Alternative Lifestyles (LGBT Issues)
A Safe Place To Heal of McKinney TX offers LGBT Counseling & Therapy to help those of the alternative lifestyles not be ashamed of who they are but to accept it and be prideful about it.
“The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.” ~Ralph W. Sockman
“I Really Don’t Need To Talk About My Sexuality”
Ironically, most gay or alternative lifestyles clients seek out counseling because their problems have nothing to with their sexual preference. If you are like these clients, you want therapy for the same reasons non-gay people seek it: for depression or anxiety or other personal problems, to recover from a life crisis like a broken relationship, or for help with couple or family issues. A Safe Place to Heal understands this and won’t be asking you lots of irrelevant questions about your sex life or your first gay experiences when you want help for, say, an eating disorder or work place stress. And our therapists do not just do “gay therapy.” First and foremost, A Safe Place to Heal is for all kinds of people.
But Sometimes Sexuality IS An Issue
Some people DO come to therapy because of something related to an alternative lifestyles, and for gay-related problems no one has comparable wisdom and experience. We remain internationally recognized experts on issues that are “gay-related.”
In some cases, people seek help when they are uncertain of their sexual orientation, or feel that it may be changing. It is not always easy to know if you are gay or bisexual or where your primary preferences lie. Our counselors can help you confront these difficult issues in a nurturing and accepting environment. Other times clients know that they are gay, but fear and dislike this identity. Their own ingrained ideas about sexuality may leave them feeling shame and self-hatred, something called internalized homophobia. Because of this, they may be unable to form healthy relationships or even friendships. They may be isolated and lonely, depressed, even suicidal. Our therapists have helped many such people living an alternative lifestyle, replace shame and self-criticism with pride and contentment with self.
Yet other clients don’t experience this shame, and feel quite comfortable being gay, but are concerned about the often painful experience of coming out to their family, friends, or coworkers. Still others seek our help because they are in a heterosexual relationship, and need guidance and support. They may decide to come out to their partner, or not. They may come out to their partner and work out an arrangement where they can remain in the relationship, or they may leave. Although there is no one right answer; our therapists will help you find the solution that works for you. They can also help you to explore you spiritual needs and offer referrals to a church or other spiritual based avenue that has an inclusive, accepting approach.
The Gay Spin On Mainstream Problems
Some people come to therapy with problems that don’t directly have to do with their alternative lifestyles… and yet being gay may have a large impact on the “mainstream” life issues they are facing. We are personally and professionally familiar with the “gay dynamic” as it operates to affect people as individuals, couples, and families.
For example, deciding whether and when to start a family is a dilemma many couples (and singles) face; yet the issues involved in having children are obviously much more complex for gays. A therapist who understands the complexities of this problem is valuable because she can raise questions you might not think of, offer options, practical advice, referrals, recommend books, and so on. Other problems have a “gay spin,” as well. For example, it’s good to have a counselor who understands, if you are a single lesbian, how difficult it can be for two women to hook up with each other when neither has been culturally prepared to initiate relationships.
It is important to recognize that gay male relationships are different than lesbian relationships, and both are different than heterosexual relationships. Our therapist’s knowledge of these particular relationship dynamics will make it easier for you to communicate with her: if you say that you and your partner are experiencing “lesbian bed death” or your partner is into “circuit parties” and you are not, she will know what you mean. Your sexuality may also influence problems all people share, like depression, in specific ways; for instance Jeana has seen gay men whose concern about aging and pressures to look good influence their self esteem and contribute to their depression. Other everyday stresses like child rearing are made more complex in gay and lesbian families: if your child is having problems in school and you don’t feel able to be out at the school, this adds an extra dimension to your problem.
Although considerable progress has been made in attaining social acceptance of homosexuality, and mental health professionals are much more sensitive to gay and lesbian concerns than they were twenty years ago, the same is not true for bisexuality. The general public, psychotherapists, even gay and lesbian people hold fast to the belief that sexual orientation is dichotomous: you must be either gay or straight. Myths about bisexuality abound: bisexuality is a form of sex addiction, bisexuals are “really” gay people in transition, bisexuals are just people who can’t commit, bisexuals are promiscuous, and so on.
Because of this, bisexual people are also often isolated. The gay and lesbian community tends to not be accepting of bisexuality, and the mainstream community is often intolerant of any sexual difference. This can create problems on many levels. First, it is often more difficult for those with an inherent bisexual capacity – the ability to be sexually and/or romantically attracted to both genders – to be clear with themselves about their identity. Not only is there pressure from all fronts to “choose sides,” it can be genuinely confusing to know whether that crush you have on a man that you never expected to have signifies a serious bisexual orientation or a minor attraction that will never be repeated. Since bisexuals tend to be aware of one preference, hetero or homo, years before the other, the emergence of a “second” orientation can be a profound shock to your already-established identity. A Safe Place to Heal sees bisexuality as real, valid, and intrinsically normal and healthy. If you are confused about your preferences we know the questions to ask and the issues you need to examine to resolve your sexual identity. If you are isolated, we can help you connect with bisexual support groups, organizations, websites, and resource literature. We can help you with the particular problems you may face “coming out.” For example, others may tend to assume your orientation is reflected by the gender of your current partner, or your gay friends may be disapproving of you if you have previously been in a same-sex relationship and now start dating an opposite sex partner.
Relationships can sometimes be more difficult and confusing for bisexuals as well. Many bisexual people prefer monogamous relationships, and view their bisexuality as merely an expansion of choices – the ability to partner with a man or woman in a committed, sexually exclusive way. Other bisexuals feel a need to be involved with one or more male and female partners at the same time. These people face the same kinds of problems as those involved in a poly-amorous lifestyle or alternative lifestyles. Indeed, there is substantial overlap between the bisexual and polyamory communities. Our therapist can help you navigate these complex lifestyle decisions through one-to-one counseling as well as serving as an expert resource for you, directing you to different organizations, providing reading material, and helping you find support groups.