The LGBTQ+ group has negative mental health issues like depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts at greater rates than the overall population. Usually, this results from a lack of encouraging relatives or friends. Additionally, they feel burdened by emotions of invalidation, as if they are guilty of doing something wrong by being who they are. Caregiver rejection on the basis of one's sexual orientation has been identified as the main cause of the community's high rates of suicidal behavior.
Queer affirmative therapy in India is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ+ individuals. It is based on the belief that being LGBTQ+ is not a mental illness or disorder, and that the struggles and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals are often a result of social and cultural stigma, rather than any inherent personal flaw.
The difference between "queer-friendly" and "queer-affirming" is significant. A person or organization is said to be queer-friendly if they are welcoming and tolerant of those who identify as queer, yet this does not necessarily imply that they are supportive of LGBT individuals and their identities. A person or organization that actively recognizes and promotes queer individuals and their identities is said to be queer-positive. Organizations that are queer-affirmative are often far more inclusive and supportive of gay individuals than organizations that are queer-friendly.
Queer affirmative therapists in India seek to create a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ individuals to explore their identities, express their emotions, and build resilience. It also aims to help LGBTQ+ individuals navigate the complexities of coming out, building supportive networks, and advocating for themselves.
An affirmative therapist should be:
- Self-reflective — The therapist should examine his or her own experiences, perspectives, and convictions. He or she should also be aware of the prejudice brought on by living in a heteronormative and gender-binarism culture.
- More engaged —Therapists ought to be more actively engaged in matters affecting the LGBTQ+ community, lead affirming lives, and work for social justice and change.
- Create an affirming environment — Therapists should create an environment that offers resources, literature, and reading material that is LGBTQ+ friendly. They should also include affirming language on all paperwork and use the client's preferred pronouns rather than making assumptions that are heteronormative.
- Regardless of their personal sexual orientation or gender identity, the therapist should be assured and transparent about their commitment to offering affirmative treatment to all of their patients.
- With heterosexual and/or cisgender clients, the therapist should take a stand against sexism and the gender binary.
Above all else, an affirmative therapist must be sympathetic, a good listener who participates, nonjudgmental, and able to show their patient nothing but love and respect. Because of the widespread gender stereotyping prejudice that people harbor, which is likely to impede the therapeutic process, affirmative therapy cannot be used by anybody or everyone. Clients who identify as LGBTQ+ frequently struggle with profound self-doubt regarding their gender or sexual orientation.
Unfortunately, access to queer affirmative therapists in India is limited. Many therapists are not trained in or familiar with LGBTQ+ issues and may lack the cultural competency to provide affirming care. In some cases, therapists may even be openly hostile or judgmental towards LGBTQ+ individuals. This can further compound the feelings of isolation and marginalization that many LGBTQ+ individuals have already experienced.
To address this gap in care, it is important for more therapists to become trained in queer affirmative therapy in India. This may involve seeking out additional education and training, or working with an LGBTQ+-inclusive supervisor or mentor. It is also important for therapists to be aware of the specific cultural context in which they are working, and to be mindful of the unique challenges and opportunities faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in India.
In addition, it is crucial for LGBTQ+ individuals have access to a network of supportive and affirming resources. This may include LGBTQ+-specific organizations and groups, as well as allies who are committed to advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion.
Aanchal Narang, a queer affirmative therapist in India and trainer who started the company, holds a wealth of knowledge on trauma, gender, sexuality, addiction, and kink-affirmative treatment. Aanchal Narang is a psychologist who believes in the accessibility of therapy for all and has taught more than 3,000 individuals the intricacies of queer-affirmative and trauma-informed therapy.
Another Light Counseling, a mental health organization founded by Aanchal Narang, works tirelessly to provide therapeutic services that respect the gender and sexuality of underserved groups. We lay the blame for marginalization on systems and settings, such as homonegativity, trans negativity, and heteronormativity, and discuss treatment within that perspective because we recognize the necessity for an intersectional approach to therapy.
By promoting access to queer affirmative therapy in India and other supportive resources, we can help create a more inclusive and accepting society for LGBTQ+ individuals. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live their lives authentically and with dignity.
In India, queer affirmative therapists advocate for LGBTQ inclusion as a proactive, deliberate, and ongoing engagement with sexual and gender minorities. It involves creating environments, rules, procedures, and advantages that appreciate and acknowledge the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. People of all sexual orientations and gender identities experience value, respect, and safety to engage fully in society when inclusion is present. Poor morale, high turnover, and lower production might result from a lack of inclusion.
Even while society as a whole makes strides, discriminatory laws and attitudes continue to marginalize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender-nonconforming persons. Violence and prejudice result from exclusion in this setting. Along with inequality, opportunities and resources are also less accessible.
In order to guarantee that LGBTQIA+ persons have access to the mental health treatment they require and deserve, affirmative therapy can be a crucial tool. If patients in positive treatment feel heard and understood, it can help patients lessen isolation and increase their self-esteem. A crucial step toward ensuring that everyone has access to effective treatment is allowing LGBTQIA persons to obtain mental health care.
Getting expert assistance can sometimes be the greatest approach to care for our mental health and well-being, which are very important. We have a right to mental health treatment that appropriately addresses the experiences of gay, queer, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Therapists that are LGBTQ+ accepting can help us live lives that are most true to who we are while also giving us the skills we need to get over any challenges.
It is crucial to choose the therapist who is most suited to your requirements, one who is knowledgeable and offers a non-judgmental place to open up, given how personally oriented therapy is—exploring ideas, discovering patterns, and knowing oneself. Whether they are members of the community or supporters, affirming therapists work to enhance the mental health of all LGBTQ+ individuals. As medical practitioners, they are aware of the dynamic life queer and trans people lead with opportunities for growth and healing.
There are many different approaches to therapy, and the type of therapy that is most effective for an individual will depend on their specific needs and goals. Some common types of therapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, psychoanalytic therapy, and interpersonal therapy.
It is important to note that therapy is not a quick fix, and it requires a commitment to regular sessions and a willingness to engage in the therapeutic process. However, with dedication and hard work, therapy can lead to significant improvements in mental health and overall well-being.