LGBTQ Affirmative Therapy: What You Need to Know

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LGBTQIA+ affirmative therapy aims to create a welcoming atmosphere where one feels heard and accepted. The therapist will demonstrate patience, empathy and compassion regardless of one’s sexuality, identity or relationship preferences.

  • They understand issues faced by the LGBTQIA+ community and validate one’s experiences.
  • Bias, prejudice and discrimination are not tolerated.
  • Confidentiality and trust are essential. Sensitive information is kept private.

Whether dealing with coming out, relationships, anxiety or other life challenges, a therapist is an ally and advocate. They help build confidence in one’s identity and address societal pressures that negatively impact self-esteem and mental health.

Sessions focus on empowerment, helping one live authentically and overcome obstacles to well-being. The therapist guides clients to understand themselves better, set healthy boundaries and find fulfillment.

LGBTQ Pride Parade with Love Heart

What is LGBTQ Affirming Therapy?

Affirmative therapy, also known as gender-affirming therapy, is a type of talk therapy geared toward people in the LGBTQIA+ community. Therapists are trained to validate and support clients of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

For LGBTQIA+ clients, life experiences are often shaped by gender identity and who they’re attracted to. Affirmative therapy acknowledges this and helps you work through challenges related to your orientation or identity. This could include:

  • Coming out to friends and family
  • Coping with discrimination or bullying
  • Exploring your gender identity or expression
  • Building self-esteem and confidence in who you are

Affirmative therapy aims to help you feel heard, respected and supported. You can openly discuss your thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment. Over time, it can lead to greater self-acceptance, healthier relationships, and improved well-being.

How Does Affirmative Therapy Work?

Affirmative therapists will work with patients to achieve their mental health goals while actively uplifting their identities. Also embedded in the practice is an effort to help patients struggling with prejudices such as homophobia or transphobia.

An effective affirmative therapy practice can manifest in a lot of different ways. For one, the staff may try to create a physical environment supporting LGBTQIA identities. It could also manifest in word choice, such as using a patient’s preferred pronouns (he/him, she/her, they/them) or asking questions in gender-neutral terms (“Do you have a partner?” versus “Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?”).

Affirmative therapy focuses on the psychological impact of culture, history, heteronormativity, trauma, and intersectionality within the LGBTQIA+ community. Therapists aim to understand how a person’s identity – including gender, sexual orientation, race, ability, and class – influences their life experiences.

Who Benefits from Affirmative Therapy?

LGBTQ affirmative therapy can benefit people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

LGBTQIA+ Individuals

If you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual (LGBTQIA+), affirmative therapy can help you work through challenges related to your identity and find self-acceptance. A therapist with expertise in LGBTQIA+ issues will understand what you’re going through and be able to provide tailored support.


Parents, children, partners and spouses of LGBTQIA+ individuals can also benefit from affirmative therapy. A therapist can provide education about LGBTQIA+ identities and experiences, help address any concerns you may have, and facilitate open communication within your family.


Affirmative therapy is ideal for couples where one or both partners identify as LGBTQIA+. A therapist can help you strengthen your connection, improve communication, set healthy boundaries, and work through challenges that stem from societal stigma or differences in outness or openness about your identities.

LGBTQ Lesbian Couple in Affirmative Therapy

Why Affirming Care Matters for LGBTQ Mental Health

Affirmative therapy can be life-saving for LGBTQ youth. Studies show LGBTQ youth face higher risks of mental health challenges, including depression, anxiety, suicide and homelessness, compared to their peers.

Affirmative therapy acknowledges and validates LGBTQ identities. It helps create a safe space for youth to openly discuss challenges. Therapists are trained to understand the unique issues LGBTQ youth experience, like coming out, gender transitioning or family rejection.

  • 41% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide in the past year. Affirmative care helps address root causes of distress and gives youth coping strategies.
  • 56% couldn’t access mental healthcare. Affirmative therapists are sensitive to barriers LGBTQ youth face and work to provide accessible care.
  • Pronoun respect and LGBTQ-affirming environments reduce suicide risk. Affirmative therapists respect how clients identify and create accepting environments.
  • Fewer than 40% called home LGBTQ-affirming. Affirmative therapists support youth in reaffirming homes and help families become more accepting.

LGBTQ youth deserve support systems that affirm who they are. Affirmative therapy, LGBTQ-affirming communities, and policy changes can make a life-saving difference. Young people have a right to mental healthcare in a safe, accepting environment. 

Seeking Help with Affirmative Therapy

If you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community struggling with your identity or mental health, seeking counseling can improve your life. An affirmative therapist is trained to understand your unique challenges and offer compassionate support.

Coming out and living authentically can be difficult. But with support, you can thrive. Reach out to a therapist at Launch Centers. You owe it to yourself to find caring professionals and a community that fully accepts you. Remember, you are not alone. There are therapists and support groups to help you through this. Please reach out – you deserve to feel empowered and at peace. Call us at (877) 895-3231.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

staff member drug alcohol treatment los angeles

Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

treatment team los angeles ca

Eric Chaghouri, MD


chloe kruskol los angeles rehab team

Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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