• Team Helsa

The importance of LGBTQ+ specialised therapists

Updated: Mar 27

Choosing the right therapist is no easy feat. LGBTQ+ people can sometimes find it even more challenging to find therapists that they feel are suited to their mental and emotional needs. A pervasive culture of stigma, homophobia and discrimination unfortunately means that many LGBTQ+ people who are looking for mental and emotional support feel that their sexualities or gender identity can be of issue for some therapists. 

If you’re considering therapy and are unsure how to go about finding the right therapist for you, one of the questions you may be asking yourself is ‘should I choose a therapist who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community?’ 

This is a perfectly natural question, but one that you have to explore deeply within yourself. That said, there are compelling reasons for seeing a therapist who is a member of the community themselves, an ally of the community, and with specialised training and experience in supporting LGBTQ+ clients. 

Familiarity with issues specific to sexuality and gender identity

While all therapists receive training on common mental health issues, there are some aspects of our sexualities that directly impact our mental health. Having a therapist who has dealt with some of the same issues or has some experience working with LGBTQ+ clients who has dealt with similar issues will give you a better forum to address those concerns.

Openness about discussing sexuality

LGBTQ+ people can sometimes feel uncomfortable discussing their sex lives and intimacy with people who they fear might not approach them with understanding, acceptance and compassion. Whether this fear is driven by shame or a history of feeling judged by others, working with a therapist whom you know is comfortable with and entirely accepting of your sexuality in its entirety is an invaluable asset in a therapeutic environment. 

Sensitivity to minority stress

Minority stress is a term used to describe socially-based stressors that affect members of the LGBTQ+ community. Those stress factors account for the prevalence of certain mental health concerns and issues that are heightened among members of sexual minorities. An LGBTQ+ therapist or LGBTQ+ ally with the requisite training would be better able to explore how such stressors may be impacting your overall mental wellbeing. 

While these are clear benefits of going to see a LGBTQ+ specialised therapist, choosing a therapist is an incredibly personal decision. While you may either be drawn to or put off by seeing a therapist who is LGBTQ+ themselves it is imperative that you ensure you are seeing someone who is at the very least open and accepting of your sexuality and who will not shy away from discussing any aspect of your personal life.

All of Helsa’s partner therapists have been pre-vetted to ensure that they are well-placed to help LGBTQ+ clients and that they will approach them with the necessary openness, understanding, compassion and specialised knowledge needed for an effective therapy experience.   

If you do, however, choose to go about your search independently from Helsa, please don’t shy away from asking your prospective therapist about their experience working with LGBTQ+ clients, their training and educational background as it relates to sexuality and gender identity, and their openness to discussing your sexuality. Anything less than a wholehearted and enthusiastic ‘yes’ to that last question is not good enough and you should continue your search elsewhere.