Although there may be a wider social acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) persons, prejudice is certainly still prevalent, particularly outside of metropolitan areas. Those who identify as a member of the LGBT community may experience prejudice, difficulty coming out to one’s family, friends, and colleagues, and difficulty learning how to honor an “authentic” self in the face of social expectations and pressures. LGBT-affirmative therapists also help their clients recognize and honor their own unique personalities, allowing them to lead more “authentic” lives without necessarily having the benefit of many relatable role models or maps to follow.
What to Expect
Countering mainstream psychiatry and psychology over the past hundred years, much of which saw homosexuality as a mental illness or challenge, LGBT-affirmative therapists assist patients in overcoming the stigma of homosexuality, rather than the sexual orientation itself. This approach to therapy embraces a positive view of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identities and relationships, and it addresses the negative influences that homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism have on the lives of LGBT clients.