The LGBT population has more challenges than the heterosexual population. LGBT youth are four times as likely to attempt suicide and are more likely to engage in substance use . Trauma is defined as any event, situation, or person that had subjected a person to psychological, physical, sexually, or emotionally harm that has affected one’s functioning.
The gay community has more trauma just based on their sexual orientation, which is not accepted by all people. For instance, religious right wing groups feel that being gay is a sin and against God. These types of people have put LGBT youth through some very traumatic experiences, one of them Conversion Therapy. This type of therapy, which has been outlawed in some states, such as New Jersey has produced many negative and detrimental effects in the LGBT population, such as self-hatred and people trying to kill commit suicide, and ones who have successfully committed suicide. This internalized homophobia and self-hatred is something that needs to be dealt with a profession therapist .
Some ways that a therapist can make things easier for an LGBT person is by letting them know that they accept their sexuality. A therapist who actively affirms a client’s gay sexual orientation by bringing up LGBT issues can provide a safe environment for a client. Helping a client work through feelings of shame and guilt is helpful. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that focuses on changing one’s thoughts from negative to positive is a good technique . LGBT Support groups are also effective in helping gay people heal from trauma.
One potential problem that I see in terms of treating a gay person is the establishment of trust. A LGBT person has probably heard so much negativity about one’s sexuality. The therapist needs to make their non-judgement known right away. LGBT people live in a world that still is full of heterosexism .
While I have always been sympathetic toward victims, I realize that LGBT people have a tougher road. Their lives are often filled with messages that their sexual orientation is wrong and that they often endure bullying and discrimination that is quite traumatizing. I can only imagine how much fear some gay people experience in life.
- Chellew-Hodge, C. (2008). Bulletproof faith: a spirtual guide for gay and lesbian christians. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Health, N. I. (2015). NIH FY 2016-2020 strategic plan to advance research on the health and well-being of sexual and gender minorities. Washington D.C.: National Institute of Health.
- Johnson, A. G. (2006). Privilege, power, and difference, 2nd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Mondragon, T. (2013, September 7). RECOVERY FROM SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND THE TRAUMA OF GROWING UP GAY. Retrieved from Recovery View Website: http://recoveryview.com/Articles/TabId/107/ArtMID/657/ArticleID/1275/Recovery-From-Substance-Abuse-and-the-Trauma-of-Growing-Up-Gay.aspx