From a personal and professional perspective, I believe that everyone deserves to have a safe and non-judgmental place from which they can receive nurturance for who they are and support for their struggles.
“Living in a heterosexist society inevitably poses challenges to people with non-heterosexual orientations.” Listed below are some of the “guidelines” published by the American Psychological Association, written in my own words, which indicate my care and commitment to the well-being of all sexual and gender identities.
- I strive to understand the effects of stigma (i.e., prejudice, discrimination, and violence) and the many ways it can impact the lives of people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. As a heterosexual, cisgender therapist, there is no way to truly “know” these effects first-hand, but I will embrace your story and learn about your unique struggle.
- I fully believe and ascribe that lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations are not mental illnesses. Historical understandings do not define my perspective or practice.
- Sexual attraction, feelings, and behavior exist on a continuum with infinite points along the line between same-sex and opposite-sex orientations. Further, any efforts to change sexual orientation have not been shown to be effective or safe, and because non-heterosexual orientations are not mental illnesses, there is no reason to try and change it. I will not engage in any therapeutic strategy that incorporates “conversion therapy,” which has shown to be ineffective and harmful.
- I am ethically mandated to maintain awareness of my own attitudes and knowledge about lesbian, gay, and bisexual issues and the ways in which my views may impact fair and effective assessment and treatment of LGBT-identified individuals. I will seek consultation or make appropriate referrals when necessary to ensure you received the best care possible.
- I strive to recognize the unique experiences of individuals who identify as bisexual, and I do not believe that your bisexual identity is transitional between heterosexual and lesbian/gay orientations or that you are “confused.” Individuals identifying as bisexual may struggle with the invisibility of this identity, and the variability within-group that exists in the bisexual community.
- I am keenly aware of the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity, which are unique and mutually exclusive concepts. I will never assume that presenting with concerns in one area means that you struggle with the other.
- I recognize the importance of lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships, and the unique struggles that can exist for these relationships.
- I strive to understand the experiences and challenges faced by lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents, on top of the inherently difficult role of being a parent.
- I respect that the families of individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender may include people who are not legally or biologically related, and I support the development of “family of choice” in order to create an affirming social network.
Individuals identifying as LGBT may present to therapy for concerns such as identity development, coming-out, rejection, or workplace discrimination; however, they may also present to therapy for issues related to stress, depression, anxiety, and grief which are unrelated to their sexual or gender identity. I look forward to working to understanding your concerns with you without assumption, bias, or stigma.