Out On The Couch
Traumatic invalidation carries significant implications for therapists working with LGBTQIA+ clients. It is crucial to understand what traumatic invalidation is, its discernible effects on LGBTQIA+ people, and how society contributes to an invalidating environment for historically marginalized communities. For mental health professionals, understanding and addressing traumatic invalidation within the context of working with LGBTQIA+ communities [...]
A Rise in Self-Diagnosis
Some DSM-trained clinicians may bristle when a patient identifies with a mental health diagnosis they have come to informally. In recent months, a common concern voiced in supervision and among mental health providers is the increase in patients and clients questioning if they embody characteristics of Autism.
Self-reflection is arguably a [...]
How It Begins
Any life transition is hard. The human condition is a complicated one at best. It is riddled with pain, sorrow, confusion, darkness, and the unknown. However, that also comes with the gift of growth, beauty, love, happiness, peace and of course courage to live the life each of us deserves. As these [...]
As you may know, April is Autism Acceptance Month. As knowledge of autism continues to grow and change with every year—and there are a greater number of adults who know that they are autistic—we wanted to highlight a few things that can help affirmative therapists work with their autistic clients.
Avoid Using Functioning Labels[...]
Being an affirmative psychotherapist is an important job. It’s easy to get caught up in caring for others and overlook your own well-being. While doing psychotherapy may be seen as “selfless,” it should never be “self-sacrificing.” For your sake, and for the sake of your clients, it is crucial to take a step back and [...]
Relationships between therapists and clients can involve vulnerability. Exploring topics related to identity is delicate work. Both client and therapist may be impacted by their education, knowledge, and preconceptions. Moreover, therapy often requires discomfort. None of this is news but: but managing conflict while centering your client’s experiences takes skill and experience.
Affirmative therapy requires [...]
The fight for LGBTQ+ rights has come a long way, but the battle for acceptance is far from over. Therapists working with clients who are members of the LGBTQ+ community commonly see elevated rates of mental health challenges in this population, including anxiety, depression, trauma, disordered eating, and even suicidal ideation (Young & Fisher-Borne, 2018). Many [...]
Over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, community relationships have shifted to a location primarily online. The centrality and importance of technology-mediated relationships is now an established interest within the fields of social work and psychology (Trepte et al., 2017, Okdie et al., 2018) along with social and relational conflicts like cancel [...]
A key aspect for therapists practicing affirmative psychotherapy is deconstructing heteronormativity. Defined by the American Psychological Association as “the assumption that heterosexuality is the standard for defining normal sexual behavior,” heteronormativity stems from a long-standing, embedded cultural belief that traditional gender roles are unchanging and omnipotent. (2022) Taken a step further, heteronormativity becomes compulsory heterosexuality [...]
Self-Disclosure and Community Building
We know that LGBTQIA+ community members are resourceful and resilient. We also know about startling disparities in the mental health of queer and trans individuals v. that of cisgender and heterosexual ones. As a queer femme clinical social worker who has spoken openly and published about my own lived experience of [...]
Are you a mental health professional wondering how to make your office an LGBTQIA+ friendly space? Providing an inclusive space where LGBTQIA+ clients feel welcome can help them open up and feel comfortable seeking care. To help you craft an open environment where your clients can freely be themselves, here are five ways to create a welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ clients.
As the mental health field makes inroads toward inclusive and equitable practice, efforts to understand the needs of polyamorous people are expanding beyond the basics (Johnson, 2013). Moreover, it is important to ensure polyamorous therapists are included in that discussion. As practitioners, we are examining ourselves for opportunities to better meet the needs of [...]
To be a Black Gay Man with an addiction to crystal meth, is to be stuck between to worlds. This article will explore ways that psychotherapists can provide affirmative therapy with Black Gay men addicted to methamphetamines. The first two articles of this series, Affirmative Therapy: Crystal Meth in the Black Gay Community and [...]
Clinics, treatment centers, and group practices play an important role in the communities they serve. Power flows through every relationship from the individual dyad in treatment to a community clinic’s relationship with federal policy (Hess & Schultz, 2008). Moreover, these dynamics can be seen as both a commodity and resource (Peterson & Zimmerman, 2004) in [...]
Gerald Caplan is seminal in developing some of the early theories of consulting work (Caplan, 1960). Caplan worked in Israel after World War II providing mental health support to 16,000 displaced and orphaned teens in overwhelmed residential and refugee facilities (Mendoza, 1993). Caplan’s resources were limited, and his team had no way of serving the [...]
With the global COVID-19 pandemic continuing into its second year, the conversation around access to healthcare has never been more relevant. For many people, going to a doctor for an annual physical was not feasible before the pandemic, whether due to lack of insurance coverage, financial cost, taking time off from work, transportation issues, or [...]
LGBTQIA+ Affirmative Mental Health During the Pandemic
The stress and anxiety wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic may be universal–so many of us face fears of the virus itself, not to mention job loss, illness striking our loved ones, and myriad missed social, professional, and financial opportunities–but all of us experience these differently. Just as everyone’s [...]
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
In 12-step treatment settings, the Serenity Prayer often makes an appearance at the beginning or end of a group session in substance abuse treatment. Drawn from the Christian [...]
Liberation Psychology’s Critical Contribution
Keywords: Liberation, Psychology, LGBTQIA+, Affirmative, Queer, Decolonizing, Martin-Baro, Anti-oppression
Liberation psychology strives to understand and address the oppressive sociopolitical structures affecting communities in order to promote their healing (Martín-Baró, 1994). Developed by the Spanish-born psychologist Ignacio Martín–Baró in 1970s El Salvador, liberation psychology tasks itself with examining contexts of oppression in [...]
Keywords: queer, LGBTQ, LGBTQIA, impostor syndrome, impostor, cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT, core beliefs
I thought I identified one way, but now I’m not sure. What if this really was just a phase?
I’m afraid I won’t like all of the changes medical transition will cause to my body. What if I’m not really trans?
Coloring Books in Therapy
Coloring books aren’t just for children anymore: adult coloring books have gained great popularity in the last few years. They have been found to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression; increase perseverance; and provide short-term stress relief (Eaton & Tieber, 2017; Flett et al., 2017; Rajendran et al., 2020; Simmons, 2016). [...]