Finding the right therapist—someone you trust, someone you like, someone you click with—is important for anyone to ensure their therapy is effective. But for those who identify as LGBTQ, finding a therapist who is LGBTQ or LGBTQ-affirming is critical for creating a safe, supportive space.
Rosemary Donahue writes for Them that after a taking a decade-long break from awful, ineffective experiences with therapy, she realised that finding an LGBTQ-affirming therapist might be the key.
When I finally realised that my depression, anxiety, and history of sexual assault would not go away, I decided to seek out an LGBTQ+-affirming therapist. I believe it was a crucial decision, one that helped me excavate some of the trauma that kept me closeted for 30 years and work toward living a life that’s more authentic to who I am. While I still live with depression and anxiety, those burdens feel a bit lighter now. I feel more ownership of my own life, and like I finally want to have a future. Though we all have different experiences and I can only speak for myself, finding a safe place to talk about things with other queer people is vital, especially for those dealing with mental health issue.
Psychology Today is a tool that enables users to start searching for providers by city or zip code. From there, you can narrow your options by not only insurance provider, but also by “issue,” sexuality, gender, age, language, faith and types of therapy.
It’s also worth researching whether there are local LBGTQ mental health organisations or LGBTQ community centres in your area. Either one should be able to provide a more thorough, updated list and either work with or can refer you to preferred providers that specifically serve the queer community.
Of course, your sexual orientation and gender identity aren’t the only things to consider when you’re looking for the right fit in a therapist. It might also be important to you to work with someone of the same race or gender, among a variety of other factors, Donahue writes:
Perhaps seeing a therapist who specialises in treating eating disorders or a specific modality of therapy is more important to you than someone who is LGBTQ+ — and that’s totally ok. “I would encourage anyone looking to get therapy to really take some time to reflect on what is important to them, the type of concern they want to work on, and the personality of the therapist they want to work with before they start researching therapists,” says Carlos Cavasos, a licensed psychotherapist and certified sex coach based in Texas.
And if you’ve given it a fair shake and you’re just not feeling it with your current therapist, it might be time to move on and find a better fit.