There are several unique issues which can affect homosexuals or bisexuals, but generally those seeking help from a therapist will do so for the same reasons as most people. There may be problems with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, relationships or grief, which people of any sexual orientation have to contend with. There are also additional problems such as identity crises, support during “coming out” to friends and family, and dealing with either internalised or externally imposed homophobia. Counselling provides support to gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals whilst taking their unique requirements into consideration.
Although many counsellors may not be adequately prepared to deal with the unique issues presented by lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals, most problems are not related to sexuality. Anybody can struggle with stress at work, depression, problems in relationships and anxiety, and the treatment provided doesn’t change depending on your sexual orientation. Still, therapists who have a better understanding of homosexual and bisexual issues may be preferred by the individual. It’s important to remember that although talking to someone who is gay, lesbian or bisexual might be preferable, they need to have qualifications in counselling or psychology to offer effective assistance.
One of the unique problems gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals can have is with identity. Therapists can help individuals talk through these issues and determine their sexual orientation. The aim is to help the individual understand their sexuality and have confidence in their own identity. Therapy is ultimately an empowering process, and any negative or self-defeating thoughts will be indentified and dealt with.
Many homosexual or bisexual people also have trouble with the process of “coming out” (explaining their sexuality) to loved ones. Although most will understand, there is often an underlying concern that somebody will take the news badly. The person concerned might worry about the best way to raise the subject, or whether to tell family members one-to-one or as a group. If your relationship with a loved one has suffered since you came out, counsellors can suggest the best ways to rectify the situation and provide lasting emotional support to you.
Homophobia is misguided and psychologically damaging, but some people you encounter in day-to-day life may hold discriminatory opinions. If you or your loved one is regularly exposed to homophobic attitudes, outright abuse, name-calling or any other forms of discrimination, receiving psychological support is vital. Whilst some individuals appreciate that the people holding those views are completely wrong, in some cases it can have lasting and harmful psychological effects. Counsellors provide practical advice and emotional support to individuals exposed to homophobia, and can involve the police in the issue where required.
Although homosexuality and bisexuality are accepted by modern society, discriminatory opinions and misguided assumptions still slip through the cracks. Psychotherapy helps unearth these negative associations and breaks down harmful thought patterns to guarantee the psychological health of the individual. If you or your loved one is gay, lesbian or bisexual and is looking for psychological support, we can help you get the care you need. Therapy has a wide range of benefits, and help is provided with a wide range of specific and more general issues. We can help you determine your treatment requirements and find a therapist, so get in touch with us today!
For more information about our costs for LGBT counselling services please see the about us page.