Navigating the world as an LGBT individual or couple can be tricky. Not only do you have to deal with the everyday pressures and stressors that everyone else does, but you also have to contend with additional challenges that come with being a member of the LGBT community.
These challenges are why finding a counseling service that understands and supports your unique needs and challenges is essential.
Here are some of our best tips on how to find the best LGBT couples counseling for you and your relationship.
Look for Providers Trained in Gay Couples Counseling
While any therapist can theoretically help an LGBT person or couple, it’s always best to seek out those specifically trained in the issues you’re likely to face. Otherwise, you might end up feeling misunderstood or even further marginalized. Counseling is supposed to help you, not make you feel worse.
When searching for a provider, you will often see therapists include that they are LGBT-friendly as part of who they serve. It’s a good idea to look for someone who has undergone specialized training in LGBT counseling, such as the Pride Institute’s Clinical Training in LGBTQ Behavioral Health.
You can use the provider’s website to find this information or check national registries such as the APA or state licensing boards’ websites.
Make Sure They Know the Unique Challenges Faced by the LGBT Community
There is a significant amount of diversity within the LGBT community, so it’s essential to find a counselor who is aware of and sensitive to the specific issues faced by your subgroup.
For example, if you’re a lesbian couple, you’ll want to find someone who understands the unique challenges of being in a same-sex relationship. The same goes for gay men, bisexual individuals, transgender individuals, etc.
It may be beneficial to you to find a counselor or therapist with a background in human sexuality. Individuals who have taken classes or completed doctoral programs in human sexuality understand the cross-over between embracing sexuality and the power that it can give to individuals and couples.
Check Out Their Website and Social Media Presence
In today’s digital age, getting a sense of what someone might be like before you even meet them in person or give them a call is easy. It’s best to take advantage of this by doing some sleuthing on potential providers’ websites and social media profiles. Reading through their blog posts to see the kinds of topics they discuss will give you an idea of how they like to approach these topics, too!
Are they openly supportive of the LGBT community? Do they seem open-minded and non-judgmental? Do they provide resources relevant to your needs for other areas of your life? If not, it may be a good idea to keep looking until you find someone who meets your needs in this regard.
Ask Around for Recommendations
If you know anyone who has gone through LGBT couples counseling, see if they have any recommendations for you. Asking what kinds of therapy a provider uses, their school of thought and counseling approach, and how they approach challenges in their own lives will give you an idea of how your gay couples counseling experience will go.
Personal recommendations can help you cut down on the time you spend searching for a provider and will give you a sense of familiarity with the types of outcomes they’re able to provide before you begin your search.
Recommendations are often one of the best ways to find a good therapist because you’ll be getting first-hand information from someone whose opinion you trust.
Go With Your Gut
At the end of the day, it’s crucial to go with your gut when choosing a counselor for gay couples counseling. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and move on to another option.
Too often, we don’t allow ourselves to trust our intuition, but our gut feelings are there to help us. It can be easy to confuse intuition with anxiety or memories of previous bad experiences, but even these uncomfortable feelings are there to tell us something. Don’t be afraid to move on to the next option if something isn’t sitting right with you.
If at First, You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again
It can take some time to feel comfortable with a therapist, and running into issues after you’ve already spent time gaining trust in one can feel difficult. You may even decide that therapy isn’t worth it or that it would be too hard to try and start the counseling process over with someone else.
Every counselor and therapist is a different individual with a unique way of approaching every situation, even if one therapist has identical training and certifications as another therapist. It’s worth keeping in mind that professionals are still people too, and you don’t make friends with every single person you meet. Sometimes, things just don’t click, and that’s okay.
Find A Therapist Who Is Gay or Part of the LGBTQ Community
While this isn’t a requirement, finding a gay therapist may make you feel more comfortable knowing that they can relate to your experiences more personally. At Estes Therapy, a handful of our therapists are gay or part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and therefore have a deep understanding of what you might be going through.
Don’t be afraid to ask your therapist questions about their experiences to see how well they can relate to you. It can be challenging to find people we can relate to, and talking to your potential counselors and therapists is the only way to find out the information you need to make an informed decision.
The journey toward finding the best LGBT couples counseling can be daunting. Still, it’s well worth it to invest the time and effort into finding someone who genuinely understands your unique needs and can provide supportive, non-judgmental care.
Use these tips as a starting point in your search, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Estes Therapy if you need any assistance along the way.