Gay and Lesbian individuals experience enduring emotional, romantic or sexual feelings primarily for people of the same sex. They enter therapy for help with the same clinical and life issues that heterosexuals do – depression, anxiety disorders, grief, relationship difficulties, work dissatisfaction, etc.
What is Sexual Orientation?
A person attracted to another person of the same sex is said to have a homosexual orientation and may be called gay (both men and women) or lesbian. Individuals attracted to persons of the other sex are said to have a heterosexual orientation. Individuals who are attracted to both men and women are said to be bisexual. The acronym ‘GLB’ is used to refer to gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals collectively.
The concept of sexual orientation refers to more than sexual behavior. It includes feelings as well as identity. Some individuals may identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual without engaging in any sexual activity. Some people believe that sexual orientation is innate and fixed; but sexual orientation develops across a person’s lifetime. Individuals may become aware at different points in their lives that they are heterosexual, gay, lesbian or bisexual.
Is Something Wrong With Being Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual?
No, there have been people in all cultures and times throughout human history who have identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Homosexuality is not an illness or a disorder, a fact agreed upon by both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association. Homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association in 1974.
According to statistics, one in every ten people in this country and around the world is lesbian, gay or bisexual. Approximately one in four families has an immediate family member who is GLB, and most people have at least one GLB individual in their extended circle of friends and family.
What are the Goals of GLB Therapy?
Some issues of GLB people have little to do with their sexual orientation while others will be intimately connected to their GLB identity. Even when a patient’s chief complaint seems unrelated to being GLB, issues of sexual orientation are likely to play a role in how treatment may unfold. Therapy can be helpful to people of all ages for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are thinking about coming out, or are struggling to accept their sexuality, having problems in their relationship or are feeling anxious or depressed.