flower cIt is important to note that homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder, nor are LGBT individuals “sick or “confused.” In most cases, an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity may not be a source of distress. Unfortunately, some people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender may experience social stigma that may cause increased anxiety or depression. Although there is a rapidly growing societal acceptance of diverse sexual orientations and gender identity, some LGBT individuals may continue to experience discrimination. While LGBT clients of all ages may experience coming-out issues, youth are more likely to face a host of coming-out problems. Research shows that adolescents who identify as LGBT are at a higher risk for bullying and social rejection which can lead to depression, anxiety, and/or self-harm.

Therapy provides a safe, trusting, respectful, and nonjudgmental environment in which clients can be open about themselves and they can speak freely about all aspects of their lives. Participating in therapy can help clients with the coming-out process as well as help clients to alleviate depression and anxiety related to possible social stigma or discrimination. LGBT individuals who are experiencing relationship issues may wish to participate in individual or couples therapy with a therapist who specializes in LGBT issues. Additionally, individuals considering sex reassignment surgery are often required to participate in therapy prior to undergoing the sex-reassignment surgery.