As the field of therapy becomes more inclusive, therapy is also becoming more available to people of all identities.
It’s common these days to specifically search for a therapist of your same gender, race, or cultural background.
For LGBTQ therapy clients, this raises the question - is it important to have a LGBTQ therapist?
Having a LGBTQ therapist can put you at ease
If your therapist is also a member of the LGBTQ community, you may feel more comfortable opening up about queer-specific issues.
You might feel less intimidated talking about stressors in your sex life with your partner, or letting out questions that have been on your mind about your gender identity.
Some research suggests that having a LGBTQ therapist if you are also queer or trans can make you feel more comfortable discussing anxiety and depression, even if their causes are not connected to LGBTQ issues.
If you have previously had the experience of having to “teach” your identity to a cisgender straight therapist with inadequate knowledge of the LGBTQ community, you might more readily connect with a queer or trans therapist where you know this will likely not be the case.
The expertise of lived experience
As clinicians, therapists are always looking to improve their professional knowledge and training. However certain nuances and intricacies of life as a gender or sexual minority are understood in a unique way through lived experience.
Your therapist with lived experience might be able to empathize on that personal level about the challenges of transitioning at work, or the inner debate about when to introduce a same gender partner to your kids for the first time.
Even if your therapist’s experience of LGBTQ identity differs from yours, they will share the commonality of knowing what it’s like to be a minority that experiences discrimination and misunderstanding - which will just add to their commitment to ensuring the therapy room is a place where you are known and accepted for who you are.
Although having a LGBTQ therapist can be great, keep in mind that if a complex challenge unrelated to gender or sexuality is the main factor bringing you to therapy, it’s worth considering a therapist with specific training in that issue.
Also, be careful not to over-rely on the bond of LGBTQ identity - if part of you thinks a LGBTQ therapist will be able to read your mind and automatically know all the things that you feel, you will be disappointed.
If having a LGBTQ therapist is important to you, I’d love to discuss with you more if we might be the right fit. Click the button below to book a free phone consultation, and let’s talk about what you’re looking for in therapy.