Sexuality counselling in Stockport.
For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, coming out is a process of understanding, accepting, and valuing one’s sexual orientation and identity.
Coming out includes exploring one’s own identity and sharing that identity with others. It also involves coping with societal responses and attitudes toward LGBT people.
Issues often faced by those who are coming to terms with their sexuality are:
- Sexuality: Coming out to yourself and to others, exploring your sexual identity and how it affects your lifestyle choices, discovering your beliefs and attitudes to gay sex and the “scene.”
- Lack of confidence: Feeling they are being judged, worried about failing or never feeling good enough.
- Depression: Feeling isolated, lonely, empty, tearful, unloved, suicidal.
- Destructive behaviour: Self-harm, abusive relationships, dependence on alcohol, drugs.
- Relationship difficulties: Partners, sexual and emotional intimacy issues, parents, family and friends, colleagues, commitment, jealousy, abuse.
- Family issues: Partners, children, parenting, separation and divorce.
I understand that this is often a very sensitive topic to explore. My sessions are always on a one-to-one basis in a very supportive and confidential environment.
Understanding your sexuality
Sex and our intimate relationships with others form an important part of adult life and are often an integral and immensely enjoyable component of our relationships with others. Sexuality issues however can be the source of angst, conflict or self-doubt.
The coming out process is very personal. This process happens in different ways and occurs at different ages for different people. Some people are aware of their sexual identity at an early age; others arrive at this awareness only after many years. Coming out is a continuing, sometimes lifelong, process.
Recognising your own sexual identity and working toward self-acceptance are the first steps in coming out.
It often helps to think of sexual orientation on a scale that ranges from exclusive same sex attraction to exclusive opposite sex attraction and exploring your sexual identity may include determining where you presently fit along that continuum.
Why Seek Counselling When Coming Out?
LGBT individuals are forced to come to terms with what it means to be different in a society that tends to assume everyone to be heterosexual and that tends to judge differences from the norm in negative ways.
Coming out to others is likely to be a more positive experience when you are more secure with your own sexuality and less reliant on others for your positive self-concept. Sexuality Counselling can assist you to reach this point, where you feel happy, accepting and confident of who you truly are.
The necessary clarification of feelings is a process that usually takes place over time. It can be a good idea to work through this process through counselling before you take the actual steps.
Gender and Sexuality Counselling is also an invaluable outlet for those who are curious or are perhaps questioning their sexual identity yet believe that they are unable to ever come out; talking confidentially to a counsellor is a significant step.
Parents or Relatives
You may have just learned that your child (relative or friend) is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. As a parent you may struggle coming to terms with a son or daughter’s emerging sexuality and the way this is being expressed.
You’re possibly experiencing a whole host of feelings:
- Self-blame – Did I do something wrong?
- Grief – The child I thought I knew and loved no longer exists.
- Worry – Will my child be beaten? Discriminated against? Get AIDS?
- Religious confusion – Is my child damned to spend eternity in hell?
- Stigma – What will people think of my child? Of me?
- You might also be experiencing relief – now I know what’s been bothering my child/sibling for all this time.
Or, like most parents, relatives or friends of a LGBT person you could be feeling a combination of many of these feelings. If you are struggling to digest his or her situation, talking to a gender or sexuality counsellor about your feelings can help.