Mental Health Counseling and the LGBTQ+ Community
People seek counseling for wide range of personal, psychological and social issues, and the members of the LGBTQ+ community aren’t immune. Evidently, this segment of the population seeks mental health services more than others.
Affirmative Therapy for the LGBTQ+ Community
People who fall beneath the umbrella of LGBTQ+ include those who are transgender, transsexual, intersex, lesbian, gay, transman, transwoman, and more. These individuals not only have to deal with feelings of confusion that generate within themselves but are often ostracized by close family and community as well, for circumstances over which they have no control. The category of mental health counseling that’s often helpful for members of the LGTBQ+ community is called affirmative therapy.
What Is Affirmative Therapy?
The American Psychiatric Association describes affirming therapy as a therapeutic position that helps an individual affirm its gender identity. This would help individuals understand their gender better. A gender-diverse individual is being guided when she or he attends to this affirmative therapy session. They’re embraced for their differences and not made to feel that their thoughts, feelings and emotions are wrong and unnatural.
Counselors who work in this field must have a complete understanding of the difficulties gender-diverse individuals may face daily, including:
- Feelings of shame or depression
- Social stigma
If you’ll effectively help to treat these issues, a mental counselor must create a safe space for the client. You must be able to help the speak and voice out openly and honestly about their feelings. As a therapist, you must also be able to sympathize and empathize with your client. After conducting therapies, you must be able to reflect on statements and concepts back to the client effectively. It would allow space for processing and understanding. Most importantly, however, they must be affirmative in their view of gender diversity. Reassurance of normality is the foundation of affirmative therapy.
Are You Interested in Practicing Affirmative Therapy?
If you’re considering a career as a mental health specialist and you have interest in counseling LGBTQ+ clients, The Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program at Phillips Graduate Institute is a great place to begin. Join our next online information session to learn more about all you can accomplish with a degree in MFT.