The First Steps Towards Healing After an Affair - Foundations Family Counseling (1) 03 Feb 2021

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How Talk Therapy Can Be Helpful for Your LGBTQ Teen

For many LGBTQ teens, feeling safe and open to discussing their often conflicting feelings is difficult. Mental illness affects teens in the LGBTQ community at a much higher rate than their cisgender, heterosexual peers; LGBTQ teens are six times more likely to experience depression and four times more likely to have thoughts about suicide or self-harm. The most concerning statistic is for those whose families reject their identity. LGBTQ teens from non-supportive families are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families are accepting of their identities.

You only want what’s best for your child, but you may not know how to handle their emotions and unique experiences as an LGBTQ individual. Whether they are questioning their gender or sexuality, recently came out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, it’s critical for them to feel like they are loved, supported and whole exactly as they are, no matter who they love, what their pronouns are or who they wish to become in the future.

Talk therapy for LGBTQ teens takes both age and experience into account. The mental health of teenagers is already characterized by unique challenges, including struggles with body image, self-esteem and identity. When a teenager is also facing other challenges related to their sexuality or gender, it can have a compounding effect on their mental health. In therapy, they will be able to gain support, guidance and acceptance while learning how to cope with any underlying mental health issues they are experiencing.

Cope With Prejudice and Bullying

LGBTQ teens are twice as likely as their peers to experience bullying, violence and sexual assault. Learning how to recognize the warning signs of an abusive relationship, setting boundaries and building resilience are all topics that can be covered in therapy. Some teens may feel more comfortable discussing situations with a third party than with their parents. Rather than forcing them to open up about experiences with their family, a therapist allows them to work through feelings in a safe space and reveal things on their own terms.

Build a Good Self-Esteem

When a teenager feels like their sexuality or gender is different than what they consider “normal,” they’re more likely to suffer from low self-esteem. They might feel like they are broken or damaged because of who they are attracted to or how they see themselves. In transgender teens, body dysphoria can also trigger depression and self-loathing.

Part of a therapist’s job is to help every client see the inherent value in themselves regardless of where they currently are in life or what struggles they are facing. For an LGBTQ teen, this means building a solid foundation of positive self-talk and personal regard that they can rely on as they grow.

Treat Mental Health Issues

Because LGBTQ youth are more likely to experience mental illness, therapy is always beneficial to assess their current mental health. Most mental illnesses present themselves before age 14, but far too few are ever addressed during adolescence. By participating in talk therapy, your teen can get help for any psychological symptoms they’re experiencing and prevent them from worsening in the future.

Therapy helps teens let go of judgement and recognize the value in their identity. Different forms of talk therapy can be used depending on their needs, including cognitive-behavioral, emotionally-focused, and body-centered approaches. If you are interested in learning more about our services or scheduling a virtual or in-person counseling appointment for your teen, contact Caring Heart Counseling or request an appointment today.