Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer can bring with it a range of challenges that show themselves in families, workplaces, friendships, and wider society. Although public awareness and human rights have evolved dramatically in the last two generations, the impact of homophobia persists. If you identify as LGBTQ and feel in need of a safe and respectful place to explore this aspect of your experience, a psychotherapist can be a valuable resource. Therapists listed with Toronto Psychotherapy Group aim to provide empathic psychotherapeutic help that takes into account your being and history in its fullness, which includes your sexual orientation.
Common Therapeutic Concerns Associated with LGBTQ Issues
The therapeutic exploration of your life is only possible with someone who values the diversity and breadth of human identities. That includes sexuality and gender expression, which is fluid in every one of us.
Toronto Psychotherapy Group therapists are also aware that none of us can be reduced to a single label or identity, whether this is political affiliation, race, gender, or sexual orientation. If you are considering therapy, you may be doing so with a whole range of concerns in mind. You may be experiencing depression, anxiety, or troubles in creating or maintaining a relationship; you may find yourself trapped in patterns of unhealthy behaviours, or struggling with substance abuse. If you are an LGBTQ-identified person considering therapy with a TPG-listed therapist, you can assume that the fullness of your experience will be taken into account, whether what you wish to explore in therapy is LGBTQ-related or not.
LGBTQ is a very broad category that includes many diverse individuals facing a wide range of challenges. Issues that are sometimes related to being LGBTQ and that can be addressed in psychotherapy include:
- The coming out process
- Career and workplace challenges
- Discrimination and oppression
- Dating, commitment, and marriage
- Monogamy vs. polyamory or open relationships
- Sex and kink (e.g. BDSM, role-playing)
- Sex reassignment surgery (SRS)
- HIV status
- Self-esteem and self-acceptance
- Cultural and/or religious identity
- Extended families and kinship networks
- Community-building and political action
- Conceiving / raising a child in a LGBTQ partnership
Many issues that can be addressed in therapy are specific to a particular gender identity or sexual orientation. For example, if you are transgendered, you might be seeking psychotherapeutic help with SRS, gender transitions, or body image issues; depending on your HIV status, you might be struggling with sero-discordance in your relationships; LGBTQ individuals may need a forum for sorting through issues around domestic partnership and marriage, parenting, and surrogacy, adoption, or fostering of a child.
Whatever your issue, your therapist will work with you to define your therapeutic interests and goals, and help you establish the basis and strength for personal growth.
Treatment: How Therapists Work with LGBTQ-Related Concerns
Therapists listed with Toronto Psychotherapy Group will be available to help you address a range of problems, and will not limit your therapy experience to your sexual orientation or gender identity. The focus will be on offering a safe space to consider the full range of issues you wish to address (click here for a list of other issues addressed by TPG therapists). Generally speaking, therapeutic treatment related to sexual orientation is likely to include:
- Exploring your specific and unique history and experience of being LGBTQ
- Looking at with whom and why acceptance of this may have been a problem
- Coping with unprocessed emotions and beliefs related to this non-acceptance
- Discussing wishes and challenges related to your sex life
- Considering practical changes that would improve your current quality of life
- Addressing any concerns you consider separate from your LGBTQ identity
- Discovery of your internal strengths to make managing all this easier
Learning More about LGBTQ-Related Issues in Psychotherapy
It is true that, particularly in the past, the practices of psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy were tainted by homophobia. Every legitimate division of the profession seeks to redress the stigma, heterosexism, violence, and discrimination that the field of psychology has been historically marked by.
The Code of Ethics for Registered Psychotherapists in Ontario affirms the “diversity and the dignity, and rights, of all persons” and can be viewed on the College Website:
The American Psychological Association has formalized and standardized anti-discriminatory guidelines for psychological practice with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. They can be viewed here: