Choosing a Therapist Is Especially Important for Those in the LGBTQ Community
Choosing a therapist is important for any individual who is looking for support and guidance. However, it is especially important for those who identify within the LGBTQ community. For many in the LGBTQ+ community, finding a therapist that can affirm and validate their experiences can be life-changing. This can be due to the fact that some therapists may lack the knowledge, skills, and cultural competence to provide effective care for LGBTQ+ clients.
Working With an Affirmative Therapist is Key
As a person who is a part of the LGBTQ community, it is important to make sure that you are working with an affirmative therapist. If you’re not, this could result in you working with a therapist that may not be able to provide a safe space for you and, at worst, could result in additional trauma. However, you may not know what exactly affirmative therapy entails or why it is so important.
What is LGBTQ Affirming Therapy in Los Angeles?
Affirmative therapy is a type of psychotherapy used to validate and advocate for the needs of sexual and gender minority clients. This type of therapy recognizes the diversity of sexual orientation, gender identity, and issues related to them. More specifically, affirmative therapy is a therapeutic approach to therapy that embraces a positive view of LGBTQ+ identities and relationships.2
A Therapist Must Have Both Understanding and the Ability to Address Challenges
Affirmative therapy requires a therapist to both have an understanding and the ability to address the negative influences that homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism have on the lives of LGBTQ+ clients. It also makes the therapist mindful of the unique experiences and needs of LGBTQ+ individuals in Los Angeles such as the health impact of minority stress.
Why is LGBTQ Affirming Therapy Important?
Affirmative therapy is essential for LGBTQ+ individuals in Los Angeles as it can greatly improve their mental health and well-being. It requires therapists to have a unique appreciation, knowledge, and understanding of the way in which gender and sexuality are social constructs, and impact our lives on even the most intimate level. It also influences how we interact with and move through the world.
Normalize the Mental Health Impact of Minority Stress
Affirmative therapy works to normalize the mental health impact of minority stress to make sure that the LGBTQ+ community can access appropriate and affirming care. Access to appropriate care is key in making sure that LGBTQ+ individuals do not become further traumatized as a result of seeking help. It also allows clients to facilitate emotional awareness, self-regulation, and acceptance of their identity; and decreases avoidance of difficult topics.3
An LGBTQ Affirming Therapist Will Provide a Safe, Nurturing Space for LGBTQ Affirming Therapy
However, not all therapists identify as LGBTQ+ affirming and it is important to ensure you are working with one who will provide a safe, nurturing space for therapy. This can be detrimental to individuals in the LGBTQ+ community who may not feel safe to open up about their experiences and emotions in therapy. LGBTQ+ individuals may struggle with their identity, so affirmative therapy works to restructure minority stress cognitions and negative beliefs about the self.
Empowering For Individuals
This type of therapy also empowers individuals to communicate assertively and validates their unique strengths. Additionally, it works to build supportive relationships between the therapist and client, as well as affirm healthy, rewarding expressions of sexuality. Having a strong, understanding relationship with a therapist that is LGBTQ+ affirming can be life-changing and make a significant impact on the overall health and well-being of an individual.
Tips for Finding an LGBTQ-Affirming Therapist in Los Angeles
Finding an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist in Los Angeles in the process of exploring and embracing one’s identity is not always easy. It’s a personal journey that can be heavily defined by how well-supported and validated one feels. Finding a therapist that understands you is imperative, so here are some tips for finding an affirming therapist:
Interview Potential Therapists
Make sure to interview any potential therapists to ensure they are a good fit for you. It is important that the therapist understands your identity and experiences, and has an understanding of LGBTQ+ affirmative care. However, in any situation where you need a therapist, it is important to always do your research.
Don’t Shy Away From Asking Challenging Questions
Asking questions is essential in finding the right therapist for you. Asking a potential therapist some questions to get an understanding of a therapist’s approach is key. These questions can be challenging ones about how they work, their theoretical approach, and what LGBTQ+ affirmative care looks like to them. These questions will help to inform you about the therapist’s approach and help you decide if they are a good fit for you.
Trust Your Gut
Just because a therapist states and identifies as affirming, that does not necessarily mean they are safe or adequately trained to provide affirmative and informed care. Therefore, it is important to trust your gut and make sure you feel comfortable with the therapist. If something does not feel right, it is best to trust that instinct and look for someone else. Finding the therapist that best suits you is essential; it should be a process of exploration to decide on the one that feels like the best fit.
Interested in LGBTQ+ Affirming Therapy in Los Angeles, CA?
Finding an LGBTQ-affirming therapist in Los Angeles can help to support and validate individuals, especially those who are exploring and embracing their identity. At Anchor Psychotherapy, Inc., we provide LGBTQ+-affirming therapy to help LGBTQ+ youth and adults create a strong, healthy foundation for themselves. Follow the steps below to get started on your journey to healing.
- Get to know more about our California therapy practice here.
- Fill out our easy and convenient online contact form.
- Begin your therapeutic journey with us today!
Other Mental Health Services Offered at Anchor Psychotherapy, Inc. in Los Angeles
In addition to LGBTQ+ Affirming therapy, we offer a wide variety of mental health services to support you throughout your mental health journey. This includes, but is not limited to, trauma, dissociative disorders, EMDR, eating disorders, family and child services, and group therapy.