“Coming out” with sexual and/or gender identity involves a multi-stage process and is not a one-time event. I think of it as coming “true” rather than “out.” The first stage involves internal acceptance and understanding, and this step for some is easy and natural. Others feel challenged due to cultural pressure, religious beliefs, or internalized homophobia, just to name a few. The second stage involves sharing this aspect of self with others. Sharing sexual identity may be surprising news to family and friends, and they also go through a period of understanding leading hopefully to acceptance. The final stage entails simply living the life one deserves where sexual identity is one aspect of identity, and no different from profession, hobbies, or even favorite color.
For those struggling with any stage of this process, counseling offers exploration in a safe and supporting environment. I work with individuals on a variety of topics:
- Identity Development
- Religious and Spiritual Beliefs
- Education about LGBTQ+ Issues
- Sexual Health and Well Being
- Relationship Issues
Married and Gay?
Some people go through this process later in life often after being in a straight relationship or marriage. When a spouse comes to terms with being gay, that reality initially feels terrifying. Many experience depression, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness, and it may feel that telling this truth will bring on Armageddon. Counseling helps individuals and couples chart what the future will bring. The work takes courage and honesty with self and spouse. I have no pre-determined answers that are right for everyone, and we can explore all options to move forward. If you are in this situation, I urge you to reach out for help. You are not the first and you are not alone.
I offer group therapy for men who come out later in life. We meet weekly on Monday evenings from 5:30 to 7:00 for a fee of $50. This is a men’s group that focuses on positive identity development. To get involved, I will meet with you individually first at no charge to make sure the group is a right fit for your needs. Call me at (770) 828-5441 to set up a meeting.