Historically, the LGBT population is one of the most marginalized populations. Due to homophobia, transphobia, gender-role stereotyping, and lack of acceptance by family and society the LGBT experience higher rates of depression, suicidal ideation, and risky impulsive behaviors than individuals not a part of the LGBT community.
Individuals in the LGBT community speak about “suffering” through a period of identity confusion. Many struggle with their self-esteem, shame and guilt, abandonment, and social scrutiny.
What Does LGBT Mean?
LGBT is shorthand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. The “LGB” in this term refers to sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is defined as an often enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions of men to women or women to men (heterosexual), of women to women or men to men (homosexual), or by men or women to both sexes (bisexual).
The “T” in LGBT stands for transgender or gender non-conforming and is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.
LGBT individuals come from all demographics; age, race, ethnicity, religion, and genders. How one identifies will influence their gender expression, gender identity, and orientation. Working with LGBT individuals, it is vital that the therapist sees the person first, then as a person who identifies with the LGBT community.
Cass’s Model of Sexual Orientation Formation: Six Stages of Development
Pre-stage 1 – An individual identifies with the dominant heterosexual culture and understands that is the approved identification
Stage 1: Identity Confusion – An individual is cognoscente of homosexual feelings or thoughts, becomes curious and/or anxious
Stage 2: Identity Comparison – An individual accepts the feelings and thoughts as homosexual, begins to deal with the society, peer group, and family member’s reactions
Stage 3: Identity Tolerance – An individual surrounds themselves with others who identify as homosexuals and begin to form a peer group for support and knowledge
Stage 4: Identity Acceptance – An individual outwardly acknowledges his or her homosexuality but internally struggles, looks for cues from social groups to determine the proper way to present him or herself to the public
Stage 5: Identity Pride – An individual deepens themselves in homosexual culture, often minimizing heterosexual peers; feelings of anger and strong political advocacy for gay rights and a less heterosexist society
Stage 6: Identity Synthesis – An individual integrates their sexual identity as part of their holistic identity, assimilates into dominant culture with a secure and positive self-concept
Goal of LGBT Therapy
For many LGBT individuals, the goal of therapy is not to work through the “Coming out” processor to explore their LGBT identity. Instead, the focus of treatment might be how the individual is adjusting to career related-stress, spirituality, romantic relationship issues, school performance, parent-child relationships, phases of life, aging, etc.
Therapy at Clarity Clinic offers best therapeutic practices to LGBT individuals by providing the highest level of care and embodying quality professional behavior. We have an understanding of the needs, issues, norms, of the LGBT community. Our therapists are affirming and welcome LGBT clients.
The path to personal wellness, clarity, and balance is often lined with obstacles. The dedicated mental healthcare professionals at Clarity Clinic – a Chicago psychiatry and therapy office located in River North – are here to help you on your journey. We guide individuals towards positive thought and lifestyle changes by helping them recognize, understand, and trust their inner selves.
At Clarity Clinic, we understand the issues that are affecting members of the LGBT community. From coming out to parents to parenting in a same-sex household – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals can encounter a unique set of experiences and challenges throughout their lives. Clarity Clinic’s team of mental health experts includes experienced psychiatrists and therapists who specialize in LGBT counseling and LGBT issues.
Clarity Clinic provides individualized Chicago LGBT counseling to members of the LGBT community and their loved ones. View the psychiatry and therapy services available to you at Clarity Clinic and schedule an appointment to start your journey to enhanced self-discovery and wellness.