Did you know that lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults are twice as likely to experience a mental health condition?
Furthermore, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, transgender adults are four times as likely to experience mental health conditions.
These numbers are astonishing as you think about the hundreds of thousands of individuals that make up the diverse LGBTQ community.
Unfortunately, this mental health crisis doesn’t spare anyone. Youth LGBTQ members have reported being twice as likely to experience depression, anxiety, and not only suicidal thoughts but attempts as well.
For many young people, the trauma of coming out and the internal shame felt by many of them is all it takes to begin a rapid decline in mental health. These struggles are all still on top of everyday teenage stressors.
Why Is LGBTQ Therapy Important?
While being a part of the community itself can be a source of healing and strength, LGBTQ youth and adults face many minority-specific stressors that can greatly impact the quality of their mental health.
External struggles such as socioeconomic and cultural factors play an important role, as many LGBTQ individuals are discriminated against, shunned from their families, and denied civil/human rights. This kind of treatment can make those individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions worse.
All in all, having a sexual orientation other than heterosexual is by no means easy. It comes with many challenges and stressors that, when faced alone, seem overwhelming. Many people feel as though they can just “power through it” alone, but time after time, this is proven to not be the case. Whether it is a lack of discipline, motivation, or feeling stuck in shame, humans need relationships.
This is why therapy with an experienced LGBTQ therapist is an invaluable resource.
It is extremely common for many people to be wary about therapy, as the stigma unfortunately still exists. They may be afraid of being judged or may be afraid that they won’t develop the close relationship they need with their therapist.
Many clients that identify as LGBTQ, tend to have more success in therapy when their therapist also identifies as such. Client-therapist relationships tend to be more natural and authentic as no topic is uncharted territory.
That is where online therapy comes in.
With online LGBTQ therapy, clients have the opportunity to have options. In addition, there is no need to even leave your home so it truly is a win-win for everyone involved.
Therapy is an incredibly personal experience so making sure the client and therapist have a trusting bond is crucial.
How Does Online LGBTQ Therapy Work?
There are thousands of options out there for online therapy; however, DoMental makes it extremely simple to find the right match and get you on your way to being a healthier you.
There are 3 main steps when finding a therapist:
- Questionnaire: This personal quiz will cover topics such as identification, mental health, and situational status. This is to allow a better understanding of the client beforehand to ensure the best fit.
- Connect: According to the answers given on the questionnaire, a therapist is then matched to the client quickly.
- Start: Instant communication via text and audio with a licensed therapist. It is recommended to talk twice a week for 2 months to build an effective relationship.
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What Does LGBTQ Online Therapy Look Like?
In general, therapy is an invaluable tool that helps clients not only understand themselves better but actively pursue self-growth. Therapy works on a consistent basis to develop healthier thinking patterns and habits. Not only does therapy help emotional
difficulties, but a therapist also works with the client to establish goals (either internal or external) and create an action plan.
Typically, a therapist will need to ask the client a series of questions to determine where they are starting from.
These questions assist the therapist in understanding what the biggest conflicts are that the client is currently dealing with. This helps the therapist determine how to structure a treatment plan.
At the start of therapy, the client is encouraged to bring forward any questions or immediate stressors in regards to gender/sexual identity. This not only can help the client express what their priorities in therapy are but also allows the client to get a feel for how the therapist will discuss LGBTQ issues.
Therapists working with LGBTQ individuals have specific guidelines they must follow in order to maintain an ethical practice. While there are too many guidelines to list here, there are 6 overarching themes in which a therapist must practice with integrity:
- Attitudes towards homosexuality/bisexuality Therapists must understand that sexual orientation is not a mental illness, and a variation in this is a normal part of the human experience. In addition, they must understand how their own biases may affect their ability to work with LGBTQ clients.
- Relationships and family. Therapists must understand the different family dynamics involved in LGBTQ families, their importance, and the struggles they may face.
- Issues of diversity. Therapists must strive to understand the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ individuals in regards to religion, ethnicity, age, and disabilities.
- Economic/Workplace. Therapists must aim to understand the socioeconomic challenges and workplace issues that may arise as a result of being a member of the LGBTQ community.
- Education/Training. Therapists are encouraged to always continue on in their education and knowledge of the ever-changing LGBTQ community and the problems they face.
- Research. In the event research is done on gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other LGBTQ issues, therapists must be aware and mindful of the potential misuse of any information.
What Are the Benefits of Online Therapy for LGBTQ Individuals?
While therapists coach clients on how to manage day-to-day stressors or deal with life experiences, LGBTQ therapy can help with obstacles specifically related to sexual orientation/gender identity.
Online therapy for LGBTQ members can open up many doors of self-exploration by allowing the client to have a safe space to work through their personal issues. Counseling can also help with mental health diagnoses such as anxiety or depression and can kick-start the process of healing.
In addition, with online therapy, there is a much wider range of therapists to choose from rather than being limited to only a few local options. You can reach therapists from all over the country, specializing in a much wider variety of topics.
Another benefit that is exclusive to online LGBTQ therapy is the ability to be anonymous. Many online therapy platforms allow clients to share as much or as little personal information as they want. This is incredibly important for those in the LGBTQ community who haven’t come out yet and aren’t ready to associate their name with their sexual orientation.
For many Americans, health insurance is a luxury, and even with health insurance, there is often a co-pay, or the insurance doesn’t cover mental health services. This is why many people, LGBTQ or not, choose online counseling. Rates everywhere are different; however, it is commonly known that online therapy tends to be cheaper.
It’s quite obvious that online therapy is much more convenient than traditional therapy. There is no travel required, no gas money spent, and no social anxiety to stop you. Get help from anywhere – your living room, your cozy bed, or your car. It cannot get more convenient than that.
Last but definitely not least, another wonderful benefit to online therapy is the ability to chat via text with your therapist anytime, anywhere. Many LGBTQ online counseling programs offer a messaging service that can be used to write to their therapist.
What to Consider Before Choosing Online LGBTQ Therapy
Before jumping into anything too quickly, it’s always a good idea to understand every aspect of the situation beforehand. While online LGBTQ counseling is a wonderful tool for adults and youth alike, there are a few factors that may hinder a client's ability to fully embrace what online counseling has to offer.
With any type of messaging service, the process may start off slowly as the therapist strives to fully understand what problems the client is facing so they can meet them exactly where they are at. This may seem like an unnecessary step with far too many questions, but it is crucial for the foundation of a successful therapeutic relationship.
This slow-moving progress may deter some clients that are eager to fix themselves “quickly.” There is no quick fix in therapy. Oftentimes clients have years and years of internal struggles that need to be addressed head-on, one at a time.
Something important to note is that online therapy is not meant for serious mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, severe depression, and bipolar disorder. In those cases, traditional therapy with a professional in person is the safest and most effective route to take.
Online Therapy for LGBTQ Can Help You Enjoy Life Again
Living life as a minority can be exhausting. Facing stressors and issues only specific to yourself and the small margin of others like you can be an extremely lonely and isolating life.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Therapists are here to help. LGBTQ counseling can provide comfort, safety, personal growth, self-exploration, healing, and much more. In addition to all of these benefits, online counseling can provide healthy processing techniques to overcome stress, anxiety, and depression.
If online LGBTQ therapy sounds like what you need, visit us at DoMental, and our team of online therapists will be happy to help get you started on your journey to a healthier you.