LGBT affirmative psychology: what it is and what is its therapeutic function

For centuries, most human societies in the Western world have discriminated against many minorities on the basis of their sexual identity and gender identity. Today, although these discriminatory trends are on the decline, they still exist, although at the same time there is a growing awareness of the negative of this phenomenon.

At this point of intersection between declining discrimination and growing acceptance, it arises LGBT Affirmative Psychology: A therapeutic perspective that invites both to ensure the well-being of people exposed to assaults of their sexual or gender identity, on the one hand, and to transform society so that the above is not necessary and that everything the world is treated equally.

    The impact of LGBT allegations on psychology

    Psychology is the science that studies behavior, but we must not forget that behavior also changes in psychology itself. Therefore, it is only fitting that social transformations have meant that the point of view and the goals from which psychologists start have changed a lot in recent decades.

    An example of this is how awareness of the issues of LGBT groups has helped make psychology a richer and more useful tool to help. a part of the population that continues to feel vulnerable in many ways: Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people. Where decades ago there was a science that viewed homosexuality as something inherently pathological, today there is one that does not label disease on forms of sexual orientation or gender identity that move away from heterosexuality and that of cisgenerationalism (that is, the conventional correspondence between sex and gender), and which at the same time recognizes that discrimination further exposes these groups to psychological problems, statistically.

    In this way, affirmative psychology emerged, an area of ​​work that focuses on the needs of non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people. Its applied aspect, affirmative therapy, It aims to understand the mechanisms of construction of LGBT identity and, from them, to help people with problems resulting from discrimination and social pressure related to it.

    Objectives of affirmative therapy

    These are some of the goals frequently set by affirmative LGBT psychology to help people seeking help.

    1. Treatment of sequelae by homophobia and transphobia

    Unfortunately, even in countries where acceptance rates for homosexuality (such as Spain) and the trans community are higher, attacks with physical or verbal violence are relatively common. Often, these assaults occur even during childhood, in contexts of bullying at school, and the arrival in adulthood does not prevent similar situations from recurring.

    this it can facilitate the onset of psychological disorders such as anxiety or depression, As well as body dysmorphic disorder. And it is that beyond the physical injuries, going through these experiences contributes to not being satisfied with one’s own body, to blaming oneself for what happened, to isolating oneself socially and even to having no more doubts about his own identity.

    Understanding what it means to have this kind of experience is essential to offer professional help to this category of victims, many of whom are victims of attacks on a daily basis. And because of that, it’s one of the milestones of affirmative LGBT psychology.

      Support and advise in the choice of being a mother or a father

      Motherhood and fatherhood are roles strongly influenced by social conventions; therefore, it is normal to hear a lot of criticism about who should or shouldn’t have children and what parenting strategies are most useful and which are not. If we add to this the factor of sexual identity and gender identity, to this social pressure is added the tendency to culturally discriminate against minorities who are outside the norm on these issues, and the existence of legal and institutional obstacles who continue to nurture the idea that you can only have children if you are heterosexual and cisgender.

      This is why psychologists may specialize in helping people who feel bad about having to choose first or not to raise a baby, and second, to cope with frustration and frustration. anxiety that sometimes forces you to fight for it.

      Find your own space in LGBT environments

      It should be remembered that LGBT people are not homogeneous and that even within the groups represented by this acronym, there are several “social circles” or sub-groups. Sometimes, the formation of these sub-categorizations responds to a trend whose existence must be recognized: discrimination within LGBT groups themselves.

      The latter factor can make it difficult for many people to find their place and identity, even in spaces where no one is heterosexual, for example. While psychotherapy is not enough to solve this problem, it is also true that affirmative psychology can help both avoid completely unnecessary forms of discomfort and help victims of discrimination realize that they have nothing to hide and they should see these attacks as a social problem, Not as a fault of them as individuals. In this way, it also helps to create a truly inclusive environment predisposed to accept unconventional forms of sexuality and expression of gender identity.

      Acceptance of own identity

      Finally, the process of self-acceptance helps people belonging to these minorities to feel comfortable with their identity most of the time, and not only do they not treat it as a taboo, but that they normalize their existence and thus show it in their social relations and in the expression of their sexuality.

      conclusion

      It is clear that much remains to be done at the cultural, institutional and political level so that LGBT groups no longer have a raison d’être. the disappearance of discrimination. However, part of the change is also through spreading the culture of caring and acceptance, and these are precisely the pillars of affirmative psychology. This is why psychologists who can put a grain of sand in our work in this area do so knowing that we are not only helping the individual who attends our consultation; we also invite the whole process to the therapeutic process.

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