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Specializations - Gay and Bisexual Men's Mental Health and Wellness

As a gay man, I am sensitive to the challenges faced by gay and bisexual men, especially those which make it difficult to build loving relationships.  Below are some common concerns of gay and bisexual clients:

  • Internalized homophobia Many gay and bisexual men have lived for years quietly disavowing their same-sex desire.  This may have been necessary because of fear, inadequate information about sexual orientation or for protection from ridicule, prejudice, and physical abuse.  Significant healing can occur if clients are able to work through shame and guilt and learn to embrace a healthy identity.  In that way they become equal citizens of the world.
  • Sexual health Societal prejudice, religious abuse, and anti-gay messages that permeate our culture contribute to self-hatred about same-sex desire.  This attitude, combined with a reticence to discuss yearnings, desires, and conflicts, can impact sexual health.  Clients can experience significant healing through therapy which helps them heal sexual shame and embrace and celebrate their desires with more freedom.
  • Difficulty forming and sustaining romantic relationships Although nearly everyone encounters obstacles to building and sustaining romantic relationships, there are added barriers for gay men.  One barrier is a belief that gay men are incapable of forming committed relationships.  Another has been a lack of role models of loving gay couples.  Additionally, many men experience a disconnection between loving and erotic feelings.  Connecting these feelings begins as they receive support to discuss their shame about erotic desire and affectionate needs.  Once this conversation begins, clients may experience both love and eroticism within romantic relationships for the first time. This helps modify internalized beliefs and can improve romantic relationships between men.
  • Maladaptive coping strategies Internalized homophobia and self-hatred about same-sex desire cause some people to seek ways to eradicate their natural attraction.  These feelings and unresolved anger and fear about social acceptance may produce depression and anxiety.  Some men turn to substance abuse or other behaviors, such as sexual compulsivity, to cover emotional pain, isolation, and hopelessness.  Psychotherapy is a powerful tool to address these coping strategies which may have been helpful at one time, but are no longer useful.

Although gay and bisexual men benefit from individual, couples, and group therapy, many find that group therapy is especially healing.  Group therapy can provide a corrective emotional experience for clients who grew up without the support and engagement of a helpful peer group.  In a deep working therapy group, clients have the opportunity to benefit from regularly interacting with caring people who are motivated to learn more about human relationships.

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