• Breaking Barriers to Quality Mental Health Care for LGBTQ Youth

    A smiling couple watching TV with their pride socks in focus.

    We live in a society where heterosexual relationships are the norm. Many heterosexual people have difficulty accepting individuals with a different sexual orientation than theirs.

    LGBTQ Folks Fight Several Battles Everyday

    Though societal attitudes towards homosexuality have changed drastically over the past few years, LGBTQ folks still face discrimination at work, home and in public places daily. They are humiliated and chastised for their gender identity and sexual orientation. Discrimination can scar a person’s psyche forever.

    In many cases, family members and friends of LGBTQ folks turn their back on their loved ones. When a person who identifies themselves as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender or queer is forced to fight life’s battles alone, their mental health may take a hit.

    Traditional Therapy Does Not Work for LGBTQ Folks

    When it comes to making healthcare accessible for LGBTQ folks, deep-rooted prejudices are the biggest barriers to inclusion. Making matters worse is the fact that therapists who treat heterosexual people aren’t equipped to understand the unique challenges that LGBTQ folks face daily and may suggest that they either hide their feelings or ignore them.

    Many misguided therapists try to change their patients’ sexual orientation using aversion therapy. What’s worse, some therapists even try to label their LGBTQ patients as sex addicts as a way to explain their “abnormal” thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Needless to say, these tactics can do more harm than good, and the person may find themselves buried under the weight of guilt and shame.

    How LGBTQ-Affirmative Therapy Helps

    The goal of LGBT-friendly therapy near you in Manhattan is to help people who are struggling to accept their sexual orientations and gender identity understand that their thoughts, feelings and desires aren’t abnormal.

    LGBTQ-affirmative therapy identifies acceptance and integration as keys to healing. An LGBTQ-friendly therapist never tells their patients to change or suppress their thoughts. They emphasize the importance of feeling comfortable in one’s own skin, and help their patients shrug off guilt and shame, so they stop self-deprecating and can develop a positive attitude.

    One of the reasons why LGBTQ-friendly therapy works is the fact that many LGBTQ-friendly therapists are either part of the LGBTQ community themselves or have a loved one who identifies themselves as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, or queer. They do not consider LGBTQ folks any different from straight people. An experienced LGBTQ-friendly therapist understands how LGBTQ folks internalize hurtful and disempowering messages.

    LGBTQ-affirmative therapists:

    ➢ Educate their clients about homophobia, heterosexism, transphobia, and bi-phobia and the different ways in which these biases manifest themselves.

    ➢ Help their clients better understand the coming out and self-discovery processes.

    ➢ Educate their clients about different forms of bigotry and the ways in which shame forms and prevents them from living a fulfilling life.

    Cooper Mental Health Counseling is committed to helping make healthcare accessible for all. Our therapists use their skills and in-depth understanding of the human psyche to get to the root cause of mental health problems. To make an appointment, call (347) 244-7873.


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