October is LGBT History Month, a time to reflect on the progress made by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community and to keep pushing for equality. LGBT History Month is an important time to remember the advances made by the LGBT community and to continue working towards a world where everyone can live with pride. This also applies to mental health.
The history of LGBT mental health is marked by a struggle for recognition and acceptance. For many years, queer people were seen as mentally ill simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This resulted in a great deal of stigma and discrimination, which only served to worsen mental health outcomes. This was not only damaging to the individual, but also served to reinforce the negative stereotypes that existed about queer people. Thankfully, times have changed and mental health professionals now recognize that being queer is not a mental illness. There is greater understanding of the unique challenges that the LGBT community faces and more support available to help us stay mentally healthy. Greater acceptance of queer people has led to mental health professionals being better equipped to provide culturally competent care. We’re proud to be part of the movement to affirm and uplift our community.
Therapy has been an essential part of LGBT mental health history. Talk therapy as we know it began in the early 20th century. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, believed that all people were bisexual based on his clinical observations and case studies. However, it was not until the middle of the 20th century that therapy started to focus on homosexual orientation as a positive trait. In 1952, homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which led to increased stigma and discrimination against LGBT people that are still around today. It wasn't until 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM.
Therapy for LGBT people did not become mainstream until the late 20th century. In 1980, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force released a report on therapy entitled "Mental Health and Homosexuality." The report found that therapy could be beneficial for LGBT people, but only if it was provided by a qualified therapist who was open-minded and accepting of LGBT people.
Today, there is a greater understanding of LGBT people and their needs. While therapy professionals are open-minded and accepting of LGBT people, we believe we can do better. It is not enough to simply be open-minded: we must be vocally affirmative and welcoming.
If you’re looking for an LGBT-affirmative therapist, you’ve come to the right place. We’re proud of our history and look forward to creating a better mental health future for the LGBT community.
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Laurel Therapy Collective
offers online therapy to California residents for anxiety, transitions, and trauma.