LGBTQ+ Affirming Therapy

LGBTQIA+ Therapy

If you consider yourself a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and you’re looking to get into therapy for any reason — it doesn’t have to be related to being LGBTQIA +. This makes it much easier for you, since you won’t have to explain or justify your identity. I am already familiar with and support all kinds of sexuality and gender identity.

Affirmative therapy is so important for working through mental health issues. When you come to therapy, you want there to be sincere trust and respect between you and your therapist. I create a safe space of acceptance for you to examine the issues you choose to work on.

What Is LGBTQIA+ Therapy?

LGBTQIA+ is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

It is common for sexual minorities to experience stress directly related to being a minority. This can make the ordinary stress of life that everyone faces even more intense. Living with social stigma, oppression, fear of being discriminated against, fear of, or actual, assault, shaming and invalidation can create a lot of stress. When left untreated, this kind of stress can compound and grow into anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How Does Affirming Therapy Work?

Coming Out

Coming out to your family along with struggling to find a real and grounded sense of who you are, can lead to mental health concerns. You might be dealing with feeling suicidal, self-harm issues or substance abuse. In childhood, harassment, bullying and victimization are more common and lead to chronic stress which often doesn’t get dealt with until adulthood.

This can make you afraid of possible discrimination and harassment in everyday life. Even when you are just living your normal day-to-day life, you may feel like you have to be vigilant and on the lookout for possible danger. This is a hard way to live, but a real reality for many LGBTQIA+ people. Therapy can be a vital resource. Finding a therapist who has experience with LGBTQ issues can be so affirming.

You might also feel a sense of ambivalence about your sexual orientation. Therapy is a great place to discuss all the possibilities and discover what you are comfortable with. The truth is, you don’t need to label yourself one way or the other. Therapy around sexual orientation and/or “coming out” helps you explore, in a neutral, respectful, and accepting manner, the nature of your attractions. You can step into the future a bit and explore your desire for future relationships, how you feel about your current partner, and even the possibility of having children.

Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is when you have significant distress because your gender identity or expression does not correspond with the gender you were assigned at birth. If you are experiencing a deep sense of “who am I?” related to your physical body and how the world sees your “gender identity,” therapy can help.

You can explore the realm of possibilities available to you. You may feel a desire to have different anatomical characteristics and experience feelings and reactions associated with a gender other than the gender assigned at birth. You may want to explore the deep implications around gender transitioning and all that comes with it from confusion and anxiety, to curiosity and possibilities, to hope and action.

Wherever you are in your internal discussions about your gender, I offer you a safe place to talk about your gender, gender transitioning and any confusion, sadness or anxiety that’s coming up. Therapy is the place to explore what you want and take the time needed to honor yourself and figure out your best next steps.

What Is Affirmative Therapy?

Although I am not a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, I am an ally. In order to feel comfortable and have a successful experience in therapy, you need a therapist who is informed, supportive and respectful, regardless of your sexual identity or gender identity.

This takes the burden off of you to explain or justify who you are. If you are learning to accept and embrace your LGBTQIA+ identity, this will be key to working through your mental health challenges.

You might decide to start therapy to deal with problems related to your sexuality or gender. You may also need therapy to help with depression, trauma, anxiety, ADHD or other concerns. Either way, choosing a LGBTQIA+ affirming therapist will greatly increase your trust and success in therapy. Affirmative psychotherapy can make you feel comfortable and seen.

What Techniques Are Used In Affirmative Therapy?

As stated above, Neurofeedback is very helpful because of how it interacts with your brain. Below are specific symptoms plus details on how it can help each one.

Listening, Exploration And Inquiry

During our sessions, I will listen and ask you questions to help you explore who you are and what you want. Discussing all possibilities helps you be more clear, increases self-understanding, self-esteem and compassion towards yourself.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR will help you process and desensitize to difficult traumatic events and memories. This can be a very important step on the road to self-realization and acceptance.


Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. We can’t change the past, nor can we control the future. Both of these factors often leave people with feelings of sadness and fear. Learning meditation, breathing and relaxation skills will help you tune into what you want and who you are so you can deepen your self-acceptance. Being at peace with your identity is an important goal.


Neurofeedback is a powerful technique to help you cope with everything from crippling anxiety and depression to trauma. It works directly with the brain, helping to recalibrate your stress response. You find a calm resting state so you can feel more resilient and more yourself. It’s a great compliment to the work you’re doing in therapy and often makes therapy more productive. Why? Because the experiences you’re going through are currently being filtered through your anxious nervous system. After neurofeedback your nervous system calms down, so tackling harder, more emotional topics is less stressful on you and your body.

My Approach To Working With LGBTQIA+ Clients

Therapy is helpful because it gives you a dedicated time and approach to really explore everything you’re feeling and thinking. When we meet each week, we’ll explore what’s going on in your life now and suss out the causes underneath your feelings so we can determine why you’re in the emotional place you’re in. For many clients, they have deeply embedded trauma as part of their story. Whether this is Big T trauma (assault, gaslighting, or abuse) or it’s little T trauma (watching the media’s portrayal of how unsafe the world is), your trauma response has a direct impact on how you manage the stress you’re under right now. Trauma support from EMDR and Neurofeedback help you to feel much more peace in your mind and body. This also helps you with trust issues, feeling on edge as you “wait” for the next hurtful thing to happen and social isolation. These trauma reactions are signs that you have been hurt and you need to heal. Everyone’s journey is different, and you can heal in the way that is right for you.

What Qualities To Look For In A LGBTQ Affirming Therapist

You want to feel like you and your therapist are working together. Your therapist needs to be right with you so you feel really seen and understood. Qualities to look for are warmth, acceptance, empathy and an ability to focus on others, not themselves.

You want to have a good intuitive feeling of trust when you talk to your therapist. Trust your gut and move on if it doesn’t feel right.

Find someone who can help you identify your patterns and the things that you do that hold you back. A therapist who can offer you different ways of looking at things that you never thought of before is important to your self-growth.

You also want a therapist who offers good feedback and explains things well. The explanation should be grounded in who you are and your individual symptoms, not feelings or “hunches” about what they see. Ideally, your therapist is also capable of remaining neutral as they observe what’s happening in your life, but not to the point where they aren’t able to be warm, curious and have a sense of humor.

Is It Better To See An Affirming Therapist In-Person Or Online?

Sometimes you can’t find an LGBTQ affirming therapist in your community. In that case, online therapy will be invaluable. Online therapy also really broadens your search for the right therapist so you’re not limited to your town or your drive to/from work. When you open up your choices to online therapy, you can work on matching your desired criteria more closely on what you want versus just picking who is close. You can look for someone you feel the most comfortable with since you have a lot more therapists to choose from.

This is particularly important if you’re considering gender confirmation surgery and you are required to seek therapy before undergoing surgery. If this is your story, you probably need a specialist in this area who has helped other people with the nuances of the transitioning process.

That said, starting from the position of seeking an LGBTQ affirming therapist online will really help you find the right person.

LGBTQIA+ Therapy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

LGBTQIA+ is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Go online and type LGBTQ therapist in whatever city you are in. You can also contact your local LGBTQ center. They will often have good resources. Finally, ask a trusted friend or other community member for a referral.

 If you’re unsure, reach out to me and I’ll see how I can support you.
Traditionally, doctors have required patients to provide a letter from a therapist stating that they are mentally and emotionally ready to have gender changing surgeries. Recently, highly informed doctors have begun using informed consent as the measurement of your mental preparedness for what’s ahead of you. Given that there is a big change underway, many clients find that therapy is an important part of exploring their identities. If you are transitioning, you may find it very helpful as you go through each step so you are not alone and have someone to share your process with, even if what you’re going through is super positive and affirming.

As a therapist, my goals for you are to feel accepted, seen and validated for your sexual and gender identity while exploring the various issues that you would like to work on.

This is the heart of therapy: helping clients get in honest touch with their choices, values and consequences so they make informed decisions about their life. If you’re ready for this kind of support, I would love to connect with you and explore working together.

Get Help Today

My therapy practice is located in California and I see clients in my Santa Monica and Torrance offices. If you’re looking for help, please reach out to me. I do not have a wait list and can schedule clients quickly. My practice is cash-based which means I do not accept insurance at this time.

You can reach me directly at 310-314-6933 or email me at  If you are in a true emergency, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text NSPL at 988.