What Does It Mean To Be An LGBT+ or Queer-Affirmative Psychotherapist?

Although all counsellors and psychotherapists are ethically required to act in a non-discriminatory way, this isn’t enough to fully meet the hugely diverse needs of the LGBT+ community. There is much more that needs to be done to not only welcome and support, but affirm, each LGBT+ person we meet. Here are some ways I do this at Therapy Leeds:

▫️Queering the theories I was taught in training given that many are based on heteronormative and binary ideas of individual development, sexuality, gender, and what family looks like.

▫️ Educating myself on LGBT+ history, including how my profession has discriminated against this community in the past.

▫️Staying up to date with legislation, world issues, and statutory processes specific to LGBT+ folks such as the process of accessing gender-affirming medical treatment.

▫️Respecting your individual perspective, lived experience, and wishes on how much you want to include your LGBT+ identity as a focus of our conversations.

▫️Knowing that sexuality and gender are parts of a larger, multi-faceted identity you have which intersect which each other. I also know that each of these are likely to have value, and personal meaning to you.

▫️Being respectful, open-minded, and non-judgemental knowing that there is diversity in how people can experience and express their gender, sexuality, and relationships.

▫️Doing the work I need to do to educate myself as needed, rather than expecting others to teach me. This avoids replicating the work you are implicitly and explicitly asked to do in many spaces in the world, which is not your job to take up unless you choose to do so. Psychotherapy is a space for you to be supported, rather than having to support others.

▫️Enabling you to be more emotionally resilient so that no matter how you identity at any one time, you can face your personal circumstances without feeling overwhelmed.

▫️Knowing that people may be uncomfortable with experiencing, and identifying outside of heterosexual and binary gender categories – even if this is how they feel.

▫️Understanding that, even if you know how you identify and feel comfortable with this, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t things to consider and explore about you, and your community.

▫️ Doing work outside of the psychotherapy room to support the LGBT+ community, including extending resources, skills, power and time I have especially where others might not.

If you’d like to explore working together within this perspective, get in touch.

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