If you struggle with personal feelings or experience conflict with others about your sexuality, you might be a good candidate for (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) LGBTQIA counseling. Many people believe they are an alternative gender than what is on their birth records or are attracted to individuals who don’t fit the traditional societal mold of the opposite sex. Not everyone who claims their sexuality feels comfortable or welcome with others who may or may not be as accepting or tolerant of their preference.
LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) issues are real and affect millions of people. Many in the LGBTQIA community find it difficult to open up to others about their sexuality. “Coming out” involves self-expression, which often brings about external struggles like depression, anxiety, discrimination, bullying, and other negative emotions and behaviors. Some people have no problems accepting their sexuality, and others often need help adjusting. LGBTQIA counseling is highly beneficial for those dealing with LGBTQIA issues.
How Can LGBTQIA Counseling Help?
LGBTQIA therapy offers guidance for those struggling with concerns related to gender orientation, sexuality, relationships, parenting concerns, substance abuse, addiction, etc. Counseling sessions take place in person and can be in a private or group setting. The preference for LGBTQIA counseling session environments depends on the individual needs of the patient and their counselor’s recommendations.
During LGBTQIA counseling sessions, patients answer questions and discuss their feelings and concerns about themselves, relationships with others, and their lifestyle. The information provided enables the therapist to identify lifestyle choices and other potential areas of concern. All information provided to the counselor remains confidential and used for evaluation and treatment purposes only.
What Happens During a Session of LGBTQIA Counseling?
Patients learn coping tools to help them create goals for overcoming LGBTQIA issues that disrupt their interactions with others and themselves. Not everyone can accept their feelings or choices about their sexuality without counseling.
The path to self and social acceptance and confidence takes time to travel, and some patients require multiple counseling sessions. Everyone is different and may require more or fewer LGBTQIA counseling sessions than others.
Affected individuals need to know and understand how to identify and process their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors healthily so they can move forward and enjoy happy and productive lives.
What Topics Are Covered in a Session LGBTQIA Counseling?
LGBTQIA counseling can be long-term or short-term. The number of sessions and treatment recommendations are based on the patient’s individual needs. Some people dealing with ongoing sexuality/gender issues often spend more time in counseling than others. Below are common topics discussed in LGBTQIA therapy.
Coming Out – Knowing your sexual /gender concerns are vastly different from what’s considered the norm can be frightening. Not everyone feels safe or comfortable with who they are. Denial and repressed feelings are common and can become unhealthy.
LGBTQIA counseling can help with coming out. Therapy can help you love and accept yourself and not focus on others’ unhealthy perceptions, behaviors, and interactions. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable and social acceptance about their personal sexual/gender choices to protect their self-esteem and mental health.
Sexual Orientation – You might be experiencing or struggling with sexual preferences when it comes to choosing a mate. You might be attracted to someone of the opposite sex. These feelings can be confusing. You may doubt that you are a male or female and have conflicting sexual emotions that you cannot control or identify with. Uncertainty, anxiety, and confusion are common in the LGBTQIA community. Counseling can help you address these concerns and help you see your way through these mixed emotions.
Gender Dysphoria – It’s okay if you believe your body and gender at birth are mismatched. Many others feel similar and consider undergoing hormonal or medical procedures for gender reassignment to correct this “mistake.” These intense feelings can lead to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even suicide. LGBTQIA counseling provides the tools counselees need to come to terms with their identities and how others may perceive them.
Relationship Issues – It might be challenging to determine your role in same-sex and opposite-sex relationships, especially when children are involved. Questions may arise about who will dominate the relationship, be the responsible party or the head of the household, breadwinner, etc. These genuine concerns typically lead to divorce, breakups, infidelity, and other relationship problems. Counseling can help you work help you find your place in the relationship and overcome these challenges.
Also, differences and changes in gender and sexuality are not easy for everyone to understand or deal with, especially in families and romantic relationships. Others around you might not understand your circumstances or the difficulties you may face in public and in society. They can spill over to other areas in your life, like school or work.
Often, people who come out have to deal with negativity from others, harassment, discrimination, and more. Dealing with these issues alone and long term can cause depression, thoughts of suicide, unworthiness, and helplessness.
Our LGBTQIA counseling therapists know the issues that LGBTQIA individuals face daily and are ready to talk and help provide clarity, guidance, acceptance, and peace of mind.
LGBTQIA counseling can help you to overcome these negative feelings and empower you to be the best version of yourself. If you’re ready to learn more about LGBTQIA counseling, contact the C.U.B.E. at (213) 616-5821 to schedule sessions with our friendly, compassionate, and knowledgeable gender/sexuality therapist.