OPINION | Out In The Therapy Room24th June 2013
I know what you may be thinking about; you have your own secrets and your own reasons for coming to counselling. Things that you’ve bottled up and repressed for years. Ashamed to talk or speak of who you secretly you’re attracted to.
Of course I’m a man as well; maybe I remind you of your father, brother or the boy who used to pick on you at school. You’re nervous about being raw and vulnerable with me, afraid of my response. What you may not have considered is that I am gay too.
I am the counsellor that you see sat before you. Confident. Calm and friendly. However before I became this person I was sat in the same chair that you are, worrying about the same things. I understand because like many gay therapists, I was a client first. I will also have been in the position of speaking to a therapist about my sexuality – positive or negative- and appreciate how much courage it can take to have this conversation.
If I told you that I was gay would the worry about telling me about yourself disappear? If you knew about my coming out experiences, would you believe that I could empathise with the struggles you are facing?
If you stopped caring about my reactions and judgement, Would you begin to care for yourself? You might not have come into counselling to talk about your sexuality but does it feel different to feel that it is not off the cards if you want to. I accept that counsellors do not need to be a man or gay to be able to work with you but knowing that I have walked the same roads as you may bring a different kind of assurance and the feeling that when I say “I understand” that my response is more heartfelt. Unlike talking to your father, brother or friend, there will be no judgment on the things that have happened to you that you still carry today.
If I told you that I was a member of an ethical body that has concluded that gay “conversion” therapy’s are unethical and anyone practising them would face disciplinary action. Does that help to assure you of the men and women that have chosen to stand together with regardless of sexuality?
Of course the questions that are asked here are only for you; I don’t need or expect an answer. But there are Gay Counsellors out there who are proud of their sexuality and confident enough to recognise the power it holds in the counselling relationship. We use the term “Gay affirmative” to show that we embrace the positive aspect of being true to yourself and value the power it holds in the counselling relationship.
The power comes from letting you know that I can relate to some of the experiences you may choose to bring to the time we share together. I can understand the power in being able to express freely, who I love, how I live and who I am.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.