LGBTQ+ Affirming Counseling
What is LGBTQ Affirming Therapy?
LGBTQ affirming therapy aims to meet an individual wherever they’re at. Our therapists are here to help them learn, grow, and – above all – love themselves. LGBTQ therapy emphasizes acceptance and affirmation of a person’s lived experience. All major mental health organizations in the US oppose any treatment based on the assumption that homosexuality or gender identity conflict are mental health disorders. This includes the APA, ACA, and the NASW. Or, that a person should change his or her homosexual orientation. This includes so-called practices such as “reparative therapy” or “conversion therapy.”
In supportive counseling sessions, you can speak confidentially with a licensed LGBTQ therapist. They are familiar with issues facing people of diverse sexualities and genders.
Supportive LGBTQ Counseling can help with:
- Exploring your gender identity or expression
- Exploring your sexual orientation
- Coming out to others
- Identifying and managing depression, anxiety, or gender dysphoria
- And dealing with discrimination or bullying
Your LGBTQ therapist can also help with other concerns. This may include relationship issues, sexual problems, parenting matters, and addiction. In other words, you can talk about any concerns you have. Whether they are specific to your sexual orientation or gender identity or not.
What’s the Big Deal?
Currently, 1 in 20 identify as LGBTQ+ in the US. Plus, many others (as many as 1 in 5) experience non-heterosexual attraction or gender dysphoria but still identify as heterosexual or cisgender. Not all members of the LGBTQ+ community will have the same experiences. But, discrimination, prejudice, harassment, rejection, and religious persecution are common experiences for many.
As a result:
- LGBTQ adults are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition.
- LGBTQ people are at a higher risk than the general population for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.
- High school LGBTQ students are almost five times as likely to attempt suicide compared to their heterosexual peers.
- 48% of all transgender adults report that they have considered suicide in the past 12 months. This is compared to 4% of the overall US population.
What Can I Do to Help?
For loved ones, it may be helpful to know that there are factors that build resilience and protect LGBTQ+ people (especially youth). These factors can help protect from mental health concerns, such as:
- Acceptance by one’s family of origin (e.g., parents, siblings, grandparents, children).
- Having a supportive social network made up of LGBTQ friends, allies, and family of choice. These are close relationships with people who are not biologically related but act as a family.
- Access to and use of LGBTQ inclusive medical and mental health.
Various resources and organizations:
- The Trevor Project (24-hour crisis intervention, online social networking, educational programs)
- It Gets Better Project (empowers and connects LGTBQ+ youth. This occurs through education and inspiring stories)
- PFLAG (promoting family and community support)
- Family Acceptance Project (health and mental health support for LGBTQ+ youth and their families)
- The Reformation Project (focused in specific on LGBTQ inclusion within Christianity)
- Unashamed (A book specifically addressing the process of coming out within a Christian context)
Begin LGBTQ Therapy in Michigan
- Meet with a caring therapist
- Start finding the support you deserve.