LBGTQ+ people face challenges every day. Finding an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist is essential. Someone that will see you, hear you and honor your identity. Even within the LBGTQ+ community, there are many identities and mental health challenges that are stigmatized.
In honor of pride month, here is a list of questions to ask your potential mental health provider to ensure they are the right fit.
Finding a therapist that is LGBTQ+ friendly.
- How do you view gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender individuals, and their relationships?
- How much experience and training do you have in working with the LGBTQ+ population?
Finding a therapist who affirms your identity.
- What’s your knowledge/experience on gender and trans issues?
People that deviate from gender norms are harassed, assaulted and discriminated against at an incredibly high rate. A therapist that understands the challenges trans and gender non-conforming people face is essential. Asking a potential therapist about their experience helps you receive the appropriate mental health care.
Finding a therapist that allows you to explore your relationship choices and remains “judgment free.”
- What is your stance on ethical non-monogamy?
- Do you have experience working with non-monogamous clients?
In ethical or consensual non-monogamy all those involved in the relationship are aware of that it is a non-monogamous relationship.
Non-monogamy is a topic that makes many people squirm, therapists included. For folks that engage in non-monogamous relationships, being able to have an open and honest dialogue is vital. Be upfront about your needs when reaching out to a new therapist. You want to establish that they are a good fit right off the bat, rather than after investing time into multiple sessions.
Finding a therapist that specializes in substance use challenges.
- What is your experience working with clients that have substance use challenges?
- How do you work with clients presenting problems similar to mine?
Studies show that substance use rates among LBGTQ+ folks is significantly higher than the average population. A therapist that understands how this aspect of your identity intertwines with substance struggles can be the difference between making progress or not. Be honest with your therapist about your substance use and the behaviors around them. If a therapist is uneasy about a topic in a session, they are not the right fit for your mental health journey.
My advice is to lay it all out and see how the therapist reacts. If they are uncomfortable, you may want to seek another therapist. It will be easier to reach your goals when you have the right therapy fit. Our team at Perspectives is diverse and includes therapists with a variety of strengths and focuses. That breadth of providers makes finding the right therapist easier.