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LGBTQ Issues

LGBT Therapist and Teletherapy in Honolulu, HI

LGBTQ IssuesI have been working with members of the GLBTQQI (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, & Intersex) community for many years. I worked as a case manager and therapist with the West Hawaii AIDS Foundation (WHAF) in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. Also, for several years, I facilitated a private practice psychotherapy practice in West Hollywood, CA where a substantial portion of my clientele represented the GLBTQQI community. At our center in West Hollywood, my partner, who is a Buddhist mediation teacher and psychic, and I offered and facilitated monthly meditation and chanting groups for gay men and others. We will be continuing these groups in Hawaii as well as other support groups at our center, East-West Therapy Hawaii, in Waikiki in Honolulu, HI on the island of Oahu.

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Counseling Services and Teletherapy in Honolulu, Hawaii

While working with the GLBTQQI community, I learned that this group of people enjoys much of the same richness of diversity of gender, age, weight, height, ethnicity, cultural-identity, socio-economic status, education, political views, familial ties and makeup, marital status, religious affiliation, and spirituality as every other identifiable segment of the human population. But I also learned that there is also a considerable list of important issues which anyone hoping to work with GLBTQQI community, in particular, would be wise to know. These issues which members face and/or have faced include:

  • The process of discovering/realizing one’s sexual orientation
  • Exploring/discovering one’s own gender identification, taking into account psychological, emotional, cultural, and biological issues and realities.
  • Coming out to family, friends, colleagues, and society at large
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Society and the Workplace
  • Gender changes along with emotional, psychological, physical, spiritual, social, and cultural implications
  • Availability/unavailability of role models for one’s own gender identity, sexual orientation, transitions of gender identity and/or questioning stance
  • Early and later/recent experiences of discrimination, bullying, abuse, rejection, exclusion, abuse from family, friends, school environments, religions institutions, and culture
  • GLBTQQI relationships and the availability or unavailability of role models, mentoring, guidance, and help for issues which arise within relationships.
  • Domestic Violence
  • Addictions and Substance Abuse
  • Issues related to HIV/AIDS including medical advances and interventions, medication regimens, social/support needs, stigma, fears, risky behaviors, such as drug/IV use and sexual behavior, family, religious/spiritual implications.
  • Career Goals, life planning, meaning
  • Individual values vs. familial/cultural/moral expectations and demands
  • Gay Marriage and the value the dominant society may place on GLBTQQI relationships
  • Legal and social attitudes and barriers with regard to marriage, child custody, financial assets, estate planning, medical decision-making and inheritance
  • Housing and employment discrimination laws which vary by city and state
  • Self-Esteem and perceived individual value to oneself, one’s family, friends, and the community
  • Self-Efficacy and self-love’s effect on enthusiasm, effort, and impact one can have on one’s individual life and on society.
  • Satisfaction with one’s life—individually, relationally, career-wise, and spiritually
  • Self-Care physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually

An identification as a member of the GLBTQQI community indicates a group of people who have constituted one of the most criticized, negatively judged, disregarded, devalued, pathologized, abused, misunderstood, feared, deprived, attacked, murdered, and oppressed sub-groups of people in our society or any other.

Experiencing oneself as a part of—belonging to—a peer group which includes family and culture and having a sense that one can rely on a safe place where consistent support will be provided is a basic need and archetypal aspect of life and survival. If one feels that this continuum of reliable care and support is unavailable or disrupted, depending on the degree and pervasiveness of this lack, the sense that one is OK and deserving of acceptance and membership is negatively impacted and the world may be experienced as an unsafe and unpredictable place. Inclusion is a strong and basic drive.

The mere experience of growing up in a homophobic and homo-hostile culture may, in itself, constitute an insidious and ongoing emotional, psychological and spiritual trauma in addition to the often overtly-expressed verbal and physical bullying, exclusion, harassment, and/or abuse. GLBTQQI persons are often the recipients of negative projections from society, i.e. receptacles where aspects of ourselves or culture that we would rather not look at, much less accept as our own—may be placed into to carry for us as “scapegoats” so that the “bad” is evacuated and located  “out there” in the “other” to be identified, reviled, criticized, hated, avoided, wished to be removed from our presence, absent, and non-existent.


Therapist in Honolulu, HI

I believe that children may and can pick up on this attitude early in life and the “I’m different” response is elicited.

In the Jungian tradition, anything that is projected may be called  a “shadow” element of the personality. These are aspects which are disowned as inferior. They represent traits that are regarded as negative and which one would rather not accept as one’s own (although they are). There also exists a positive “shadow” which represents positive or highly valued and/or desired traits and capacities/talents, etc. which one believe he or she does not possess or could never possess. Therefore, these qualities are projected onto others, for example, famous spiritual figures like the Dalai Lama or talented singers, movie stars, and the like. This kind of projection, on the negative side, also occurs on a cultural/collective level where an individual, religion/religious belief, race, or other sub-group of people can be the receptacle/recipient of fears, anxieties, suspicions, misunderstood behaviors/customs, and other uncomfortable human psychological, emotional, and/or spiritual defects or shortcomings we don’t want to acknowledge as ours. Carrying the unwanted projections of others, much less those of an entire society, can be exhausting and demoralizing.  An important goal of my work with my patients in this community is helping them to finally relinquish and return the negativity and therefore the “problem” to its original and rightful owner(s).

As a “Jungian,” I hold a space of openness and acceptance of their personhood for my GLBTQQI patients as I do for all of my patients. Issues related to this aspect of their lives is given equal time, space and weight as all of the other aspects of their human experience such as height, weight, age, hair & eye color, race, ethnicity, sex, birth order, religious affiliation, political views, personality construct, emotional type, constitutional makeup, talents, interests, passions, goals, career, marital/relationship status, parents or not, home ownership or renting, educational status, and presenting problems.

Beyond coming to learn more about, know, accept, and love themselves for being a part of this community, I believe that the next level for my patients, as they get past the negativity and trauma associated with their orientation, is to come into some realization of the miraculous, positive gifts and benefits they have to offer the community because of  who they are at their core. My goal for GLBTQQI patients is to deeply realize their own beauty and specialness—to finally mirror—and give to themselves this experience that their parents and the society at large were unable to provide.

Contact East West Therapy today for a free 15 minute phone consultation today.