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LGBTQ-Centered Therapy

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Common Questions

I'm straight/heterosexual, and I'm not trans, so you probably aren't interested in working with me, right?

While it's true that I specialize in working with LGBTQ individuals and couples/relationships, I am more than capable of working with heterosexual and non-trans folks.  I feel that my experience in the LGBTQ community gives me a unique perspective on the influences of family and culture on individuals and relationships.  I have extensive experience working with heterosexual individuals and couples.  If you are concerned about this, please give me a call and we can chat.

You're just some dudely looking dude.  Why would I want you to be my therapist for gender stuff?

There are a few reasons that I would like you to visit and see if I'm the right therapist for you in dealing with gender identity issues.  I have in-depth experience working with trans and gender diverse people in therapy, on speaker's panels, and in community.  I have done extensive study about gender and gender identity since 1985.  I am aware of the nuances of transition and how this can affect a person's life and relationships.  And importantly, I began my own transition from female to male 22 years ago.  I am aware that every trans person or person who is examining their gender identifies in their own particular way and that my experience does not reflect yours.  I have no agenda for you regarding how you go about your life in terms of gender identity.  What I do bring to the therapeutic relationship is a personal understanding of the joys and the stresses of gender identity exploration and transition.

Can you write me a letter for hormone therapy?

Yes.  You and I will discuss the WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) standards of care and determine together the number of sessions we will need before I can write you your letter.  This number varies from person to person, is not determined by me alone, and the last thing I want to be is a barrier to your transition.  I am on your team!

So, just because I'm trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, etc, you think I need therapy?

Absolutely not.  I am fully aware that the majority of LGBTQ individuals have developed remarkable strengths and coping tools as a result of navigating the world as trans, gender diverse, lesbian, gay, bisexual, etc.  I am also sensitive to the fact that many of us could use some support from a therapist who understands the unique issues (such as "coming out", family of origin issues, aging, intersecting issues, etc) that LGBTQ people face in our lives.  Furthermore, I understand that sometimes we just want a therapist who we don't have to educate regarding those issues so that we can dive into other life issues that are affecting us without the added burden of uncertainty.

Do you offer domestic violence classes so that I can fulfill requirements due to legal issues?

I do not offer this service at this time, but if you are looking for individual or couple therapy separate from or in addition to these requirements, I will be more than happy to meet with you.  As long as couple therapy does not violate a no contact or restraining order, I will meet with you so we can determine whether couples counseling is a good fit for us.

How can therapy help me?
 
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
  
  • Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing skills for improving your relationships
  • Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
  • Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
  • Improving communications and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
  • Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence

Do I really need therapy?  I can usually handle my problems.  
  
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face. 


Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?

People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy.   Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well.  Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks.  Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods.  Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life.   In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives. 
 
  
What is therapy like?
 
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual.  In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session.  Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development.  Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
 
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process.  The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life.  Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.   
 
 
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
 
I presently am billing insurance out of network and am waiting approval to be on panel for several insurance companies. I cannot accept OHP/Trillium or Medicare at this time. To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them.  Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers.  Some helpful questions you can ask them:
 
  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • What is my copay/coinsurance?
  • What is my deductible for mental health services and have I met or partially met it?
 
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
 
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office.   Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone.  This is called “Informed Consent”.  Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
 
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
 
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults with disabilities, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming themselves or has threated to harm another person.
 

 

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