What is LGBTQ2SIA + affirming therapy?(and why it might be right for you.) by Lisa Timberlake, LCSWA
What is LGBTQ2SIA + affirming therapy? (… and why it might be right for you.)
But first a little bit about me. I’m Lisa Timberlake (she/her) and I am an informed ally. I became a member of PFLAG in the 1990s and have never looked back. In my current role as a therapist I want to continue providing support, and assistance so you can live authentically.
LGBTQ2SIA + affirming therapy, what’s it all about?
Affirmation therapy rests on a core belief that supports, validates and confirms Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Two Soul, and Intersex individuals, relationships and families, and will discuss how homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, acephobia, and other negative beliefs
have impacted LGBTQ2SIA + clients. I will support the relationships that you are in and desire to be in, be they traditional or nontraditional. Families come in a lot of sizes.
When someone is experiencing depression, anxiety, or any of the stressors that make someone consult a therapist, they must know going into that first session that they will be in a safe place, and can truly discuss the concerns they have.
Asking for help is a sign of strength and you should feel support for each part of your identity.
My promise to you, is that I am able to self-reflect, and ensure that I will provide a safe and affirming place for you. I will stay informed on LGBTQ2SI+ issues as they affect us as a state, country, and world. I will advocate for your chosen name and pronouns.
I continually advocate for LGBTQ2S+ rights.
I can’t tell you what a typical session will look like, but I can tell you how the process generally starts. Our first session is our place to begin to get to know each other. This is more formal, I will have questions to ask so I can get some background information. The following sessions we’ll discuss ongoing concerns and look at some interventions that will help. During this period, you be able to express yourself and we will address the issues you present in session. Your sexuality and gender will not be questioned or belittled. Ongoing sessions will continue to be supportive, and we will address other concerns as they arise.
What benefits can you find in affirming therapy?
I believe in the therapeutic process and how it can benefit people in all areas of their life. Affirming therapy will provide that for you. LGBTQ2S+ people experience depression and anxiety at 2.5 times the rate of hetero/cis individuals. Being LGBTQ2S+ is not a mental disorder, and under no circumstances will I, as a therapist, try to convert or change you in this matter. Being in an affirming place means you have the freedom to discuss your concerns, set goals, and plan for the future without questioning the treatment goals. Treatment goals will be set by you, in collaboration with me during a session. They are as different as each of my clients and no two are the same.
There are so many reasons to see a therapist. You may want to examine past relationships and learn how to grow from them, changing unhealthy patterns and see your own explicit self-worth. You may need a new perspective on life, and need some fresh eyes on a situation. An affirming therapist will be able to be unbiased but, on your side helping you obtain your goals.
Maybe you have some past traumas that follow you around like a set of suitcases filled with bricks. There are lots of ways to address past trauma but having a therapist means you have someone to go to in the weeds with you and help you find a way out.
You are your own expert in your life, but even an expert needs assistance in the field.
If you’ve come to a place in your life where you are ready to ask for help, therapy is a great place to begin.
OK. But I need help now – There are some crisis support options. This is not a replacement for ongoing therapy with a qualified therapist, however having support while you are in crisis is important and necessary.
The Trevor Project provides 24 hour suicide crisis support for teens and young adult, call (866) 488-7386.
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
The Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis, and support is provided by trained crisis counselors.
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender National Hotline: (888) 843-4564
The GLBT National Youth Talkline (youth serving youth through age 25): (800) 246-7743
The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)
The True Colors United: (212) 461-4401