Therapists working with LGBT clients are bound to experience numerous unique challenges. Despite several advances in attaining cultural acceptance and equality, LGBT individuals still often experience marginalization, discrimination, rejection, and bullying. The cumulative and acute impacts of these experiences result in elevated levels of substance use and mental health disorders in the LGBT population.
Nevertheless, working with LGBT individuals is the same as working with people from any other cultural group. Similar to other cultural minorities, these clients have a sequence of certain experiences plus particular stresses that may impact their psychological health. Thus, gaining comprehension of their potential needs and social situation is the first thing or step in carrying out effective mental work.
To engage a client who identifies in an LGBT community in a treatment group, you should first create a safe environment to allow the client to feel comfortable in revealing sensitive information during the therapeutic process. You should create a safe environment by remaining current with the sensitivity training plus various supporting organizations that support LGBT. For instance, finding one organization in your hometown or an LGBT club will work toward creating a safe environment.
Besides, you ought to ensure that clients aren’t judged as heterosexuals. You have to assess what’s comfortable for your client and never assume that he/she is of a certain group. Also, allow the person to self-identify instead of verbalizing an assumption. This is by avoiding labeling the client and allowing them to choose how they would like to get identified.
In addition, have to ensure that you have a positive attitude towards the client. Self-examine your values, beliefs, and attitudes towards the client to make sure that you’re striving for what this client needs to become a successful person. You should check your attitudes while working with the LGBT client since even the littlest insinuation or hint of speech or body language may affect the treatment process. In case personal biases aren’t controlled, they may harbor self-hatred and result in denial concerning challenging issues (Johns, 2009).
Johns, E. M. (2009). The Challenges and Approaches to Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth. Journal of Academic Writing.