The LGBT Health & Development Program

How Do I Know If I Need To Go To Therapy?


Posted on January 4th, 2013 by Michael in Ask an Expert, Featured, Youth Blog. No Comments

People go to therapy for a lot of different reasons.  Sometimes people see a therapist when they are “stressed out” or have a lot on their minds. LGBTQ youth often have a lot of stress in their lives that other young people don’t have to deal with.

Other times, people go to see a therapist when they are struggling with a mental health problem, like depression or anxiety. Everyone feels sad or anxious sometimes, and some people have these experiences more than other people do. One way to know if you are having a problem with depression or anxiety is if you can’t control feelings of sadness, guilt, or worry, or if these feelings occur most days. Also, if you ever find yourself thinking about harming yourself in some way or taking your own life, you should seek help immediately. You can always call 911 or the Trevor Line for help.

No matter what reason, you shouldn’t feel ashamed about wanting to be the healthiest and happiest person you can be!

What type of therapist should I see?

There are lots of different types of therapists out there.  If you are going to therapy because you have a lot of stress, then “counselors” are usually a good choice. When you have problems with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, it is important to see a therapist that has specific training treating these problems.  Lots of people like therapists who use “Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy” or “CBT.”  It is short-term therapy and is effective at treating depression and anxiety in young people.  Click here for a good search engine to find a CBT therapist near you.

Sometimes LGBTQ people find it really helpful to see a therapist that is LGBTQ themselves or who has experience working with LGBTQ people.  Therapists will often say they are “LGBT affirming” on their websites if they have experience working with LGBT people. You don’t have to see an “LGBTQ therapist” because you are LGBTQ, but some people are more comfortable with someone who has shared their experiences.

What’s it like to be in therapy?

A lot of people are worried about what therapy is like. Don’t be! Therapy is different from talking to a friend or family member about your problems or concerns.  In friendships, you both know a lot about each other and help each other out during difficult times.  In therapy, you don’t know much about the personal life of your therapist.  That can feel strange at first, because all the attention is on you. But it can be very helpful to talk about your problems with someone that doesn’t know you in your everyday life. Remember, it’s important to seek help from both friends and a therapist when you are going through a difficult time.

How do I find a therapist?

LGBT community centers are usually good places to find a therapist.  There are many LGBT centers around the United States.  In Chicago, the Center on Halsted and Broadway Youth Center provide low cost or free therapy for LGBTQ youth.  If you don’t have an LGBT center in your area, you can search online for therapists or you can always call the Trevor Line (1-866-488-7386) which is a free hotline for LGBTQ youth.

Medical Information Disclaimer: The IMPACT Program does not intend to provide specific medical advice, but we may provide website visitors with information to better understand their health and risk factors for specific diseases. The IMPACT Program urges you to consult with a qualified health care provider for diagnosis and answers to your personal health questions.





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