LGBTQ+ Mental Health
This office supports and advocates for the equal treatment of people in our LGBTQ community. We strive to be transparent and accepting towards all clients, not imposing a binary view of gender onto any client, and not attempting to change an individual’s identity. We provide mental health services that support and validate each client on their journey to living their best life.
Transgender is defined as identifying with a different gender than one’s sex assigned at birth. Gender nonconformity is expressing oneself in ways that are not consistent with the societal norms for one’s sex assigned at birth. Youth who identify as transgender and/or gender nonconforming (TGNC) might also meet criteria for gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a Clinical term to describe the distress present in the context of incongruence between sex assigned at birth and gender identity. While these terms are related, they are not interchangeable. Many, but not all, TGNC people experience gender dysphoria, and not all people who experience gender dysphoria identify as TGNC.
Children and adolescents with gender dysphoria have a higher prevalence of co-occurring mental health diagnoses, including social anxiety disorder, than those without gender dysphoria.
Facts About LGBTQ+ and Mental Health
Early intervention, comprehensive treatment and family support are key to helping LGBTQ people live well with a mental health condition. But many people in this community struggle in silence—and face worse health outcomes as a result. LGBT adults are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition.
LGBTQ people with mental health conditions may also find themselves fighting a double stigma. Many will experience prejudice based on their sexual and/or gender identity as well as the stigma associated with mental illness. Confronting these challenges and mental health symptoms with an LGBTQ-inclusive therapist can lead to better outcomes, and even recovery.
There is no single explanation for why some people are transgender. The diversity of transgender expression and experiences argues against any simple or unitary explanation. Many experts believe that biological factors such as genetic influences and prenatal hormone levels, early experiences, and experiences later in adolescence or adulthood may all contribute to the development of transgender identities.
Parents may be concerned about a child who appears to be gender-nonconforming for a variety of reasons. Some children express a great deal of distress about their assigned sex at birth or the gender roles they are expected to follow. Some children experience difficult social interactions with peers and adults because of their gender expression. Parents may become concerned when what they believed to be a “phase” does not pass.
Parents of gender-nonconforming children may need to work with schools and other institutions to address their children’s particular needs and ensure their children’s safety. It is helpful to consult with mental health and medical professionals familiar with gender issues in children to decide how to best address these concerns.
Coming out as transgender to friends and family can range from difficult or terrifying to exciting and liberating. Everyone will have their own unique experience. There’s no one right way to come out. Coming out as transgender may mean that you tell people about your preferred pronouns. It may also mean that you ask people to call you by a new name and to think of you by the gender identity that you’re comfortable with.
Coming out as trans is a very personal decision and different for everyone. Some people choose to come out before they medically or socially transition, and some choose to come out during or even after the process. You may choose to come out to different people at different times, or to not come out to some people at all. Only you can decide what’s right for you.
Coming out at school or work may create another kind of stress. There may be a fear of changing established relationships, being misunderstood, subject to harassment, or even fear of losing a job. But there are benefits of being your authentic self, creating more understanding with co-workers and customers, and being a role model for others. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to disclose being transgender or to live openly. You don’t have to be out at all times or in all places. You have the right and the responsibility to decide how, where, when and even whether to share your identity with others, based on what’s right for you.
Transgender people have several options with transitioning. Some may transition socially, legally, and medically, some may transition only socially, and some may not do any of these.
Legal transitioning may include:
- Changing your legal documents to reflect your chosen name, gender identity, and pronoun used
Social transitioning may include:
- coming out to your friends and family as transgender
- asking people to use pronouns that match your gender identity
- going by a different name
- dressing/grooming in ways that match your gender identity
Not all transgender people transition. For those who do, not all transition in the same way. Some may transition socially and not medically. Some may transition medically by doing one or only a few of the procedures listed above. Some may take hormones and decide not to have any surgeries, or just choose one kind of surgery and none of the others.
There are many reasons for the differences in how people transition. These medical procedures can be very expensive, which means that not everyone can afford them. Some transgender people may have health insurance that covers transition-related procedures, and some may not. It is a personal decision and not all trans people want all of the available medical procedures.
For trans men and some non-binary people medical transition may include any of the following:
- hormone therapy (to create masculine characteristics such as a deeper voice, facial hair growth, muscle growth, redistribution of body fat away from hips and breasts, not getting a period, etc.)
- male chest reconstruction, or “top surgery” (removal of breasts and breast tissue)
- hysterectomy (removal of internal female reproductive organs such as the ovaries and uterus)
- phalloplasty (construction of a penis using skin from other parts of your body)
- metoidioplasty (surgery that causes your clitoris to work more like a penis, along with hormone treatment to make your clitoris grow larger)
For trans women and some non-binary people medical transition may include any of the following:
- hormone therapy (to create feminine characteristics such as less body hair, breasts, redistribution of body fat toward hips and breasts, etc.)
- breast augmentation (implants)
- orchiectomy (removal of testes)
- laser hair removal (to remove hair from your face or other parts of your body)
- tracheal shave (making your Adam’s apple smaller)
- facial feminization surgery (create smaller, more feminine facial features)
- penile inversion vaginoplasty (creation of a vagina by inverting penile skin)
Professional Therapy with a Client Focus
There are times in life when we can feel off balance and can’t seem to snap out of it. When our own natural support system just isn’t enough, it may be time to reach out to a professional counselor to start the process of therapy. We have created a safe, comfortable and professional environment to discuss the issues in your life. We recognize the importance of a good therapeutic relationship and strive to build a positive rapport. We treat each client with respect and dignity.
Transgender and/or gender nonconforming (TGNC) people have higher prevalence rates of mental illnesses than the general population, including anxiety and depression. Many researchers have hypothesized that this increased burden of mental illness stems from minority stress, which refers to the distress that may come from being a member of a marginalized or oppressed group. For TGNC individuals, minority stress is experienced systemically through the potential for violence toward TGNC people, high rates of homelessness, underemployment, and poor medical care for these individuals. The majority of TGNC youth report social exclusion, parental rejection, and high levels of discrimination, bullying, and violence. These stressors have also been found to greatly impact sexual minority populations with cisgender gender identity and gender nonconforming gender expression.
There is research that focuses on the psychological effects of stigma that cause mental health problems for Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) clients and how treatment can modify these effects. These effects include psychological processes that are both specific to SGM, and universal issues in mental health that are higher in SGM people:
- Internalized Homophobia
- Rejection Sensitivity
- Sexual Identity Concealment
- Social Isolation
- Emotion Dysregulation
- Behavioral Unassertiveness
Because these issues experienced by many SGM clients are cognitive, emotional, and behavioral, they lend themselves to being addressed through existing cognitive–behavioral, emotion-focused, and other evidence-based approaches. Our staff has on-going training within our scope of practice to provide the best mental health treatment options for SGM clients.
Why choose a therapist at Abalance Client-Centered Counseling?
Our office is dedicated to providing the best mental health services to ALL people in our community regardless of income.
We have a team of professionals that are continually sharpening their skills as mental health providers and attend regular training from the Clinical Director. Having a competent and knowledgeable therapist is only part of it.
We are also a group of caring and compassionate people that strive to make your time with us a safe, comfortable and rewarding experience.
- Anxiety Disorders
- Depression Disorders
- LGBTQ+ Gender Issues
- Play Therapy
- Child Disruptive Behavior
- Childhood Trauma
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, Abalance Client-Centered Counseling is accepting new clients in all three (3) of our Central Valley locations in Modesto, Merced, and Turlock California.
No. You can contact us directly and we will get your insurance eligibility established and schedule your first appointment. Your Health Plan may require an additional call to get a registration number after you have already established as a client in our office. We have a team here to help guide you through these things if you need assistance.
Yes, we currently accept HPSJ and CCAH MediCal Insurances only. For other insurances, we provide an out-of-network option for you to bill your insurance and get reimbursed for up to 80% of your therapy costs in our offices.
No, we treat mild/moderate symptoms for a variety of issues, but not alcohol and drug issues. If you have an addiction or are seeking sobriety, we refer out to a professional that treats substance abuse.
Weekly sessions are the best care option for mental health outcomes, but we also provide an every other week option, or Teletherapy if you have a hectic schedule.
We can see clients as young as 2 years old. A session is a once a week appointment lasting 50 minutes.
Yes. Our staff can get you in touch with the transportation coordinator from your Health Plan to arrange necessary transportation to-and-from the therapy office.
The Best Thing In Play Therapy
We have advanced training in play therapy and utilize several treatment options to best fit the needs of our youngest clients. We have specially designed Play Therapy Rooms at each office, dedicated to enriching the therapy experience and reaching our goals.
why choose us
We have over 15 years of clinical experience to provide the most effective treatment options. Our team of therapists have specialized training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Play Therapy.
We recognize the importance of a good therapeutic relationship and strive to build a positive rapport with each client. And we treat each client with respect and dignity.
You will learn skills of mindfulness and how to balance thoughts and feelings; and begin to build insight into your issues and have a plan to reinforce your goals.
Teletherapy is provided by using long-distance technologies so that clients and therapists do not have to be in the same place at the same time.
Transportation is provided by your Health Plan. If you have problems with getting to your appointments, we are able to help arrange a ride.
Radical Acceptance is the acceptance of life, on life’s terms. While pain is part of life, radical acceptance allows us to keep that pain from becoming suffering. It is about accepting the facts of reality, no matter how painful, without avoidance, overthinking, or dangerous behaviors. When a person does not accept the realities of life
Modern psychologists suggest that our overall personality is relatively fixed and stable throughout life. But the brain possesses the remarkable capacity to reorganize pathways and create new connections. This is called neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity. Modern research has demonstrated that the brain continues to create new neural pathways and can alter existing ones in
(CBT) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy We have all been through a certain rough patch in our life that has had a severe impact on our mental health. Most of the time we get over such incidents on our own but sometimes we need professional help. An evidence-based technique that has proven to be very helpful