LGBTQ+ Therapy focuses on mental health issues related to an individual’s sexual or gender identity.
LGBTQ+ Focused Therapy addresses mental distress caused by the oppression, marginalization, and discrimination that may occur when coming out to family members, adjusting to a person’s authentic identity, and dealing with family pressures and expectations.
A LGBTQ+ informed therapist can help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and substance use (Yarbrough, 2018). According to the research, youth who identify as LGBTQ+ have an increased risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation, especially when they are faced with discrimination. In school, students who identify as LGBTQ+ are bullied, victimized, and rejected by their peers, which can lead to mental distress. LGBTQ+ adults may also experience similar persecution at their workplace, schools, and housing. These stressors may be the catalyst for LGBTQ+ individuals to seek mental health treatment (Almeida, Johnson, Corliss, Molnar, & Azrael, 2009).
Guideline 1. Psychologists strive to understand the effects of stigma (i.e., prejudice, discrimination, and violence) and its various contextual manifestations in the lives of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.
Guideline 2. Psychologists understand that lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations are not mental illnesses.
Guideline 3. Psychologists understand that same-sex attractions, feelings, and behavior are normal variants of human sexuality and that efforts to change sexual orientation have not been shown to be effective or safe.
Guideline 4. Psychologists are encouraged to recognize how their attitudes and knowledge about lesbian, gay, and bisexual issues may be relevant to assessment and treatment and seek consultation or make appropriate referrals when indicated.
Guideline 5. Psychologists strive to recognize the unique experiences of bisexual individuals.
Guideline 6. Psychologists strive to distinguish issues of sexual orientation from those of gender identity when working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients (Practice Guidelines for LGB, n.d.).
Dr. Eric Yarbrough Interview
Dr. Eric Yarbrough’s career has been mostly focused on the LGBTQ population, serving as both President of The Association of LGBTQ Psychiatrists and Director of Psychiatry at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, one of the largest LGBTQ Medical Centers in the world. Dr. Yarbrough is also Board Certified in Addiction Medicine. Dr. Yarbrough is the author of Transgender Mental Health, a book which seeks to educate mental health clinicians on how to address the needs of the transgender, non-conforming community and thus increase their access to mental health care.
Click the links below to find out more about LGBTQ+ Focused Therapy.