The term “LGBT” is an acronym for Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender.
Developed in the 1970’s, Lesbian and Gay-Affirmative Psychotherapy (Bisexuality and Transgender were added later) was created as homosexuality was removed from the DSM-II as a mental disorder (1973). This methodology developed out of the idea that not only is there nothing inherently wrong with being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender but that these sexual orientations and gender identities are, in fact, a beautiful and special way to be in the world. Out of this important affirming belief system a guide for mental health clinicians was developed.
Working within the framework of an affirmative approach, I create a safe, warm, and empathic environment that aims to heal the trauma of growing up LGBT in a heterosexist world. Studies show that growing up LGBT in a world that negates, devalues, and demonizes same-sex love and gender variance is very traumatizing to the budding sense of self. Together we will begin to address and deconstruct any and all negative myths and messages about LGBT people that you were taught. Over time I begin to confront any of these messages that have been inadvertently internalized and taken on as a part of your Core Self. It is my passion to debunk these damaging lies so that you can begin to feel an authentic sense of self-love, confidence, empowerment, and joy. And most of all – this style of psychotherapy works – it really, really works.
From a lesbian perspective, Lesbian-Affirmative Psychotherapy increases self-esteem by confronting the damaging effects of Internalized Lesbianphobia. Internalized Lesbianphobia is defined as largely unconscious feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. These aspects can arise as a result of the internalization of homophobia, misogyny, and genderphobia, which are instilled in lesbians by our cultures that are obviously and not so obviously homophobic and sexist (Costine, 2008). In addition to Internalized Lesbianphobia, lesbians are often filled with varying aspects of “toxic shame,” which psychologist John Bradshaw describes as a belief that one is flawed or inadequate at the core of one’s being. Being that Western culture is a shame-based heterosexist society, which denies anything non-heterosexual as valid or worthy, it is highly recommended that a lesbian confront the Internalized Lesbianphobia and toxic shame within or in order to start experiencing authentic feelings of self-love and psychological liberation.
Lesbian-Affirmative Psychotherapy is about reclaiming an integrated lesbian sense of self where an authentic self-esteem finds the place within to emerge, as can an empowered lesbian sense of self-love.