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What can an LGBTQ-affirming therapist help with?

LGBTQ-affirmative therapists can help clients who are questioning their sexuality or gender identity explore those questions, as well as help those who identify as LGBTQ+ navigate the bias and heteronormativity that arises in everyday life. Clients who have been shamed or abused for their identity, especially by their family of origin, may struggle with depression or substance abuse as a result; affirmative therapy can help them heal and come to see their identity as a source of pride, not shame.

What is LGBTQ-affirming therapy?

Affirmative therapy is an approach that focuses on validating and respecting the identity of sexual and gender minority clients, particularly those whose identities have been rejected or shamed by others. LGBTQ-affirmative therapists will be versed in the negative effects of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and heteronormativity (the assumption that heterosexuality is “normal” and superior) and help clients navigate the challenges they present—as well as relationship problems, family tension, or other day-to-day concerns for which a client might seek therapy.

What are the advantages of seeing an LGBTQ-friendly therapist?

Seeing a therapist who is well-versed in LGBTQ+ affirmation and the challenges most often faced by LGBTQ+ individuals can create an environment for therapy that is welcoming, empowering, and psychologically safe. A therapist who is LGBTQ+-aligned will be cognisant of and respectful of a client’s lived experience.

How can I recognise an effective LGBTQ+ therapist?

Interested clients should look for therapists who have received training in LGBTQ+ issues and/or have worked closely with LGBTQ+ clients. Individuals should feel empowered to ask prospective therapists about their experience and comfort in discussing issues of gender and sexuality with clients. And while it is not necessary for a therapist to themselves be LGBTQ+ to be effective, some clients feel more comfortable seeing a therapist who shares their identity.