Do you identify as LGBTQ and have a hard time shaking negative beliefs that have been ingrained into your self-perception? Were you raised in an environment or part of a community that failed to affirm your identity? Or do you feel as though you’re hiding your true self from others?
The LGBTQ population, in particular, faces increased stigma and discrimination, resulting in symptoms of minority stress. You may have developed anxiety that causes you to ruminate over your behaviors or dread certain situations. Or you might struggle with symptoms of depression, including isolation, extreme sadness, and an inability to feel hopeful that things will get better. It’s possible that you’ve abused substances or developed addictive tendencies out of a need to numb your pain.
If you’ve sought support elsewhere in the past, you may have felt alienated or unworthy of help. Maybe you worry that you’re unwelcome in certain spaces, or perhaps you’re struggling to reconcile your identity with the various cultural and spiritual systems that shaped you. As a result, you may grapple with a sense of inner conflict that keeps you from experiencing life to the fullest.
In addition, navigating relationships as an LGBTQ individual presents its own set of dynamics and unique challenges. You may be looking for guidance as you date, explore your sexuality, or figure out how to communicate certain boundaries to others. Perhaps you’ve lacked the confidence to assert yourself in past romantic, familial, platonic, or professional relationships, but you’re looking to escape the behaviors that have kept you stuck and unsatisfied.
All you want is to live authentically, able to fully embrace life’s possibilities even when hurdles get in the way. With LGBTQ therapy at Kind Mind, we can help you learn how to radically accept yourself and your identity.
No matter how we identify, all of us encounter daily stressors as-is. However, when marginalized groups experience compounded stress as a result of systemic oppression and a lack of access to resources, stress accumulates and creates symptoms of physical, emotional, and psychological anguish.
It’s no secret that when it comes to the LGBTQIA+ community, in particular, our society has long perpetuated homophobia, transphobia, and systemic bias. In any culture that affirms only hetero- and cis-normative identities, queer and trans populations are more likely to encounter prejudice and trauma.
In fact, research shows that due to the increased discrimination that this population faces, the LGBTQ community is at much higher risk for challenges to mental health. Adults who identify as queer are more than twice as likely to develop a mental health condition when compared to their hetero counterparts. Similarly, trans or nonbinary folks are four times more likely than cis individuals to struggle with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, among other disorders.
While Not All Mental Health Issues Are Directly Related To Gender And Sexuality, Minority Stress Nevertheless Takes Its Toll
If you identify as LGBTQIA+, you may have had negative experiences with disrespectful or insensitive healthcare providers in the past. Yet, at Kind Mind, you will find clinicians who are specifically trained on issues of minority stress and have ample experience working with marginalized populations.
Once you are paired with one of our many culturally competent LGBTQ clinicians, you will perform a standard intake that goes over presenting issues, relevant history, and goals for therapy. Your first session will be a chance to get to know your therapist and develop a rapport so that you can feel safe and secure in exploring your experiences and LGBTQ identity in counseling.
Our clinicians treat the whole person—instead of simply limiting you to a set of symptoms. So, whether or not you have a diagnosable condition, you’ll nevertheless gain the coping skills needed to overcome symptoms of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress.
We draw from a range of evidence-based methods to inform our care. But for LGBTQ patients, we’re likely to use identity-affirming approaches that can help you build self-awareness and resilience. In addition, by providing you with psychoeducation about how your marginalized status may have impacted your self-beliefs and system of values, you can begin to unlearn internalized homophobia, transphobia, and residual shame.
With new awareness, you’ll be given a chance to develop tailormade coping skills that can help you feel safe and validated—even during the times you experience rejection or hostility.
Therapy also gives you a chance to learn how to confidently assert your LGBTQ identity while working through the relationship challenges that come up. Whether you need help coming out as LGBTQ, navigating the dating world, overcoming challenges as a couple, or addressing interpersonal issues that extend beyond your romantic relationships, counseling offers guidance and clarity.
Your identity is beautiful and deserves to be celebrated. In LGBTQ therapy at Kind Mind, you will find a supportive, empathetic, and safe clinician to uplift you on the path to healing and increased self-esteem.
I don’t know what my LGBTQ identity has to do with the symptoms I’m experiencing.
You are certainly more than your symptoms. And we acknowledge that many things can bring you to counseling, which may or may not have any direct correlation to your sexual or gender identity. Therapy is your time to explore your emotions and develop skills for coping, even if LGBTQ discrimination is not at the core of your trauma.
However, evidence supports that as an LGBTQ-identifying person, you’ve internalized some of the stigma, shame, and rejection that’s been perpetuated by our society. Working with a therapist, you can begin to unravel the origins of your beliefs in an effort to unlearn the patterns and behaviors that are keeping you in pain.
How can I be confident that counseling will be effective if my therapist doesn’t identify as LGBTQ?
As mentioned, we are committed to educating ourselves and providing culturally competent care to our patients. We have clinicians on our team who come from marginalized groups (including those identifying as LGBTQ) who work hard to understand and reduce the impact that minority stress has on our communities.
Though your identity belongs to you and you alone, we will affirm your experience while offering valuable insight into the shame, fear, and dissatisfaction keeping you stuck.
Even though your clinicians are specifically trained, I worry that I’ll still encounter bias or microaggressions in therapy.
We take any and all forms of bias very seriously, including microaggressions. As opposed to other practices that typically offer minimal, one-time trainings to their clinicians, we receive ongoing training, consultations, and the most current research about providing meaningful support to all of our patients. Our team is set apart because we go above and beyond traditional sensitivity and awareness frameworks to ensure culturally competent care in a safe atmosphere.
Moreover, we welcome your feedback. If there is anything your Kind Mind therapist can do to make sure you’re feeling safe and affirmed in your LGBTQ identity, we encourage you to discuss your needs in counseling.
If you identify as LGBTQ and are in need of culturally competent mental health support, therapy at Kind Mind can affirm your experience and facilitate healing.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with our clinicians, please contact us or call (646) 918 – 1181.