(And even those just questioning)

Fortunately, the role of therapy for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons (sexual minorities) has undergone a
revolution in modern times. In the past, persons from sexual minorities were suspicious of therapists - and for good
reason! Often, the goal of therapy was to help “sexual deviants” become more healthy, happy, adaptive heterosexuals. While a few therapists still support these goals, called “reparative therapy”, most mental health professionals deem them damaging and unethical.

Same-sex attraction has been removed from the official list of psychiatric illnesses: It is neither an illness, nor a deficiency or weakness. Still, knowing this doesn’t make the road an easy one. Questioning one’s own sexuality can be an overwhelming and frightening process. Many begin this endeavor early in life, with distant recollections of “always feeling different.” Still others are somewhat surprised and distressed to first recognize these feelings well into adult life. Developing a solid self-esteem and positive relationships can be a struggle. Fortunately, this work doesn’t have to happen alone.

The American Psychological Association has proposed guidelines for therapy with sexual minorities. These recommendations are vast in scope and underscore the importance of “affirmative” therapy. Affirmative therapy views non-heterosexual persons as developmentally natural, normal, and healthy. Much of the struggle comes in recognizing the difficulties of existing in a heterosexual world with its heterosexual norms and expectations. A mere “openness” on the part of a therapist may be insufficient to address the multitude of specific issues faced by sexual minorities (or even those just questioning).

Specific and unique issues in therapy may include: dating, sexual relationships, social relationships, family, parenting, prejudice, shame, secrecy, health, drugs and alcohol, cultural norms, values, beliefs, violence, career, spirituality, etc. Additional specific considerations should be given to sexual minorities who also represent youth, older adults, persons with disabilities, or one or more other minority groups. The role of therapy for sexual minorities is undeniably clear: to understand, care, and help - not to judge, blame, and control.

For more on this therapist and other articles, go to http://www.therapylinx.com.

Author's Bio: 

Tony Miles, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Denver, CO 802
720-205-9752 - Office