LGBT Counseling Category

Body Parts and Sex - Overcoming Dysphoria

Sex should be fun, sensual, erotic, hot, connecting. Highlight the word should. But it’s not this way for some people. Specifically, it is sometimes not comfortable for some transgender and gender non-conforming people. One of the main culprits is discomfort with what are supposed to be sexy body parts. But if these body parts – or at least the mainstream names for them – don’t align with your gender identity, then sex becomes less than fun. However, I recently attended a workshop, by a fantastic presenter – S. Bear Bergman – that helped us all reimagine trans sexuality.

One of the basic premises – a beginning point for trans people who are trying to become more comfortable with their bodies and their sexuality as well as those who love trans people – is that people should claim their bodies as their own. And one way of doing this is naming your own sexual body parts. We learned and shared some fun and sexy words to replace often scienti...

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Queer is the New Cool

What is it like when gender becomes so obscure and individualized that it seems to no longer matter as much as it did before…while still being an important part of someone’s identity and experience? Attend a conference for Trans*/GNC (Gender Non-conforming) folk and their allies and you’ll see for yourself, as I recently did, and you’ll realize how radically different, and accepting, the world can be.

Mid-July, I attended the Philadelphia-Trans Health Conference and felt like I entered a new universe – one where expression was appreciated, even when it went against the dominant culture’s norms. And one where consideration for others was paramount.

People dressed in all kinds of ways – from conservative, traditionally “male” clothing, to punk-inspired “women’s” clothing – often independent from one’s anatomy and what biological sex dictates for most people. No matter how you looked, or expressed your g...

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Therapy with Gay Male Clients: Why It 'Takes One to Know One'

Many therapists enjoy working with gay male clients.  After all, we tend to be middle-class (or higher) professionals who have health insurance that partially covers the cost of therapy or be in well-compensated jobs, and we tend to be "well-behaved" clients who show up, pay our fees, do the work, and even dress nicely.  So it's only natural that many straight therapists would want this type of client in their practice.  

The problem is, there can be distinct disadvantages when even the most well-meaning straight therapists attempt to provide therapy for gay male clients, and distinct advantages to working with a therapist who is a fellow gay man.  Making the matter even more difficult is that oftentimes straight therapists "don't know what they don't know."  Far too often, I hear stories from my gay male clients who have worked with previous (straight, male or female) therapists who don't entirely "get it".  For example, they might not know about or unde...

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What Makes A Real Man

I was recently reading a blog in which the author – a mother of a young boy – was bragging that her son is “all boy” – meaning he is rough and tumble and plays with trucks, guns, and GI Joes. I found this offensive. What about the boys who like Barbies and arts and crafts are sensitive? Are they not complete boys? Are they somehow deficient? Would she be less pleased with him. It seems strange to me that we are still playing into gender stereotypes about masculinity in men and boys.

This creates potential problems for anyone who identities as male. The trans man has to figure out and come to terms with what his masculinity looks like. The gay 16 year old who likes drag has to accept that he can be feminine and still be a man. The straight man who holds his feelings in hears from his wife that he is emotionally distant, while he’s simply trying to be the “strong one”. It even makes life difficult for people who identify as straight female...

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Be You!

Trying to be authentic in this world can be hard. We feel pressured to conform…even by such simple questions as “How are you doing today?” – which we often answer with a pasted on smile and the word “Fine”. Some of us work in jobs we hate, fearful of what it would mean, what people would think, and how we would get by, if we changed careers. People in their 40′s and 50′s realize that they have much they still want to do, contemplate making changes, but don’t make them because they’re fearful that they will be seen as going through a “mid-life crisis” – a patronizing, and simplistic concept. Others are fearful to express their sexuality whether it is a same-sex attraction or a BDSM desire. And some present themselves as a gender that they know they really aren’t. Of course, the list goes on; I’m sure you could add your own ways in which you feel coerced into “fitting in.”

The pressure...

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The Trouble with Passing

For many transgender people, particularly those who identify on the gender binary, “passing” is of particular importance. And this makes a lot of sense to me. I understand the very real concerns about people on the streets, at the job, or in a restroom recognizing you as transgender. There can be powerful, negative repercussions when that happens. Unfortunately, we see this all the time and even have an annual day of mourning to those whose lives are lost due to the fear and hatred of others. However, I have seen in my work that passing also comes with some troubles.

I have met quite a few trans folk who “pass” very well. No one knows about their natal sex or assigned gender. And these folk integrate quite well into the cisgender world. In fact, some integrate so well, that very few people know about their transition or their life story. And this is where the trouble sometimes lies.
When know one knows about your transgender identity, who do you talk to about th...

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This Holiday Give Yourself and Your Partner the Gift of your Presence

So much of the holidays can be taken up with the busy stuff of gift buying, travel plans, and food and festivity preparations that we’re often left exhausted and depleted. It’s easy to forget what the holidays are fundamentally about: to connect and be with family, friends and loved ones. This holiday, offer the gift of your presence to both yourself and your loved ones.

What do I mean by “the gift of your presence”?
Simply put, being present is about being a human being as opposed to a human doing. It’s about being with yourself or your partner instead of busily doing something with your mind elsewhere. You can also practice being really present while doing something fun with your partner. For instance, you could be on a bike ride with your love, enjoying and participating in the experience, giving both your partner and yourself the gift of your full presence. On the other hand, you could be on that bike ride with your mind a million miles away, thinking ...

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Best Hopes for Today? LGBT Couples

Simply stated and incredibly breathtaking what that question can evoke.

I have seen it invite 50 minutes of couples falling back in love. I strive to offer my clients this empowering starting point!

As they sit in apprehension of changing something that looks so broken; I see the POSSIBILITIES. In a LGBT relationship the support might look different from heterosexual friends. I see one of the most difficult challenges of the LGBT community as having problems. Many times when a problem arises family members, work connections, or others who might not see the relationship as real are quick to only see one best hope. Letting it go. Over coming issues as a couple is hard enough, add same-sex and you have to be extra diligent about nurturing the connection between partners.

What are you willing to see as possible?

~ When I ask this, the responsibility is placed with the client. WHAT? They are responsible. Yes. As a counselor, I can not make you want to be willing. I can help you find th...

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Domestic Violence Awareness

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. This awareness works in combination with breast cancer awareness (also this month), as both are significant issues affecting women. Check out the events in your community and see what you can learn about intimate partner abuse, historically referred to Domestic Violence. Avon, Mary Kay Cosmetics are two companies working actively to eradicate partner abuse. Purchases with either or both companies this month are offering options for a portion of proceeds to go toward prevention and healing of women harmed by partner abuse. Do something positive for yourself and your community today!

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Fall Awakening, Transcending Talk-Therapy: see new blog and events

I’m excited to share my new book, Focalizing Source Energy, to be released this fall.  This small book explains how many clients, colleagues, and workshop participants are transcending talk-therapy (as we have known it) with a no-shame, no-blame, right-here, right-now healing approach that is body/energy oriented. If you want to discover what will make your life happier, while giving it meaning and purpose, you’ll love the new book.

To celebrate this new release, my previous two books are being offered for FREE for the FIRST FIVE DAYS after the updated 2012 eBook formats are complete over the next few weeks.  They will sell for a very reasonable price, but you can take advantage of the free offer if you’re on this e-mailing list, so stay tuned for that.

The new book will coincide with a series of classes and workshops: Getting Unstuck & Finding New Ground: Focalizing – Going Within to Move Beyond (click bold for ...

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