessing appropriate and supportive mental health for minorities like stigma, discrimination, geographical and cultural challenges, and lack of LGBTQI+ Affirming Therapists.
Some regions also have discriminatory laws or policies that can hinder access to appropriate mental health care for LGBTQI+ individuals. Access becomes even harder when LGBTQI+ individuals belong to multiple marginalized communities such as people of color (BIPOC), people with disabilities, or those with low socioeconomic status.
What is LGBTQI+ affirmative therapy?
This is therapy for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning/queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) whose aim is to provide an affirming, supportive, and safe space where individuals can explore their identities, navigate challenges and promote overall psychological well-being.
Are all therapists LGBTQI+ affirming?
Unfortunately, not every therapist is queer affirmative or accepting. Some also don’t have the necessary training, knowledge, or understanding of LGBTQI+ identities and experiences. Others hold personal, cultural, religious, and professional views that don’t align with queer individuals. It’s very important to ask a therapist upfront if they work with LGBTQI+ individuals because you deserve mental health care that is specifically tailored for you.
How can we, LGBTQI+ affirmative therapists, help you in therapy?
Identity Exploration and Affirmation. We can guide you through the coming out process, address internalized shame or stigma, and help you build a positive sense of self, self-acceptance, and self-compassion. All of this is done in a non judgemental space where your sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression are respected and honored.
Relationship, family support, and sexual concerns. We can help you as an individual or couple navigate relationship issues, communication challenges, intimacy, family dynamics, parenting, and other family-building processes. LGBTQ+ therapy can also help address sexual difficulties and concerns specific to same-sex or non-binary partnerships.
Mental health and well-being. As an LGBTQI+ individual you may experience unique mental health challenges and affirmative therapy provides a supportive environment to work through those issues and develop healthy coping strategies for better mental health.
Intersectionality. LGBTQ+ therapy acknowledges and addresses the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, ability, and other identities. It will help you explore how these intersections impact your experiences and mental health.
How will you know that a therapist is LGBQTI+ affirmative?
Remember that finding a queer-affirmative therapist is crucial for your well-being and growth. Take the time to research, ask questions, and connect with LGBTQI+ organizations or community resources for recommendations. Your mental health deserves compassionate and affirming support. During your first few sessions or consultation with a therapist, note the following:
Open and supportive communication. A queer affirmative therapist will openly communicate their understanding and support for LGBTQI+ identities and experiences. They will listen attentively, validate your concerns and you won’t feel judged.
Inclusive language. They will respect your gender identity, expression, or sexual orientation. They will use appropriate and preferred pronouns and ask for preferred names.
Experience and specialization. Ask about the therapist’s working experience with queer individuals and what specific issues they are knowledgeable about. This is something you do at the very beginning to avoid miscommunication down the line.
Check their website and social media pages. LGBTQI+ therapists will often state under their services that they provide affirmative therapy and they may also have posts on their pages with resources or support for queer people.
Positive referrals and reviews. Reach out to your LGBTQ+ friends, support groups, or community organizations for recommendations. They might have firsthand experience with therapists who are knowledgeable and supportive. This is one of the quickest ways to find an affirmative therapist.
Consider cultural competency. Look for therapists who are culturally competent and have experience working with different gender and sexual orientations, as well as various ethnic and racial backgrounds. A therapist who understands intersectionality will be better equipped to address the unique challenges you may face.
Follow your heart and trust your gut. Trust your instincts when meeting or speaking with potential therapists. You should feel comfortable, safe, and respected during therapy sessions. If something doesn't feel right, don't hesitate to explore other options.
Your mental health and well-being are of utmost importance. Don't settle for anything less than a therapist who understands, affirms, and supports your identity and experiences. Our team is here to support you through your journey. We have experienced and culturally competent therapists dedicated to helping LGBTQI+ individuals like you improve their mental well-being and lead fulfilling lives. We offer a wide range of therapy services, including individual therapy, couples therapy, and group therapy. Our therapists specialize in a variety of areas, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and relationship issues.
We believe that everyone deserves access to quality mental health care, which is why we offer flexible scheduling options and accept most insurance plans. We also offer teletherapy sessions for clients who prefer the convenience of online therapy.
Contact us today to schedule your first appointment and start your path to healing and growth.