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It’s difficult to be gay in a straight world, so it’s no wonder that so many individuals who deem themselves to be gay or are uncertain about their sexuality search for counselors that offer gay and lesbian therapy.|
Great care should be taken in locating a licensed therapist who specializes in gay therapy. Beware of therapists who may attempt to “cure” or even “convert” you. Those individuals have their own agenda.
Therapy for the gay and lesbian population should consist of a number of factors and how you’re counseled may depend on where you stand as far as accepting your sexuality. A good counselor will determine that before proceeding.
Most gay and lesbian therapy centers on the widely-accepted six stages of homosexuality: 1) identity awareness – feelings that you are different from others or from what you’ve been taught; 2) identity comparison – not understanding why your feelings are different from those of your parents, friends, siblings, etc; 3) identity tolerance – rebelling against homosexual feelings; 4) identity acceptance – embracing your sexuality and what goes with it; 5) identity pride – anger toward parents, society, religion or others who refuse to accept your homosexuality; and 6) identity synthesis – when homosexuality becomes a part of who you are, not the defining factor for your life.
Certified therapists should also be prepared and able to discuss and treat mood disorders, not unlike those of the heterosexual population, including depression, anxiety, stress, and sexual issues. Statistics show that the rate of depression is much higher among the homosexual population and that thoughts of suicide are not uncommon.
Gay and lesbian therapy can also assist clients in “coming out” to friends, family, and co-workers and deal with the emotional and practical questions and challenges that arise at that time. Therapists will also attempt to eliminate feelings of fear and being alone and teach clients how to develop healthy homosexual relationships.
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