“Coming out” is a multi-stage process not a one-time event. The first stage involves internal acceptance and understanding. For some this step is easy and natural. For others it can be challenging due to cultural pressure, religious beliefs, or internalized homophobia – to name a few. This journey can happen at anytime in life. The second stage involves sharing this aspect of self with others. Just like the first stage, this process is smooth and easy for some, but can be very challenging for others. This may be surprising news to family and friends, and they also go through a period of understanding and, hopefully, acceptance. The final stage is simply living the life one deserves where sexual identity is one aspect of identity just like profession, hobbies, or even favorite color.
For those who struggle with any stage of this process, counseling offers the opportunity to explore the myriad of issues involved in a safe and supporting environment. I work with individuals, couples, and family members on a variety of topics:
- Identity Development
- Religious and Spiritual Beliefs
- Education about LGBT Issues
- Sexual Health and Well Being
- Relationship Issues
Married and Gay?
It is not unusual for a person to go through this process later in life – often after being in a heterosexual relationship or marriage. For a spouse who comes to terms with being gay or bisexual, that reality is terrifying for many reasons and often leads to depression, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness. When a couple finds themselves in this situation, it may feel like Armageddon. Professional help can be critical to help the individuals and the couple chart what the future will bring. I have expertise in what are called “mixed-orientation” marriages. The work involved takes courage and honesty with self and spouse. I join the individual or couple where they are with no pre-determined answers. 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 those who come out later in life. We meet weekly on Monday evenings from 6:30 to 8:00 for a fee of $40. This is a mixed-gender 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.