What is Affirmative Therapy?
Finding an affirming therapist matters.
Queer identified people benefit most from a therapist who is informed and affirming LGBTQIA identity and relationships. As oppressed sexual minorities, LGBTQIA people experience minority stress which impacts our mental health, our relationships and our self esteem. Therapists with training in affirmative therapy are:
- knowledgeable about the history and current zeitgeist of Queerness in the culture
- informed and aware of the intricacy of intersectionality and how queerness and other subjectivities relate
- committed to examining their own biases and internalized prejudices from which none of us are immune
- committed to affirming queer identity as whole and healthy
- committed to moving beyond tolerance
Affirming you as an LGBTQIA person means that:
- You are in the best possible position to define yourself.
- You are entitled to explore your identity and sexuality
- supporting your coming out process at a pace that is healthy for you
- exploring the intersection between culture, ethnicity, family of origin and sexuality/gender
Working from an affirming perspective in therapy means that:
- we look at your current life challenges or symptoms through the lens of your identity development as an LGBT person, in addition to other models such as Family Systems, Psychodynamic, Attachment and Cognitive/Behavioral
- assisting you in reducing any shame or stigmatizing beliefs associated with your identity
- we draw together on your strengths and assets as a human being; not just your “problems”
How Do I Find an LGBTQIA Affirming Therapist?
Search online for your local LGBTQ Center . You can also check these searchable data bases for a listing in your area:
Orange County and Surrounding Areas
The Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association
The Gay and Lesbian and Transgender Association
** Note in using this resource, you will need to specifically inquire about a providers level of expertise in any particular area of identity. Many people indicate that they are LGBTQIA affirming. I have found that this does not mean that they are deeply knowledgeable and affirming.