A person’s sexual orientation can unfortunately predispose a him or her to a higher chance of psychological problems. LGBT people often face more criticism, social stigma, prejudice and alienation than heterosexual persons or persons who align with their gender at birth. The incidence of depression, substance abuse and suicide are all higher in LGBTQ+ populations.
Of course this has nothing to do with those sexual orientations or gender identity, but rather has to do with society’s lack of acceptance of LGBTQ+ as a normal form of human sexuality and gender identity. LGBTQ+ patients may need help managing their own feelings about their sexual orientation or gender identity and/or the opinions of family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and other peers.
LGBTQ+ patients may also have issues in their same-sex relationships that are different from heterosexual couples. Issues of sexuality, role definition and parenting are areas where being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people may manifest in different ways.
Having a therapist who has experience with the LGBTQ+ community can be helpful in these situations. Coping with being in a minority group of any sort can be stressful. Counseling can help one to sort through the complicated feelings of being “different” in some ways that others may or may not tolerate.
Our practice has a special interest in helping LGBT patients feel more at ease in their lives and function better in all areas.
Whether it is in one’s self-esteem, self-image, intimate relationships or in the world at large, I believe that all people, regardless of their partner choice or gender identification, deserve to be happy and whole. I have helped numerous LGBTQ+ persons over the years come to more fully love and accept themselves and be able to build successful lives without secrecy, shame or fear.