THERAPY FOR GAY AND LESBIAN CLIENTS
At Beachside Therapy our gay-affirmative approach to psychotherapy recognizes the immense value of each gay and lesbian person’s well-being, and seeks to create a safe and supportive environment for personal acceptance and growth.
A nurturing, gay-positive environment can serve as a critical counter-force to some of the homophobia that prevails in many areas of our society. A gay affirmative environment can also feel wonderfully empowering for many heterosexual and bisexual individuals who are seeking support for their own “differentness.”
Beachside therapists, some of whom are gay themselves, will also help you effectively address the destructive effects of internalized homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia that can be seen as primary causes for the depression, anxiety, substance abuse, unsafe sex, and other difficult challenges faced by many LGBT individuals.
THERAPY FOR BISEXUAL CLIENTS
A bisexual person is someone who is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to people of either gender. Many people who experience a wide range of feelings towards both men and women will self-identify as bisexual.
Bisexuals tend to believe and accept there is a wide spectrum of feelings and identities people experience in relationship with others. The level of emotion and attraction a bisexual feels toward another can vary greatly from person to person but these levels are likely to be based on qualities other than gender.
Sadly, bisexuals often feel unaccepted by Heterosexuals, as well as by both Gays and Lesbians, because they don’t “pick a team” or define themselves as straight or gay. It is not unusual for a bisexual to be treated with suspicion or contempt by members of other populations.
Therapy with bisexuals is “affirmative” in that our therapists work in a positive and supportive manner to help our clients appreciate their sexual identity, cope with biphobia, and work through other issues which might be troubling them.
THERAPY FOR TRANSGENDER CLIENTS
There are some individuals who feel that they are not born their correct gender. They feel that the person who they see in the mirror everyday doesn’t match the person they feel on the inside.
We call this a gender identity issue or gender dysmorphia, which is “the condition of feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one’s biological sex.”
This is a major conflict that these individuals endure, typically from early childhood, and they feel misunderstood, isolated and unable to relate to others who are confident in their own gender identity.
We assist these clients in a very open and supportive nature and our role is that of a “transition assistant,” allowing the client to have someone to assist them in finding possible ways of expressing gender physically and socially.”
I will ask them to communicate to me what it has been like to live in a dual life and where they are in that journey. Many transgender clients seek counseling when they are at the stage where would like to transition to the gender that feel they were truly born.
According to the DSM V, we must determine that there is a “marked difference between the individual’s expressed/experienced gender and the gender others would assign him or her, and it must have continued for at least six months.
In children, the desire to be of the other gender must be present and verbalized. This condition causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”
After seeing the adult client for a few sessions and if we determine that this is the case, we can eventually recommend they seek treatment options which may include further counseling, cross-sex hormones, gender reassignment surgery, and social and legal transition to the desired gender. We will provide documentation to the physician, in the form of referral letter, about the patient’s personal and treatment history, progress, and eligibility. Children and adolescent clients require more assessment and family discussions.
Transgender clients deal with a heightened form of stigma, discrimination and suicidal ideation. They often “come out” as gay and then realize that they are dealing with a gender identity issue and not a sexual identity issue. We work with our clients to understand how other others may perceive them and accept their inborn identity. Our wish is to help them self-actualize and become the person they truly are supposed to be in their life.