Finding Affirming Mental Health Care
This section was original published as an article on MHA's website here.
It is not safe to assume that all therapists will be knowledgeable or sympathetic to LGBTQ issues. Luckily, the internet has made it easy to do a lot of research on potential therapists before making an appointment.
One of the best and easiest ways to find LGBTQ-friendly therapy is online through a search engine like HelpPRO or Psychology Today. These are tools that offer several different filters including insurance, gender identity, sexual orientation, transgender support and more. You will find therapists in your area who specialize and have experience working with LGBTQ clients. Each therapist has their own profile with an about section where you can learn more about them and their practice. Find qualifications, specialties, treatment approach, client focus, issues, and financial information as well as contact information all on their page.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) partnered with us to develop a tool to help you determine whether your therapist will be responsive to your LGBTQ+ identity–especially if you are also a person of color.
When looking for LGBTQ-friendly therapy, there are two areas to pay attention to:
- Client focus and specialties: Look for a therapist whose specialties reflect you and your needs. Consider clicking more or less areas of specialties to focus in on what you want to address in treatment and to get a longer or shorter list.
- Do additional research: You can learn a lot about therapists based on what they put online. Start with the profile to help narrow your search and then continue research online. Find out what makes each therapist unique and who may resonate with you. Along with finding therapist that explicitly talk about LGBTQ-related issues or even the specific issue you’re hoping to work through, look for other qualities that you think will help with the relationship. Ultimately, if this looks like a person you can trust, that’s a great start.
Most therapists will do a 15-20-minute phone interview so you can see if they are a good fit. Be sure and ask questions about any information you didn’t see on the web such as insurance and payment information, their qualifications, approach to helping and anything else you are curious about. Ask them about their training, knowledge and experience in working with the LGBTQ population. If you have questions about a specific issue now is the time to ask.
Additionally, some therapists run group therapy sessions for specific communities and issues. For example, one such page lists “group therapy for gay men.” Check for groups to find community and support from other people going through the same things as you.
If you aren’t having any luck finding an LGBTQ-sympathetic therapist near you, look for a distance therapy option. Some therapists offer their through the phone or online video support. See if there is a LGBTQ community center in your area that can point you in the right direction.
The Healthcare Equality Index – The HEI evaluates healthcare facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors, and employees.
Questions to Help QTBIPOC Find Affirming Mental Health Providers - This tool was developed in partnership with HRC. Although it was developed for people of color who identify as LGBTQ+, these are good questions for anyone who is worried about having a therapist who is affirming of your identity.
The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s Provider Directory
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network