At 23, I made the decision to become a psychologist, in large part because I wanted to help gay men and lesbians build fulfilling lives despite the strong societal discrimination then prevalent.
While a lot has improved in recent years, gay people still face unique challenges:
- Growing up gay is difficult. You may absorb negative beliefs about yourself that are hard to shake, contributing to ongoing depression, anxiety, self-destructive behaviors, and low self-esteem. Hiding who you really are from everyone around you is profoundly isolating. Pretending to be someone you’re not is hard work and causes all sorts of grief.
- Coming out to family and friends is liberating, but can mean putting your social support at risk and feeling alone. Though staying in the closet may seem less risky, being closeted is lonely and reinforces feeling bad about yourself.
- You may have job/career difficulties whether you’re out or not: Workplaces do not always welcome employees who are openly LGBT; but staying in the closet can keep you distant and disconnected from colleagues, interfering with your performance, your well-being, and your advancement.
- Alcohol and drug use can soothe the isolation, distress, and alienation of living in an often-hostile world, but can also put your life on a ruinous course.
- Even after coming out, you may feel pressure to behave in ways you don’t respect, sexually and socially, in order to feel like you fit in with your peers and community.
- Being in a same-sex relationship can be challenging. Although gay marriage is now legal throughout the United States, stigma and lack of social support still take a toll on couples. You may not have role models for how to build a loving partnership. And many couples get lost in the pros and cons of whether to be monogamous or have an open relationship.
- Intimacy—letting someone know you well—doesn’t come easily when you’ve spent a good portion of your life hiding who you are.
I have decades of specialized experience in counseling lesbian and gay couples and individuals to successfully deal with these struggles here in Washington DC, and will be glad to help you find a path forward through therapy to a richer, freer, happier, and more rewarding life.
I’m honored to write the advice column in THE WASHINGTON BLADE, DC’s LGBT newspaper. You can read my column here.
Learn more about my individual therapy work.
Learn more about my couples counseling work.
My therapy dog Aviv is often a soothing, unobtrusive presence in my sessions.
Check out my blog posts to get a sense of my work as a psychologist. You might also enjoy an article I wrote about open relationships in THE HUFFINGTON POST, and a piece I wrote on gay men and monogamy for THE GOOD MEN PROJECT.