LGBTQIA Mental Health & Wellness: Written by Laura Gracia

Struggles with mental health and wellness are experienced universally and, in any case, seeking therapy can be a wonderful way to address the concerns you have. Working with a therapist can help you to reach your goals, improve your relationships, increase your emotional intelligence, and manage and address symptoms of a mental health diagnosis. Although everyone can benefit from the insights gained and the work done in therapy, those who are LGBTQIA identifying can face unique struggles that threaten their mental health and therefore may profit especially from seeking therapy.

Mental Health Concerns for the LGBTQ+ community

Perhaps unsurprisingly, due to the many challenges they face, those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, intersex, asexual, or queer are significantly more likely to experience depression or another mental health concern when compared to their straight peers. They are also more likely to struggle with substance abuse and are far more likely to experience suicidal ideation, engage in self-harming behaviors, or attempt suicide.

Reasons for seeking therapy

While some progress has been made, members of the queer community continue to regularly experience stigma, prejudice, discrimination, and bullying. These experiences can be particularly distressing and detrimental to one’s emotional well-being and may lead one to pursue therapy. Another common motivation for seeking therapy that is unique to LGBTQIA individuals are the effects of coming out. The pressure, stress, anxiety, and social consequences related to the disclosure process are often difficult to handle. If you have come out to family and friends already and are dealing with the effects this has had on your relationships, or if you have not and are worried about doing so, speaking with a therapist can help you process these thoughts and feelings.

I aim to offer an inclusive and unbiased approach to therapy. I have always understood the importance of tolerance and empathy, and have enjoyed working with diverse clients from all backgrounds. Whether or not the presenting concern is related to sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, you can be sure that I am a champion for all my clients and an ally of the queer community in and out of therapy. My clients would agree I am a safe, sensitive, and affirming therapist. I have strived to become competent in working with a wide variety of issues that are unique to the queer community, including receiving specific training in conducting therapy with gender and sexually diverse individuals. I believe that people are people and love is love, and it doesn’t concern me whether or not someone identifies as gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, or questioning. Nor if you are cisgender, trans, nonbinary, or intersex. We can all use a little help in reaching our goals, and I am happy to be a positive, safe, and sensitive therapist that works with all my clients to help them do so.

Written by Laura Gracia, Student Therapist