Sadly, sometimes being a member of the LGBTQ community comes with the need for therapy. Maybe you had a bad coming out experience, or you’re not sure how to come out, or you feel isolated due to a lack of a support system. Regardless of the reason, seeking out therapy is a brave thing to do.
The catch is that therapy requires trust between a clinician and a client to work. The therapeutic relationship is important to your healing and growth, and your identity is a large part of who you are. If you’re honest with your clinician, then they can help you navigate the waters.
So, how do you find an LGBTQ friendly therapist?
It’s actually easier than it sounds!
Therapy comes with a blanket of confidentiality unless you are a threat to yourself or someone else, or if you report that someone is being hurt. Your identity is never shared with your family unless you want it to be. Clinicians go above and beyond to make sure that their clients feel safe within the therapy relationship, and breaking that trust isn’t something that we do without repercussions.
Therapists are in this field because we want to help, and that usually means that we’re ready to work with you no matter how you identify. Some therapists specialize in working with the LGBTQ+ community while others don’t, and it’s important to figure out the difference. Therapists who specialize in working with the LGBTQ community typically have taken extra training to make sure that we’re well equipped to handle the range of issues that may come up.
But, just because you found a therapist from a random google search doesn’t mean that they’re the right therapist for you.
Investigate the therapist options in your area
The first step to finding an LGBTQ friendly therapist is to read about them through their website or by calling their office and asking. If you’re not phone-avoidant, you can ask a therapist about their experience working with members of the community. If you don’t want to talk on the phone, you can normally find a biography on their website. Most therapists who work with members of the community will say so in their bios, or they will have pride flags on their website so that you know that you’re safe.
The next step is to interview your therapist. Yup, you read that correctly. If you have questions for your therapist, ask them! Most therapists would love to tell you about training they’ve taken and experiences that shaped them as clinicians. What therapy style does your dream therapist have? Does your therapist know how to help navigate coming out to your family and friends when/if you’re ready? Can your therapist understand your humor? Can your therapist help you navigate the change in your identity? All of this, and any other question you have (within reason), can be answered by your therapist.
So, you’ve conducted the interview and you found a therapist that fits your needs. Great, now it’s time for the hard work!
Build a relationship with your chosen therapist and practice bravery
Building a relationship with a therapist can be hard sometimes, but our job is to make sure that you feel safe and comfortable. Sometimes that means waiting multiple sessions for you to go beyond surface level conversation.
Therapists understand that this can be uncomfortable and that everyone opens up at their own pace. They may ask questions that are hard to answer, or questions that you prefer not to answer right away.
That's okay! Communicate your comfort or discomfort with them, and practice bravery. Sometimes going beyond your comfort zone can be rewarding!
Finding the right therapist can sometimes be challenging, and telling your therapist the truth about your identity can be really scary! We understand, and we want to help you navigate this part of your journey. The therapists at Mindsight are ready to help you through figuring out your identity, learning to accept yourself, and whatever else comes your way.
Shelby Case is a new therapist at Mindsight! Shelby's favorite things include spending time with her animals and her spouse, watching television (currently they are watching Big Brother), and taking road trips. When she isn't providing therapy to clients, she can be found playing video games (her favorite is The Sims 4) or spending too much money at a thrift store. Shelby's favorite color is green and her guilty pleasure is reality TV shows.
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