Gay Affirmative Therapy and Counseling for LGBT Individuals, Couples & Families
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Struggles
Research shows that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients disproportionately struggle with the common problems of every day living also experienced by straight peers such as depression, anxiety, grief, relationship difficulties, school hassles, work dissatisfaction, etc.
But low family acceptance, risk of being bullied and widespread hate crime violence add layers of emotional pain and trauma that are rather unique to the LGBT community.
Consequently, some studies say that as many as 1 in 3 LGBT youth have attempted suicide. Others say that LGBT youth are 5 times more likely to commit suicide than their peers are.
Extra Problems for the LGBT Community
Even as an adult, being part of the gay community can add extra issues and emotional distress to the deep sorrow of the death of a parent, or to finding compassionate medical or psychotherapeutic treatment for the chemical imbalances that provoke low moods, mood swings or anxiety. Sibling rivalries or unrealistic and punitive expectations of your career may also take on a harsher edge.
While some life problems simply have little to do with sexual orientation or affectional preference, being a member of the LGBT community — whether openly or still in the closet — adds the extra problems of
• internalized homophobia
• social stigma
• prejudice and discrimination
• violence and threats of hate crimes
• institutionalized denial of human rights
and other heart-wrenching rejections and struggles arising from growing up in a shame-based family and culture.
Unfortunately, in the US, how you’re perceived, accepted and treated may have everything to do with being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. Some people see only that about you, and because of it, you face the extra challenges, distress, and dangers of their negative attitudes and threatening behaviors. If you’re struggling with coming out, or experiencing fear, anxiety, depression or increased stress due to being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered, I’d like to help.
Bisexual Complexities and Confusions
If you are bisexual, you could suffer all the trials noted above, plus you might be confused about how to understand the variety and complexity of your sexual attractions. Maybe you feel unaccepted and alienated in both straight and gay worlds. It’s possible you’ve felt criticized, even threatened, by both gay and straight friends. The pressures to declare a clear and fixed orientation can be fierce – and frustrating and confusing — when it just doesn’t fit who you are. If stress, anxiety or depression are draining the happiness and confidence out of your everyday life, I’d like to help.
Or, maybe you are dealing with feeling transgendered, or what psychology calls gender dysphoria: the feeling of being born in the wrong body. It’s confusing to experience, and too often it’s highly dangerous to talk about feeling like a female in a male physique, or like a male trapped in a woman’s body. More than 40% of transgendered individuals have reportedly attempted suicide, versus just 1.6% of the general population. More than 60% have suffered physical and/or sexual assault. Add to that the confusions of sexual attractions that may seem same-sex but wouldn’t be if you were the other gender. When you’re struggling with any of these circumstances, depression, anxiety, PTSD and other psychological issues and emotional distress are very likely to occur. Living with any of these confusions, shames, criticisms, disapprovals, rejections, prejudices, and threats can be scary, and demoralizing. When it’s time to heal the hurts and develop an empowered sense of self, it’s important to find an affirming therapist. I’d like to help.
LGBT Couples and Families
As a gay or lesbian couple or family, you might be encountering extra hurdles in forming or sustaining healthy relationships such as:
• Feeling you or your partnership or family are destined to fail
• Having a lack of social connectedness or extended family support
• Dealing with legal, religious, or employment discrimination
• Securing protections for your children
• Adopting your partner’s children
• Constantly explaining alternative ways to view gender roles
• Limited opportunities for open socializing with other gays/lesbians/couples
• Differences in the coming out process for partners
All couples can benefit from having tools to better manage the conflicts that arise in committed relationships. While same-sex couples have many of the challenges that heterosexual couples do, the additional outside pressures born of homophobic prejudice and discrimination can create conflicts within relationship. These issues include family acceptance, different levels of comfort with being “out”, and religious / cultural expectations.
I provide couples counseling for LGBT couples and for partners where one person identifies as gay and the other person identifies as straight. If there are different orientations the path is extremely personal and varied. Our work together will help you decide individually and together what is right for you. If your partnership is having problems with communication, intimacy, handling conflict, and family of origin issues, I’d like to help.
How Counseling with Barbara Fane Can Help You
I understand how the extra challenges of being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered affect you and your relationships. I hold a perspective of openness, compassion, and acceptance. I accept, understand, and appreciate you, whatever your sexual orientation or gender expression is.
I also get that maybe none of these things applies to you and you just want to focus on what is currently on your mind. I work with you on the goals that you identify; my goal is to help you feel the best that you can.
You can create more fulfilling relationships,
decrease depression, reduce anxiety,
and gain greater self-esteem.
Why not start now