Counseling the Queer Community

LGBTQI Services

Indigo Mental Health is an open and affirming practice for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexed and questioning. I am familiar with the GLBTQI community, as a former organizer and member of an organization serving at risk youth in the community I have experience counseling and supporting your needs.

No person wants to be labeled… Every person needs to be heard, known, accepted and respected.
– Ismael E. Gerena Jr.

General mental health care that respects your unique identity…

Many individuals who are in the LGBTQI community have worked through the coming out process and are comfortable with their sexual/gender identity for the most part. They may have sought therapy in the past for issues such as depression, anxiety, addictions, past trauma, or relationships and found that the therapist did not understand, or at worse pathologized their sexual identity. Indigo Mental Health is a warm and supportive practice that can help you to recover from many issues while affirming your sexual/gender identity.

Coming out process

Coming out in a scrabble game.
The coming out process can be a time of intense fear, challenging traditional family and social convention is never easy. There are many questions that may be echoing in your thoughts…

  • How do I tell my family, friends, spouse, and co-workers?
  • Will they embrace me or reject me?
  • How can I continue to live a lie.

These are very difficult questions and oftentimes it makes sense to have a trained professional to help you through the process. As a therapist who works in family systems, I understand the struggles and the risks of coming out. Therapy generally starts with the individual and then may with your consent and desire incorporate family sessions to facilitate communication and hopefully acceptance.

Facing the complex sexual orientation and gender identity questions

TransGender Symbol, one of many LGBTQI SymbolsWhile science is still examining the evidence, the current leading belief is that sexual orientation and gender identity form in the crux between ‘Mother Nature’ at the level of DNA and ‘Nurturing’ as experienced in ones formative years. What happens both before conception and during childhood and adolescence shapes who we become as adults.

For some, forming a sexual orientation or gender identity that is different than the ‘norm’ can happen easily, without much agitation or stress. For most, however, the process of figuring out who one is in terms of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression is not easy, and is often a source of intense struggle and conflict that can take many years to overcome.

Transgender persons commonly seek medical services to make their bodies more congruent with their gender identities; involvement of mental health professionals is often necessary or desirable in arranging such services. Many transgender, gender queer, or questioning people experience stigmatization and discrimination as a result of living in a gendered culture into which they often do not easily fit. They may not only experience an inner sense of not belonging but also discrimination, harassment, sometimes lethal violence and denial of basic human rights. These issues, too, often bring transgender people into contact with mental health professionals.

Even older adults may find themselves in conflict over their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Adults who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity into their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond, may have difficulty locating and cultivating a peer group, particularly if they have been married or don’t know how to begin the process of exploration. A therapist can help you face the questions, learning to examine the thoughts and feelings that bring these questions to light, and empowering yourself to separate truth from distortion, I would be happy to be that therapist for you.

While these are some of the GLBTQI issues I have experience with, this is not an all inclusive list, and I believe that each person has their own unique needs even if the concern they present is common.