LGBTQ Individuals and Partners Counseling

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersexual, and Allies

Many of the concerns these people bring to counseling are like those of straight clients. In addition, Idaho has begun to be more accepting of differences in culture, national origin, and sexual orientation. However, concerns remain. Whether in Boise, or smaller towns in Idaho, people with sexual orientation differences remain very aware of dangers and negative judgments. Likewise, there is often more personal pain because of rejection by family members, friends, and communities of faith. Many people who are new to the Boise area, or who are new to acknowledging their own non-traditional orientation, feel isolated, not knowing others in this area’s LGBTQ community. In counseling/therapy we address, educate, and process these issues.

New awareness and acceptance has brought up other issues. For one, more of the people in this community are giving birth, adopting, and/or sharing custody of children. These parents meet the usual challenges of being a parent, they may also have to deal with educating their children about why grandparents reject them, why their friend’s parents will not allow them to play together, why one birth parent does not want them to spend time with the other, even when there has been no sign of abuse or neglect. Some of these parents are very conservative in their views and lifestyles, but because they experience sexuality differently they must be hyper-aware of the dangers to themselves as well as their children.

Secondly, as more people become accepting, younger people are talking about their differences sooner. This reduces their stress from secretiveness and shame. Hopefully this will help reduce the number of suicides among these youths. However, there may be a different stress for these youths. Adolescence is a time for studying ones self, adjusting to changes in ones relationships, bodies, and responsibilities. Some youth seem to be feeling pressured to proclaim their sexual orientation. Some are clear and ready. But many youths are still “in process.” They come into counseling with stressed parents, also in process. They come into counseling less depressed but more anxious/fearful that they are somehow less because they cannot do what they feel is expected. Our culture is trying to work out a way for youths to transition into adulthood. In the mean time these youths need time, emotional safety, physical safety and support.

Counseling/Therapy must provide a safe, respectful and confidential environment where individuals, couples, and families can sort through issues and prioritize options.