LGBTQIA+ Individual and Couples Therapy
Does Living an Authentic Life Feel Unobtainable for You?
Are you part of the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities and struggling to live joyfully within a hetero-normative culture? Do you feel isolated and misunderstood due to issues of identity or relationship challenges? Would you benefit from having a strong mental health support system in which you can express yourself authentically and sort out life’s challenges?
Perhaps outwardly it appears you have your life together. You might have a steady job, a relationship, and be on good terms with your family. But inwardly you feel anxious, ashamed, and isolated. As hard as you try to maintain the illusion that everything is okay, it isn’t.
You might suffer from depression, anxiety, or unresolved trauma but use unhealthy coping mechanisms to numb yourself or escape. Perhaps you have lingering distress following the relational trauma you experienced within your family or community at large. Perhaps you’re still carrying emotional scars from the past and feel angry and hurt.
You May Question Your Sexual or Gender Identity
Even though you openly identify as LGBTQ, you may still be confused about your sexual or gender identity as you continue to question who you are. Your ambiguity may affect your relationships and make forging a close bond with others difficult. The walls of protection you’ve built around yourself are keeping you from truly connecting with anyone.
Fortunately, therapy tailored for the LGBTQ experience can help you resolve underlying shame and confusion and find acceptance and love. Whether you think you may benefit from individual or same-sex couples counseling, LGBTQ therapy allows you to work through your concerns in a supportive environment.
Being BIPOC And Queer Has Its Challenges
For those of us who identify as both LGBTQ+ and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color it can be hard to explain how our experience compares to someone whose identity is very different. Put simply, the world isn’t set up for us to win. It makes sense that folks often feel sad, confused, and upset in their daily lives.
The issues that everyone faces in life—interacting with family, navigating a relationship, having kids, thriving at work—can be fraught when you’re part of a queer community of color. We may try to model ourselves on a cis-normative or heteronormative framework, but it may not fit for us. And because we may never have seen a model for relationships, we may feel uncertain of what the parameters of our relationships should be.
The alienation we may experience as LGBTQ-identifying folks coupled with the discrimination and marginalization we endure as BIPOC people may sometimes take an emotional toll on us. We’re often taught to suffer racial disparities with grace and so the rage we feel can turn inward. Our unresolved anger disconnects us from our experience and leads to feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
As LGBTQ+ Folks, We Often Equate Our Self-Worth with Our Labor
Many people believe that as long they tolerate the LGBTQ+ community, that’s good enough. Because the LGBTQ+ community is often treated with the bare minimum of tolerance, we may think there is no room for us to mess up without being rejected and that our acceptance is contingent upon our work product. In order to compensate, we may anxiously overwork for approval.
We often find ourselves having to play along to get along but in reality, we suffer in silence when we are unable to express our authentic selves, afraid to show anyone our weaknesses in fear of being exploited. But speaking to an LGBTQ-affirming therapist gives you a safe space to examine the issues you face as an LGBTQ person and find your voice.
Therapy For BIPOC and LGBTQ+-Identifying Folks Can Offer the Sounding Board You’re Looking For
When you perceive that the world is against you, the idea of letting others know what your vulnerabilities are can be difficult. You might use the shield of sarcasm as a way of protecting yourself, but this defensiveness keeps you from connecting with others authentically. Or maybe you’re exhausted because you think that somehow you are responsible for fitting in rather than being accepted for who you are on your own terms.
We believe that your concerns are valid and deserve to be heard and examined. Our counselors are trained to offer guidance and therapy that can help you navigate the unique challenges of being LGBTQ+ in the BIPOC community.
What to Expect in Sessions
In the initial session, we will review your intake form and identify goals for treatment and what you want to work on. It is a collaborative process where we can decide if individual LGBTQ or couples therapy may be more appropriate to address your primary concerns.
If, for example, your relationships are often steeped in shame or judgment, we will begin by exploring the trauma you’ve experienced in relationships and the unhealthy coping strategies that you have developed as a result. An examination of the family dynamic you were raised in will also help to understand your current behaviors that are less than useful in relationships.
As we continue working together, we will focus on solutions. We will also provide you with helpful strategies for managing interpersonal conflict, having difficult conversations, and stating and negotiating boundaries. Therapy can also identify ways to improve your self-esteem and reduce your critical or self-destructive thoughts.
If you are struggling with your gender or sexual identity, therapy can help you process your complicated interpersonal relationships and express your thoughts freely in the presence of a supportive and knowing other.
The Modalities We Use
Our therapists are well-trained in a variety of approaches, including Relational Psychodynamic Theory and trauma-focused therapies like Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). Each of these modalities can help you control the more troubling symptoms related to past traumas. We also use emotion-focused and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT-based approaches for couples/relationship therapy.
Our goal is to help you to recognize your own feelings and reactions and then how to use those sources of data to inform your behavioral choices. You will learn more about yourself, such as your relational style, defenses, and unhealthy coping strategies. For example, if you struggle with compulsive behaviors, including overeating or symptoms of OCD, you will learn where your urges originated. Once you understand the root cause, you can redirect the underlying emotions that create unwelcome behavior.
Therapy can help you communicate your needs and boundaries with others and live authentically. We want you to have more meaningful relationships where you can be open and vulnerable with others as well and honored and seen by them.
But You May Wonder Whether LGBTQ+-Affirmative Therapy Is Right For You…
I can’t afford LGBTQ+-affirmative counseling.
Your mental health is worthy of the investment. As a society, we spend lots of money on consumable goods that the wellness industrial complex suggest will bring us happiness. However, it would be better to invest in highly-skilled practitioners who can provide you with practical and evidence-based treatments to help you work through your struggles. If cost is a concern, you can also arrange a treatment schedule that can meet your financial needs, such as biweekly visits. In addition, we accept some insurance.
Talking to an LGBTQ counselor won’t fix societal problems or change my work or family dynamics.
Therapy’s goal is to teach you healthier strategies for coping with life’s stressors. While the stressors themselves will not magically disappear, we can help you change the way you respond to a troubling issue that may seem insurmountable right now. Whether it’s a tense relationship with a loved one or a stressful work environment, what you learn about yourself in therapy can be incredibly effective in helping you manage all facets of life.
I’ve had bad experiences in therapy before.
You may have had a bad therapy experience discussing LGBTQ issues if you didn’t feel understood and seen by your therapist, lacked confidence in their competence as a practitioner, or felt judged by them. Our therapists each have extensive clinical and real-world experience with queer communities of color. We’re also trained in evidence-based, relational psychotherapy.
As human beings, we can’t promise to always get it right but we each work really hard to help people heal—we’d love the opportunity to work with you.
You Deserve To Live Joyfully And Authentically
Accepting yourself wholeheartedly and being recognized for the multi-layered person you are by others is possible.