You may not think of online counseling as a place for receiving couples counseling, but more and more, it is being seen as an option for many couples and can benefit both partners.

But what about the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning) population? Do they too receive the same benefit as heterosexual couples? In my practice, one of my specialties is providing therapy to LGBTQ couples.  Individuals will present to my office or online session with similar complaints – ‘I can’t find a therapist who understands what I’m going through.’  Issues related to gay marriage,  adoption challenges, or discrimination through several social and institutional levels are but a few area of concerns with LGBTQ couples.

How can online counseling address client questions and concerns that traditional counseling might not?

Online counseling offers a certain level of anonymity.  While personal information is collected, the therapist and client might not ever see each other or engage in a phone conversation.   Email exchanges and digital chat sessions taking place through distance counseling can allow the client to be as open as they would like with their therapist.  Services such as those offered through Breakthrough.com allow clients to be able to receive services without the fear of being judged, for instance, by someone in a waiting room.  Instead, they can have their treatment catered to them – one that includes a therapist familiar with their concerns as well as one that will work with them at their pace.

The LGBTQ client might be considering coming out to their family or is not sure how to discuss their desire to marry someone or have a family. Negative reactions from others may inhibit the client from sharing intimate thoughts.  As a therapist, being sensitive to a client’s needs is essential in creating a successful therapeutic connection.  Also, including a partner in a therapeutic session can really serve as a great tool for treating the couple as a unit – something that might not have previously seemed like an option.  So what are the specific choices available? How do they fair with the LGBTQ client?

Check back next week when we will take a closer look at the various options available.

Belky Perez Schwartz is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Florida. Read more about Belky Perez Schwartz on her website.

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