Therapy is a valuable tool for finding inner peace and dealing with complicated emotions. LGBTQ people may find value in seeking therapy that pertains to their sexuality and gender identities, offered by knowledgeable mental health care providers. Here are some LGBTQ topics that therapists can help clients unpack in LGBTQ support therapy:
1. Compulsory Heterosexuality
Compulsory heterosexuality is an issue that many bisexual and gay people face. People who face this issue may feel pressured to perform heterosexuality, even if they are not actually attracted to people of the opposite gender. Compulsory heterosexuality can be a subconscious issue, which can make people feel very confused. Fortunately, LGBTQ therapists can help their patients unpack compulsory heterosexuality. Uncovering your true desires can bring you freedom, allowing you to form relationships that you can cherish.
2. Gender Identity
Gender and sexuality are two distinct things that sometimes intersect. Many people are cisgender, which means they identify as the same gender they were assigned at birth. However, some people feel like they are of a different gender and experience gender dysphoria as a result. You may be cisgender, transgender, or nonbinary. Figuring out your gender identity can be tricky, but an LGBTQ counselor can help. Discussing gender and gender expression with a therapist can help you understand yourself better.
3. Coming Out
Many LGBTQ people choose to come out at some point, which means they decide to tell the people in their lives that they are LGBTQ. Coming out can be a big event that includes a public declaration, but it doesn't have to. Some people choose to come out to just a few people they are close to. If you're not sure if you want to come out, a therapist can help you make that decision. If you do decide to come out, a therapist can help you choose the right way to do it. There's no correct or incorrect way to tell people that you are LGBTQ, but there may be ways that feel more authentic and comfortable to you personally.
Everyone needs to feel accepted and appreciated, but LGBTQ people can struggle to find acceptance more than most. LGBTQ therapists can help patients come to terms with non-affirming people in their lives, which may include learning to draw healthy boundaries. Therapists can also help their LGBTQ patients learn to accept and love themselves, which is the most important type of acceptance of all.
Contact an LGBTQ center like Encircle for more resources.