Houston LGBTQIA Issues Counseling
we treat LGBTQIA+ issues
At our core, we all want to feel heard, seen, and accepted for exactly who we are. Some in the LGBTQIA+ community, however, do not have a supportive network of people who love and care for them unconditionally.
Therapy, however, can offer a safe place to heal, explore, and celebrate all parts of ourselves.
Mental health and the LGBTQIA+ community
Every person deserves to have their identity understood and validated, but a lack of mental healthcare that is LGBTQIA+-affirming creates serious barriers to treatment.
Not only has the LGBTQIA+ community suffered discrimination within the larger society, but the field of psychology has pathologized sexual and gender differences to further harm and stigmatize this marginalized population. Historical “treatment” practices were abusive and focused on shaming and converting anyone who didn’t fit societal norms.
Even with more awareness of sexual and gender differences today, LGBTQIA+ persons may avoid disclosing their orientation or identity to healthcare providers due to a fear of misunderstanding, invalidation, disrespect, or discrimination.
Why is LGBTQIA-affirming care so important?
You deserve mental health care from a therapist that is affirming and understands the unique experiences and challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community.
In the mental health field, some therapists may not agree with or approve of the feelings, thinking, beliefs, behavior, or lifestyle of the LGBTQIA+ and see them as confused, lost, or abhorrent.
Even accepting, well-intentioned therapists may have received little to no sexual or gender diversity training in graduate school and may not be adequately prepared to work with the LGBTQIA+ population. Class discussions and case vignettes tend to focus on heterosexual and cisgender populations, leaving counselors underprepared to confidently understand and meet the needs of LGBTQIA+ clients.
Being neutral and non-judging is not enough. Mental health professionals must embrace a positive view of LGBTQIA+ individuals and address the discrimination, victimization, trauma, and violence experienced by this community. Specific expertise is needed to deconstruct the history of oppression, support healing, and develop healthy responses to daily microaggression. Learning about how to support the mental health needs of those with diverse gender and sexual identities and orientations should be a career-long, active, and humble process for helping professionals.
LGBTQIA-affirming therapists are aware of their hetero and gender normative assumptions, use correct terminology or ask when in doubt, seek continued education on diversity, and know the LGBTQIA+ resources in their community. Whether they belong to or are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community, these therapists understand their unique experiences and provide a trusting space for healing and growth to occur.
What are some unique therapeutic tasks for LGBTQIA+ clients?
Each person’s focus in counseling will be different based on the severity and diversity of their presenting issues. I working with LGBTQIA+ persons in therapy, there are some distinctive tasks, however.
• Exploration of one’s gender and sexual orientation with sensitivity and validation
• Process shame
• Challenge negative, internalized beliefs about oneself
• Learn self-love and acceptance
• Explore coming out to one’s family and community
• Process family and community rejection
• Cope with past and current bullying, prejudice, and oppression
• Support connection with the LGBTQIA+ community
How do I find an LGBTQIA-friendly and affirming therapist?
The Resilience Center of Houston has many Therapists that specialize in working with LGBTQIA+ clients. With compassion and skill, these licensed therapists use their special knowledge and training to provide quality, affirming care to support those with sexual and gender diversity. Start your healing journey today with a caring professional you can trust.
What does LGBTQIA+ mean?
This acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual. The + holds space for the expanding understanding of gender and sexual orientation and identity.
The LBGT term was developed in the 1990s as a step toward inclusion at a time when a marginalized group of people was collectively called the “gay community.” Despite the intention, the acronym has proven to be limiting. As understanding and attitudes have continued to evolve, the language we use to talk about gender and sexuality has also changed. Since the 20th century, other words and letters have been added to the LGBT acronym to include other groups.
What are the definitions for the terms around sexuality and gender identity?
Below is a list of terms relevant to gender identity and sexual orientation and practice. These definitions are not universal; each person may define themselves differently. This list is not exhaustive; as our understanding and awareness in society shifts, so does the adopted lexicon.
Describes a person whose physical, romantic, or emotional attraction is toward those of the same sex.
A woman whose physical, romantic, or emotional attraction is toward other women.
Stands for women who like women.
Stands for men who like men.
Describes a person who is physically attracted to those of a gender other than their own. Also known as “Straight.”
Describes a person who can develop a physical, romantic, or emotional attraction toward men or women.
Describes a person who is sexually or romantically attracted to people regardless of their sex or gender.
Describes a person who experiences no sexual attraction. Also known as “Ace.”
Describes a person who rarely feels sexual attraction or interest in sexual activity and only toward those with whom they have an emotional bond.
Describes a person who experiences little to no romantic attraction or has little to no desire to form romantic relationships. Also known as “Aro.”
Describes a relationship orientation in which one is consensually in or open to multiple loving relationships at the same time.
Describes a wide spectrum of sexual activities and forms of interpersonal relationships that may include bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism.
Describes unconventional, consensual sexual practices, like playing out desires and fantasies, BDSM, leather, wax play, etc.
Describes a person who is nonconforming in their sexuality or gender.
Describes a person who is questioning their sexual or gender identity or orientation.
Describes an experience of discomfort or distress due to a mismatch between a person’s sex assigned at birth and their gender identity.
Describes a person whose gender identity does not align with the sex the person was assigned at birth.
Describes a person assigned male at birth who identifies as a woman.
Describes a person assigned female at birth who identifies as a man.
When a trans individual is perceived as a cisgender man or woman.
Describes a name that someone uses to affirm their gender identity that differs from their legal name.
Taking steps to live as one’s true gender identity. Transitioning may involve outward appearance (clothing, hair), bodily interventions (medical interventions, hormones, surgery), social presentation (pronouns, Lived Name), and legal changes.
Describes a person who does not identify as male or female and uses many different terms to describe themselves.
The 2 stands for two-spirit, a term used by some indigenous populations to represent gender and sexual diversity.
Describes a person whose gender is masculine and feminine or in between masculine and feminine.
Describes a person whose gender identity or presentation shifts.
A gender expression that describes a woman or trans person that fits societal definitions of masculinity.
A gender expression that describes a woman or trans person that fits societal definitions of femininity.
Describes a person who dresses, in some measure, as a member of a gender other than their assigned sex.
Describes a gender identity that society deems to match the person’s assigned sex at birth.
Describes a person whose genitals, reproductive organs, or chromosomes fall outside the traditional concepts of male or female bodies at birth. Medical providers and parents make the decision to assign a sex (male or female) at birth that may or may not match the person’s gender identity.
Stands for assigned female at birth and may be used by those who identify as transgender, nonbinary, or intersex.
Stands for assigned male at birth and may be used by those who identify as transgender, nonbinary, or intersex.
The Resilience Center of Houston supports sexual and gender-affirming care. Find a Therapist that has a special interest in working with LGBTQIA+ clients today.
What are the different types of anxiety disorders?
What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Generalized anxiety disorder involves excessive and persistent worry that interferes with daily life. Relentless worry results in physical symptoms, like restlessness, feeling on edge, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, exhaustion, and sleep problems. Topics of worry typically center on everyday matters, like appointments, home repairs, work responsibilities, and family health.
What is Panic Disorder?
Panic Disorder is characterized by recurrent Panic Attacks. Panic attacks present with severe and overwhelming psychological and physical distress, involving some of the below symptoms.
What are the physical symptoms of Panic Disorder?
Shortness of breath
Tightness in the chest
Numbness or tingling
What are the psychological symptoms of Panic Disorder?
Feeling like you’re having a heart attack
Feeling like you’re going to die
Feeling impending doom
Feeling like you’re going crazy
Feeling like you’re losing touch with reality
Fearing you’ll lose control of yourself
Constant worry about when you’ll have your next panic attack
Fear you’ll embarrass yourself
What are Phobias?
A specific phobia involves intense and persistent fear of a particular object, situation or activity that is generally not dangerous. The experienced distress is acute and leads sufferers to go to extreme lengths to avoid what they fear.
What are common phobias?
Fear of driving
Fear of flying
Fear of vomiting
Fear of needles
Fear of confined spaces
Fear of being alone
Fear of leaving the house
What is Agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is characterized by the fear of being trapped or stuck in circumstances in which escape may be difficult or embarrassing, or help might not be easily available. The fear is acutely distressing and interferes with normal daily activities. The person typically avoids the situation, needs a companion, or experiences extreme anxiety.
What are common situations agoraphobics fear?
Leaving the home
What is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder ?
PTSD can develop after a severe physical or emotional trauma such as a sexual assault, natural disaster, or serious accident. Those with PTSD feel intensely upsetting thoughts and emotions connected to their traumatic experience that persist long after the situation happened.
What are PTSD symptoms?
The symptoms of PTSD can be categorized into four areas.
Intrusion – repeated, unwanted thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks of the event
Avoidance – steering clear of people, places, activities, and objects that are associated with the event.
Changes in cognition and mood – loss of interest, distorted thinking, difficulties concentrating, loss of certain memories, negative emotions, hypervigilance, social withdrawal, and anhedonia.
Changes in behavior – social withdrawal, anger outbursts, recklessness, sensitive startle response, problems sleeping.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social Anxiety Disorder involves excessive discomfort in social situations and a fear of experiencing embarrassment, judgment, humiliation, condescension, or rejection in social situations that can negatively impact work, school, and other daily activities. People with this disorder will try to avoid social situations or endure them with great anxiety.
What are commonly feared situations for those with social anxiety?
Commonly feared situations include attending parties, interacting at work, eating in public, or engaging in unscripted interactions.
What are common Social Anxiety symptoms?
Mind goes blank
Speaks very softly
Avoids eye contact
What is Separation Anxiety Disorder?
Separation Anxiety Disorder is is characterized by excessive fear of being away from those we are close to, who are also called attachment persons.
What are signs of Separation Anxiety Disorder?
Anticipation of potential separation causes mounting fear
Persistent worry about the negative consequences resulting from separation
Obsessive focus on the multitude of situations that could lead to separation
Interferes with attending important activities, like work or school
Fears of sleeping outside the home and away from attachment persons
Nightmares about separation
Headaches, nausea, or vomiting
What is Selective Mutism?
Selective Mutism is a rare and debilitating childhood condition that involves a failure to speak in certain situations in which there is a natural expectation to speak. A child may talk at home, for example, and be nonverbal at school. The absence of spoken communication can significantly interfere with the child’s academic achievement and can stunt their social development and the formation of relationships with others. It is theorized that Selective Mutism may be an early and specific manifestation of Social Anxiety Disorder.
What are behaviors associated with Selective Mutism?