LGBTQ Counseling Orange County
It is easy for individuals who identify as heterosexuals in traditional gender roles to ignore the unique difficulties experienced by those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Even with the huge strides towards cultural acceptance of these alternative gender identities, the propensity to disparage their unique romantic orientations as odd or abnormal is still prevalent in society at large.
It is difficult to go through daily life feeling rejected, bullied, or marginalized based on one’s sexual orientation. Dealing with mistreatment can trigger feelings of frustration and sadness, as well as possibly leading to isolating behaviors. One’s self worth as a member of the LGBTQ community is always being challenged by those who reject them as valuable members of society just because of gender identity. In more extreme cases, the effects of this discrimination can result in full-blown depression or anxiety that impacts every aspect of daily life. In fact, the National Association of Mental Illness reports that LGBTQ individuals are nearly three times more likely to suffer from a mental health disorder such as depression or generalized anxiety.
LGBTQ counseling Orange County provides compassionate, welcoming, and safe places for people struggling with mood disorders directly related to gender identity issues. Knowing that there is help available that is specific to the needs and concerns of the LGBTQ community is a source of comfort for many, and can provide the tools and support needed to better navigate a cultural landscape that is not always accepting of all people.
Focused LGBTQ Counseling Orange County
Although people in the LGBTQ community just want to participate and contribute to society like anyone else, they often come up against people who express blatant prejudice and contempt for them. Struggling with the stigma that is attached to being a member of any minority group (termed “minority stress”) can lead to mental health issues that are best treated by someone who is sensitive to the specific challenges the LGBTQ community faces on a daily basis.
When seeking help for depression or anxiety, it is best to seek out therapists trained and experienced in effectively treating the issues unique to LGBTQ individuals, whether the therapist is heterosexual or themselves a member of the LGBTQ community. This is important because a therapist who is ignorant of the challenges faced by LGBTQ individuals, or who may themselves harbor personal prejudice towards the community, will not be able to relate to or understand these struggles, much less offer effective and compassionate therapeutic intervention.
Issues Treated in LGBTQ Counseling Orange County
The life events and issues that all individuals, both hetero and LGBTQ, seek out therapy for may include relationship problems, addiction issues, family discord, or mood disorders. However, there are issues unique to members of the LGBTQ community that may become problematic, so finding a therapist who is knowledgeable in LBGTQ-related issues is key. Keep in mind that each person’s experience is individual and unique, as well as their emotional response to it. The most common issues that occur within the LGBTQ community include:
Gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is the condition an individual may experience when their gender identity does not correspond with the gender assigned to them at birth. This gender nonconformity, often referred to as transgender, can cause significant distress and impairment in daily functioning. An internal struggle develops that leads to the individual adapting through cross-dressing, social transitioning, or medical (sex change) transitioning.
Bullying and victimization. Individuals who endure bullying in the workplace or in school due to their sexual orientation may develop chronic stress and anxiety as a result. Harassment or verbal assault can lead to depression, diminished productivity at work or school, health issues, and suicidal ideation. In the LGBTQ community, especially in the teen years or young adulthood, bullying, physical assault, and harassment are extremely common. LGTBQ youth are at a much higher risk of contemplating or attempting suicide as a result of enduring chronic bullying due to their gender identity.
Coming out. In many cases, an individual may have attempted to conform to societal expectations and hidden their gender identity from family and spouses for a period of some time. The difficulties associated with ‘coming out of the closet,’ the important step of disclosing their authentic sexual orientation to loved ones, can cause great distress, anxiety, and depression. The coming out process is ongoing, with the need to do so occurring in multiple situations on an ongoing basis. The various consequences that accompany the coming out disclosure process can become a source of deep pain when met with contempt or a general lack of compassion, or even become a threat to job security.
Social rejection. When faced with continual discrimination and lack of acceptance by significant others or society at large, painful feelings of shame and sadness resulting from being ostracized and excluded can emerge. Such social rejection can culminate in isolating behaviors, eating disorders, depleted general health and wellness, and depression. Safety is another valid concern for LGBTQ individuals, as homophobia is a real threat in social encounters or certain venues or communities where there is a lack of support. For this reason, the importance of establishing community ties and safe spaces within the LGBTQ community is essential.
Phaite Behavioral Offers Effective LGBTQ Counseling Orange County
Phaite Behavioral Center provides informed and compassionate counseling services for members of the LGBTQ community. Our highly skilled therapists are experienced and well-versed in the unique and very personalized issues that LGBTQ individuals struggle with, and are dedicated to helping improve your quality of life in every way. For more information about our counseling services, call Phaite Behavioral today at (888) 259-1268.