What is LGBT Counseling?
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals seek counseling for help with the many of the same clinical and life issues as heterosexuals – depression, anxiety, grief, couple’s therapy, work stress, etc. Many issues may appear to have little to do with sexual or gender orientation while others may be intimately connected to the LGBT identity.
Regardless if you seek therapy for issues related to your LGBT status or not, it is imperative you feel supported and able to speak freely in order to benefit from the therapeutic experience. This is especially true for those confronted with the double stigma of mental health issues and a LGBT orientation. Search TherapyTribe to find a therapist who is openly LGBT, LGBT-friendly, or specializes in LGBT issues.
LGBT Mental Health Issues and Coping with Stigma
Research suggests that LGBT individuals are at higher risk for depression, anxiety, and addiction or substance abuse. Due to the stigma and discrimination LGBT individuals face on a regular basis, from society, family members, peers, co-workers, even classmates, there is a unique risk for addiction and mood disorders.
Stigma, in any form, is a serious impediment to the well-being of those who experience it. Some productive tips to coping with stigma associated with an LGBT orientation include:
- Learn more and you will begin to understand that the stigma that surrounds an LGBT orientation is just plain wrong.
- Surround yourself with the right people, such as supportive family members and friends or others who may be dealing with the same issues as you.
- Get help from a professional. If you are facing a mental illness as the result of stress from stigma, proper treatment may help you feel less isolated.
- Sharing your experiences with others who can relate can have a positive effect on your outlook on life.
- Join a political or advocacy group to combat unjust policies or unfair treatment of the LGBT community.
Given the stressors that LGBT groups must confront, such as homophobia, societal discrimination and prejudice, coming out, and negotiating family relationships, finding a therapist that is openly LGBT or specializes in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender issues can offer some much needed support and healing.
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