For new members of the LGBT community, it's common to face many obstacles. You might struggle for a long time to admit to yourself that you are a member of this community, and then take some time before you come out to family and friends. The struggles can continue when you encounter people who are close to you who don't accept your identity. While you might wish to work at convincing them to understand you, it's important that you find people who can offer you their support. A good choice is to seek out an LGBT affirming therapist, either locally or online, who can meet with you regularly. Here are some ways that this type of therapist can help you.
Express Positive Sentiments About Your Identity
It's possible that you've felt negative as you've sought to accept your LGBT identity, and these feelings can only deepen when people around you do not support you. You can count on your LGBT affirming therapist to express a wide range of positive sentiments about who you are. For example, your therapist will commend you on your bravery for coming out — something that few others in your life have perhaps done. Something as simple as offering words of encouragement for you at this challenging time can help you to embrace your identity and feel better about yourself.
Help You With Other Issues You May Have
Your LGBT affirming therapist knows that you may have mental health issues that have developed as a result of the challenges you've faced before and after you came out. Many members of the LGBT community struggle with various mental health issues. As high as 60 percent of those who belong to this community deal with anxiety and depression at certain points, notes the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, which also notes that this percentage is higher than it is in members of the straight community. Your therapist will give you the space to discuss what mental health issues may be a part of your life and work toward exploring different viable solutions.
Empathize About The Homophobia You've Faced
Dealing with homophobia is one of the biggest challenges that a member of the LGBT community can face. This can especially be true for you when these negative attitudes are coming from those in your circle of family and friends or even your employer. An LGBT affirming therapist doesn't view homophobia lightly and will offer empathy for the hardships that you've dealt with. They may encourage you to distance yourself from friends who aren't supportive and to seek out an LGBT support group to find people who will further support you.
For more information, reach out to an LGBT affirming therapy service in your area.