Is Your Sexual Orientation Making You Feel Isolated, Anxious or Confused?
Are you lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or questioning if you may be? Have you been grappling with or questioning self-identity? Do you wonder how your sexuality, behaviors and beliefs fit into the world? Do you spend a lot of time worrying about what people think about you now or what they will think if or when you decide to “come out?” Have fears caused you to turn to substances or other potentially self-harming behaviors? Mainly, do you want to more fully understand and accept who you are and want others to accept, honor and love you exactly as you are?
It’s not uncommon for people who are part of or relate to the LGBTQ community to experience both internal and external struggles about sexual orientation. Regardless of sexual preferences, most people grapple with self-identity and yearn for acceptance by others at some point in their lives. Relationships and sex are important parts of the human existence. Feeling good about who we are in those realms of our lives is important to sustained happiness. You may feel bad or confused about what you think about yourself or how you relate to others. When we judge ourselves or feel judged by others, our sense of wellbeing is damaged and we can become fearful, highly stressed, anxious or depressed.
You Are Not Alone…
LGBTQ issues are very common. Many people struggle with identity – sexual identity in particular. It is not unusual to have negative and confusing feelings around sexuality. The good news is that there has been a tremendous amount of research and empowering work done around sexual identity issues. Most people feel much better after working with a therapist. With help, you can feel better, too.
…And You Don’t Have to Go Through This Alone
There are tremendous benefits and intrinsic value to sharing your stories with another individual – to have someone witness you, without judgment – while you’re in a vulnerable space. BPS therapists who specialize in LGBTQ counseling are available to really hear your story, help you identify your issues, and offer support as you work through them. The more you talk about your feelings and yourself, the more comfortable it becomes to share. The unlocking process is supportive and nonjudgmental. Rather than remain scary, it can become an incredibly empowering, liberating and positive experience.
Others have struggled with the same identity and acceptance issues and found therapy to be extremely helpful. In therapy, you – like them – will learn how to feel whole as you work toward loving and honoring yourself just as you are. Your feelings and preferences are valid. A well-trained and experienced LGBTQ therapist will help you fully understand and embrace you.
But, if you still may have some fears or questions…
I feel shame and fear around my sexuality and don’t think I could talk to someone about it.
It’s very normal to fear sharing something as personal as your sexuality. Many people begin therapy feeling ashamed, guilty about their feelings, scared or shy. Having difficulties opening up is a common part of beginning therapy, and often it’s more apparent when dealing with sexuality. However, once you admit that you are struggling and begin talking openly, the process becomes easier and more comfortable. In therapy, there is no judgment or blame. Our number one priority is for you to feel comfortable, safe and heard.
I’d like to try therapy, but I don’t think that I can afford it.
This is your life and your wellbeing. Investing in your happiness may be the best and most sustainable decision you ever make. Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained in their issue or who they couldn’t relate with – which is a waste of time and money. At BPS, we’ll conduct a referral assessment and match you with a therapist who is trained and experienced in your issue and whose personality is a good match with yours. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to yourself is the investment of a lifetime – imagine being much happier on a regular basis and ask yourself what that is worth.
If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale.
I’ve tried therapy in the past and it hasn’t worked. Why will it work now?
As more people undergo therapy to identify and work through LGBTQ identity and acceptance issues, almost predictable stages of the therapy process have become apparent . Research and studies support the existence of these stages, and BPS therapists will help you understand where you are in the healing process. Our therapists have worked with many people with similar feelings, behaviors and thoughts to yours. And these people now feel better. They are in a good place and feel more secure and confident about who they are. That success is an option for you, too.
We encourage you to schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by BPS Director, Dr. Jan Hittelman. We will work with you to determine what your specific issues are and to ensure a good match between you and a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.
You can also check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you with a therapist who has expertise working with LGBTQ issues.