LGBTQIA+ therapy is mental health therapy that is not only supportive of but created purposefully for the LGBTQIA+ community. Sometimes, it is also called LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy. There are many different things that inform the need for LGBTQIA+ therapy. Here are some possible reasons a person may choose to seek LGBTQIA+ therapy or LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy:
LGBTQIA+ therapy is vital because it is more likely to truly and genuinely be a safe space. The trauma from seeing uninformed providers can make it tough to reach out, which can contribute to an increase in or the worsening of mental health problems. Many LGBTQIA+ people have faced discrimination or missteps due to a lack of understanding, some of which are dangerous and even life-threatening, in the medical or mental health care system. LGBTQIA+ therapy is informed care and is a space specifically made for people in this population, making for better, more effective care. It means that people are able to access the care they need.
Of course, medical and mental health settings aren’t the only place a person might experience homophobic or transphobia. As a result, it can be hard to trust people who may not have a deep understanding of your community. You want to believe that people will accept you, but for many people, there’s a very real risk that you’ll encounter someone who won’t. It’s important that you’re able to be honest with a therapist, and although you can always move at your own pace in terms of what you decide to share, it’s vital that you experience safety and positive regard in therapy. When you see an LGBTQIA+ therapist who makes it known that they welcome you as a whole person, you might find that your body and mind relax. It’s hard to be on guard all of the time, but unfortunately, this is a common experience among LGBTQIA+ people, hence why community and safe spaces are so crucial.
Marginalized groups face unique concerns that people outside of those groups don’t always think about. Concerns that are specific to LGBTQIA+ people, like coming out or gender dysphoria, will often be better understood by a provider in this setting. This can also be true for specific terminology that people within a community use. Different therapists are right for different people, and part of the reason this can be true across the board is that different therapists have varying areas of specialty or understanding. It makes sense to see someone who specializes in your population in any context, and many people have a preference for that. This is no different.
What Do You Talk About In LGBTQIA+ Therapy?
You can go to LGBTQIA+ therapy for anything that impacts your mental health or life overall. You don’t have to talk about LGBTQIA+ specific topics in therapy; you may pursue it simply because it makes for a more comfortable space to talk about anything that’s going on in your life.
Examples of what you might talk about in therapy include but are not limited to:
Relationships aren’t just limited to those and the category of romantic relationships. They also include friendships and other bonds you might have in life. You can see an LGBTIA+ affirming therapist for individual therapy, couples therapy, family therapy, or even group therapy. In therapy, you can talk about any relationships that exist in your life. Since there are some specific matters that might affect LGBTIA+ people in relationships, like lack of acceptance from family members, LGBTIA+ therapy is a safe space to acknowledge and talk about those matters.
Mental And Physical Health Conditions
About one and five adults within the general population in the United States live with a mental health condition. That number increases for those in the LGBTQIA+ community. Additionally, physical health problems, such as chronic illnesses, can negatively impact mental health, and that’s something that no one is immune to.
We all face life stress. Life stress may refer to stress that takes place in the workplace, at school, or in other settings and environments. Exposure to things like homophobia can compound other sources of stress and are known to lead to higher stress levels, and this is a fact backed by research. So, in addition to the other stressors a person might face in their life, such as a large workload, navigating life as a new parent, or an otherwise busy schedule, stress levels can be higher among people within the community, leading us to understand once again there’s a prevalent need for affirming care.
Feeling comfortable in your body is something that most, if not all, struggle with at some point in their lives. However, gender dysphoria (defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a “conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify”) is a unique condition experienced by transgender people all across the globe. This is only one of many different issues that transgender people might face in their day-to-day life that can affect mental health. Gender dysphoria can affect both binary and nonbinary transgender people.
With more and more people feeling safe enough identifying themselves as transgender (a recent study by The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy shows just under 1% of the population, which equals around 1.4 million people nationwide, identify this way), therapy becomes important to help them work through or manage what can be potentially significant and even life-threatening issues.
Of course, these are only some of the topics you can address in therapy. Family life, trauma, and various other concerns are other examples of what you might want to talk about with a therapist. It’s a place to talk about anything that could be on your mind, no matter how big or small it seems, and unless someone is in immediate danger, everything you say will be kept confidential by law.
We know based on research that the risk of suicide* decreases for people within the community when a person is able to receive affirming care, get the social support they need, and access things like gender marker changes on personal documents. These things all prove that having a supportive environment matters.
*If you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts of or related to suicide, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255, and is available 24/7. You may also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741 or reach the Trevor Lifeline at 1-(866)-488-7386.
How Do You Find LGBTQIA+ Therapy Services?
There are a number of different ways to locate an LGBTQIA+ therapist near you. Here are some options:
You can also sign up for an online therapy platform. For example, BetterHelp has a wide range of providers, including those who are informed in LGBTQIA+ topics.
It is important for people seeking therapy to remember that they aren’t committed to continuing therapy through the first therapist that they choose. If they meet with them and feel uncomfortable for any reason, it is okay to try another therapist. The bond between clients and their therapist matters, and this can be particularly true for those in marginalized groups.
For members of the LGBTQIA+ community, or for friends and family members seeking to support them, seeing an affirming therapist can be a true game-changer.
Finding quality care you can trust matters, and it’s something that we all deserve. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to a provider near you or sign up for an online therapy service that meets your needs today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is LGBTQ counseling?
Like many groups, the LGBTQIA+ community has specific concerns they might wish to bring up when it comes to counseling. It is important that LGBTQIA+ people, including LGBTQIA+ youth and adults, have access to an affirming therapist specializing in topics that might affect their life or inform their experiences. That’s what LGBTQIA+ counseling is all about; no matter what a person chooses to go to therapy for, an LGBTQIA+ therapist is informed and versed in LGBTQIA+ topics and is there to embrace who you are.
What is an affirming therapist?
An LGBTQIA+ affirming therapist is a specially trained therapist supporting LGBTQIA+ individuals to work through issues specific to their community in an uplifting and positive perspective. An affirming therapist is different from a general population therapist because they must immerse themselves in the LGBTQIA+community to gain an authentic perspective of all the perspectives living within the community can bring. Some may even share these experiences themselves, in which case, they may or may not choose to self-disclose when working with clients.
How do I find an LGBT-friendly therapist?
You can use several resources to find a therapist, including an affirming therapist through various resources. If you carry health insurance, they may have a provider directory available online. You can search for affirming therapists, LGBTQIA+therapists, or use a service like pride counseling.
What does LGBTQQIP2SAA stand for?
LGBTQQIP2SAA stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, pansexual, two-spirit (2S), androgynous and asexual.
How do I find a therapist?
You can find a therapist online through a variety of sources. LGBTQIA+ youth, LGBTQIA+ people, and other members of the LGBTQIA+ community can use mental health directories to find a therapist who specializes in LGBTQIA+ issues, provides online therapy, works with LGBTQIA+ youth, LGBTQIA+ individuals, LGBTQIA+ families, and more. You can also contact your local LGBT center to obtain a referral for an affirming therapist either at the LGBT center or elsewhere. You can also talk to friends who have been LGBTQIA+ clients and who have favorite therapists they would recommend.
What does LGBTQI+ stand for?
LGBTQI+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex.
How many genders are there?
The experience of gender is unique from person to person, so there’s no concrete number as to how many genders there are. There are common identifiers and umbrella terms that we can use to encompass or describe gender, however.
What are 3 types of therapy?
There are more than three types of therapy. However, if you want to seek therapy, you may look for various modalities that can be used in the following contexts:
Does therapy actually work?
The short answer is “yes,” Therapy has been proven to be an effective treatment option for various concerns a person may encounter in life. These include but aren’t at all limited to stress, family-related concerns, trouble sleeping, and mental health conditions such as personality disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and other related disorders, OCD and other related disorders, or depression.
Therapy Is Personal – Online Counseling Makes It Easier Than Ever To Address Your Mental Health Issues Such As Depression, Stress, And Anxiety
Therapy is a personal experience, and not everyone will go into it seeking the same things. Keeping these things in mind can ensure that you will get the most out of online therapy, regardless of what your specific goals are. If you’re still wondering if therapy is right for you, and how much therapy costs, please contact us at email@example.com. BetterHelp specializes in online therapy to help address all types of mental health concerns. If you’re interested in individual therapy, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about BetterHelp as a company, please find us on: