Finding LGBTQ-Affirming Therapists

Due to stigma, discrimination, and denial of civil/human rights, LGBTQ+-identifying people are often associated with higher rates of behavioral health disorders and suicide.

Finding equitable and safe healthcare can be an obstacle for those in the LGBTQ+ community. Accessible healthcare includes both physical and behavioral health, but there may be trouble finding supports that are affirming or even LGBTQ+-literate.

Finding a safe place to talk about things with other queer people is vital, especially for those dealing with mental health issue.

Talking to another LGBTQ+-identified person in a therapeutic setting can be a great way to establish a sense of safety and reduce anxiety or apprehension about the process of therapy. Having this relationship from the beginning may lead to individuals spending less time educating their therapist about their identity.

While it helps to find an LGBTQ+-identified person as a therapist, it is not necessary. At the very least, individuals should seek therapists who are gender affirming. This helps avoid having to justify your identity and creates a safe space without judgement.

Things to remember:

  • Many clients know quickly whether their therapist will be a good fit or if they need to keep looking.
  • Even with a therapist who is affirming, or LGBTQ+-identified, it still may take some time to discuss personal topics like sexuality.
  • Therapy will help tackle complex issues but requires time and patience.
  • Look for qualities of a safe provider: inclusive language on intake forms, asks clients about pronouns, or asks about relationships structures.

The first therapist may not work out; it is okay to try another (and another) until you find the right therapist
Humans connect in complex ways and it is important for individuals to identify what is driving the need for therapy. Sexual and gender identities are important facets of an individual, but others may place more priority to other aspects of their lives. When choosing a therapist, things like race, religion, therapeutic outlook, and modalities may be important for some to consider.

Therapy is a journey, but requires an individual to work hand-in-hand with their therapist. It is vital to give therapy a fair chance and try to be as open as you can. If your relationship does not feel safe or productive, you can seek another therapist. Finding the right therapist may not be easy, but if found, it could change your life.

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