You are looking for LGBTQ+ friendly counseling…searching for the right fit…somewhere to feel safe enough to begin…
Do you feel alone in your quest to better know yourself?
Are you having a hard time navigating your gender identity or sexuality in the world?
Does it feel hard to connect with groups of others and fear not quite fitting in?
Do you often feel only part of you is accepted in your relationships?
Do you find yourself oscillating between anger, grief, fear, and pride/relief in your identity?
Or, perhaps, you aren’t sure if you quite fit in the LGBTQ+ world….but have been thinking you might?
Sometimes, you may also feel pressure to look, behave, or speak a certain way to be accepted...but long to feel authentic and safe in your own skin. And wonder if this is possible or what this might even look like?
Being LGBTQ+ or Queer can sometimes make it difficult to find informed or welcoming services.
It can also be lonely, seeking to find others who understand you- or are open to your explorations as you are trying to understand yourself. There are others who feel similarly. The Gallop Study, reports 4.5%, or almost 15 million people in the United States self-identify as part of the LGBTQ+ population. This doesn’t account for those who do not self-identify for various reasons. Also, among millennials, the percentage that identify as LGBTQ+ jumps to just over 8%.
Many LGBTQ+ or Queer individuals don’t have many role models, healthy education, or supportive others in their lives that know how to help them develop into healthy adults. If this is you, it can leave you feeling isolated, depressed, anxious, worried there is something wrong with you, worried others won’t understand, and possibly feeling unsafe. Even with supportive family and friends, the journey of understanding yourself can be confusing and lonely.
If you do come out, or have come out, this is just the beginning of navigating social life, co-workers, medical professionals, and the LGBTQQIAA2S+ community itself. It can feel overwhelming, confusing, and perhaps intimidating. If you haven’t come out, navigating different hidden identities can create its own complexity.
LGBTQ+ informed therapy is one option for gaining support, space, and an opportunity to heal past wounding...or expand your capacity for self-compassion, self-love, and empowerment.
Therapy in an accepting, open, collaborative, and respectful space can help the journey feel less lonely, be more supported, and help you create a thriving life within our current U.S. culture. I am passionate about working with queer, lesbian, non-binary, trans/transgender, bisexual, genderqueer, gay, two-spirit, asexual, questioning, and others who identify/are curious if they identify within LGBTQ+. I want to acknowledge that some individuals find labels incredibly important and validating to their identity while others find them limiting and unhelpful. I honor your own personal relationship to these various locations and strive to support you in coming to your own conclusions about what is right for you.
I’ve found that many of my LGBTQ+ clients benefit from trauma-informed treatment modalities that work from a more collaborative lens. Because of this, you can expect therapy with me to be sensitive to complexity and collaborative in decision-making. We will also be looking at how the impacts of various social stressors/traumas on you may inform this process. Many LGBTQ+ individuals have been hurt by authority figures, or invalidated by systems, so working from a more collaborative perspective can help you feel more safety and control in your therapy process. Also, utilizing trauma-informed somatic and art therapies can facilitate greater connection to your own inner wisdom and healing opportunities to unwind the everyday trauma that many LGBTQ+ individuals hold within their bodies.
My own journey in relationship to this community has taken on many roles. I began working in this community back in 2006 when I became involved with the Queer Resource Center of Southern Oregon University while finishing up my undergraduate degree. Through this experience, I was able to receive training through the center and interface with a dynamic rural queer community. I also became involved with the nonprofit Lotus Rising Project, facilitating their young adult group titled Not Straight Not Sure, which was founded by Delaine Due, an art therapist teacher of mine. In addition to academic and organized work, I became connected and informed by the everyday lives of dear friends and loved ones who provided education on lived experiences of LGBTQQIAA2S+ identities outside of the academic realm I was used to. These early roots lead me to find flexibility, curiosity, love, and passion for supporting this creative and diverse community, ultimately leading me to pursue a Master’s Degree in order to provide more informed and quality services to this population.
Staying engaged in various related LGBTQ+ communities helps me continue to grow and expand myself, as this community is anything but static. I strive to stay educated and abreast of relevant concerns in the community, while also acknowledging that I will not have all of the answers. Rather, I view my role of one of being open, curious, and holding an understanding that you know more about your own identity and process than I will. I can provide the questions, space, resources, and acceptance to help you feel more confident in the next step of your journey. I won’t tell you what the right thing to do is, as this is unique to everyone. But I can help you ask yourself some good questions and support you in coming closer to what is true/healthy for you.
If you are part of this population and seeking services, I would like you to know that LGBTQ+ identities are not problems to be fixed, or treated. This part of you is a strength and provides you with unique insight on the world. The world needs you and this wisdom. Therapy for LGBTQ+ individuals is focused on managing systemic structures that oppress you, finding voice, finding self- love/acceptance, healing any harm done to you, and helping you thrive in the world. I cannot take away the structures that harm, but I can help you navigate them with support. You are not alone.
You may be interested in Queer Friendly therapy but still wonder a few things...
I’m having my own uncomfortable judgments about myself, how do I know that I’m not just “making this up”?
It is common to feel confused and unsure when exploring what gender identity and sexuality is for you. We are generally told from a young age what is expected of us and tend to conform to stay connected to our family and friends. It can be hard to really know what is “true” for us sometimes. I encourage reading books, listening to others’ stories, talking to a therapist trained in helping you learn how to listen to yourself/trust yourself, and give yourself plenty of space and patience. There is no rush here and no need to jump to a defined answer. I’m most interested in supporting you in being a healthy “you”, whatever that might be. Sometimes it is important to live the question and the answers will come.
I don’t know if I want to “come out” publicly or not, do I have to “come out” if I go to therapy?
This is never a requirement. Coming out is a personal choice and is informed by many factors. I work with clients who do not wish to come out to their community and also with those who feel driven to. For some people, coming out helps them feel more congruent and safe within themselves. For others, not coming out is related to safety, survival, and their own desire for privacy. We can discuss the pros and cons of coming out in your unique circumstances. If you do decide to come out, we can navigate the communications/process together. If you decide not to come out, we will create goals set around this and identify how you wish to hold this piece in your life.
I’m considering transitioning, can you help with that process?
I do talk with clients about the pros/cons of various transitions options, such as HRT or surgery, if that is a part of your exploration. I don’t push a decision either way, as this choice is up to what feels congruent for you. I can help you unpack these pieces to gain more clarity for yourself. If you need to have coordination with a medical provider, I’m happy to do so for ongoing clients.
Having an LGBTQ+ informed space can ease the fear...allowing you to address what is most important to you...
The clients I work with tell me that they feel comfortable talking about their gender identity and sexuality with me in the first session. Often describing the relief and gratitude they feel to have a space dedicated to supporting them. They describe feeling accepted and believing I will be open to hearing whatever they are thinking about or wondering. They also describe then finding it easier to discuss other themes as well, whether or not these are LGBTQ+ specific.
It can be both exciting and nerve racking to reach out for support...
If you have any more questions or you would like to “test the waters,” please let me know. I offer a complimentary in-person consultation for us to meet, you to ask questions, and so you can get a feel for what work with me would look like before you commit. I’m also happy to touch base by phone or email prior to meeting. If it seems like I am not able to provide what you need, I’m also happy to provide referrals that may match your needs more fully.