Welcoming LGBTQIA+ Clients in Therapy
The process of finding a therapist is no easy task! This is even more the case when clients belong to minority groups or are different from other people for various reasons. “Different.” That word that distinguishes someone from someone else isn’t always positive. While finding the right therapist is difficult for anyone, it can especially be true for people who identify as LGBTQIA+. Most people are aware that in order to get the most out of therapy it involves being very open, remaining honest, and exploring different aspects of yourself.
This can seem an even more daunting task for someone who identifies as LGBTQIA+ because there can be an added layer of concern while sitting across from a therapist. Some common thoughts that LGBTQIA+ clients may have in the beginning of therapy may be:
“Will I have to educate my therapist on certain aspects of LGBTQIA+ life and identity?”
“How will they feel doing couples therapy with me and my partner?”
“Are they going to judge or see me negatively because of who I am?”
“Will they become uncomfortable if I start to talk about sex?”
“Is this someone who I will need to defend myself against?”
“How much can I tell them about this part of me?”
“Are they going to understand my experience?”
These are all very important questions, and they all have the same message. Behind all of these concerns there is a deeper question which is, “is this professional sitting across from me safe?” As an openly gay man myself, these are definitely questions I had on my mind as I looked for a therapist years ago. While I was in the process of finding a clinician who was the right fit, not all of my experiences were positive. These negative and eventually incredibly positive experiences have remained with me as I continue my work as a therapist.
While the world is slowly changing for the better, many clients that are different from us have had to face issues because of who they are, who they love, and how they identify. LGBTQIA+ clients and other minorities are often criticized, looked down upon, misunderstood, and mistreated. One of the most positive aspects of modern psychology is that it really focuses on understanding an individual’s unique experience, while at the same time maintains a deep respect for people’s individual differences.
All therapists (regardless of age, education, or background) should be comfortable discussing issues related to LGBTQIA+ sex, love, and reality. Education on such issues and sensitivity training is also a key part of every therapist’s graduate education and clinical experience. You shouldn’t have to hide yourself, and you certainly shouldn’t ever feel unsafe with a therapist. CICS welcomes clients of all different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, cultures, and minorities (including LGBTQIA+) with open arms. Every therapist on staff at CICS is LGBTQIA+ competent, comfortable, and affirming.
No more hesitation to talk about your love or sex life. No more wondering if someone disapproves. No more feeling like you have to hide any part of yourself.
We see you. You are important. Your story matters to us.
If I or my colleagues can be of help in any way, please feel free to reach out for a free 20 minute consultation.
We look forward to getting to know you for all that you are.