Affirmative Therapy Techniques: Creating Inclusive Spaces for LGBTQIA+ Clients

the phrase "lgbtqia+" written on fingers
the phrase "lgbtqia+" written on fingers

Affirmative therapy is an approach that focuses on creating a supportive and validating environment for individuals belonging to diverse communities, including the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Cultural and Inclusive Competence

Affirmative therapists begin by developing cultural competence and gaining knowledge about the diverse identities within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. 

This includes understanding different sexual orientations, gender identities, and the challenges faced by individuals across the spectrum. Cultural competence lays the foundation for a therapist to provide effective and sensitive support.

And within understanding the spectrum of identities, it’s important to know that language plays a crucial role in therapy. Affirmative therapists use inclusive and gender-neutral language to create a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ clients. This involves using appropriate pronouns, avoiding assumptions about relationships, and being mindful of heteronormative language that may not resonate with clients.

Affirmation and Validation of Identity

Affirmation and validation are powerful tools in affirmative therapy. 

Recognizing and affirming an individual’s gender identity and sexual orientation helps clients feel seen and accepted. Validating their experiences, whether positive or challenging, fosters a sense of trust and openness within the therapeutic relationship.

Additionally, affirmative therapy encourages LGBTQIA+ clients to explore and express their identities authentically. This involves discussing topics such as coming out, self-discovery, and the impact of societal expectations on their sense of self. Therapists facilitate a space where clients can navigate their unique journeys without judgment.

Addressing Minority Stress

LGBTQIA+ individuals may face minority stress due to societal discrimination and prejudice.

Therefore, affirmative therapy focuses on addressing these stressors and developing coping mechanisms. This may involve discussing the impact of discrimination on mental health, exploring resilience, and building strategies to navigate challenging environments.

Family and Relationship Dynamics

Family can be a complicated thing for many within the LGBTQIA+ community.

Affirmative therapists recognize the significance of family and relationship dynamics within the LGBTQIA+ community. Sessions may involve discussions about family acceptance, relationship challenges, and the unique experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals in various cultural contexts.

Trauma-Informed Care

Many LGBTQIA+ individuals may have experienced trauma related to their identities. 

In an affirmative therapy approach through a trauma-informed lens, it’s important to create a safe space for clients to explore and process any past traumatic experiences. This may involve integrating techniques such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) or narrative therapy.

Final Thoughts

Affirmative therapy techniques for LGBTQIA+ clients prioritize understanding, validation, and empowerment.

Creating inclusive spaces that honor diverse identities and experiences is important, making the therapist’s role crucial within the LGBTQIA+ community. Through continued education, cultural competence, and a commitment to affirming practices, therapists can play a vital role in supporting their clients on their journey toward self-discovery and personal growth.

Contact Psychological Preventative Health to schedule a session today.

Why Children are Never Too Young For Therapy

four children standing next to each other
four children standing next to each other

It’s important to recognize that therapy doesn’t have an age limit.

While the idea of children undergoing therapy may raise eyebrows for some, the truth is that addressing mental and emotional well-being from a young age can be a transformative and empowering experience. 

Early Intervention = Lasting Results

Just as we prioritize regular check-ups for physical health, the same principle applies to mental health. 

Early intervention allows therapists to identify and address potential issues before they become more deeply rooted. By working through challenges early on, children can develop healthy coping mechanisms that will serve them well into adulthood.

Building Emotional Resilience

Childhood is a time of rapid emotional development. 

Therapy provides children with a safe and nurturing environment to explore and understand their emotions. Learning to navigate feelings such as anxiety, sadness, or anger with the guidance of a trained professional equips children with the emotional resilience needed to face future challenges.

Navigating Life Transitions

Children, like adults, experience various life transitions—whether it’s moving to a new school, the birth of a new sibling, or parents that are divorcing. Therapy can be instrumental in helping children navigate these changes, providing them with tools to adapt and grow in the face of uncertainty.

Fostering Healthy Communication Skills

Effective communication is a pillar of healthy relationships. 

Therapy offers a space where children can express themselves freely and learn how to articulate their thoughts and feelings. Developing strong communication skills early on sets the stage for better interpersonal relationships in the future.

Addressing Behavioral Concerns

Some children may exhibit behavioral issues that can be challenging for parents and educators to understand and manage. 

Therapy can uncover the underlying causes of such behaviors and offer strategies to address them constructively. It’s important to view behavioral challenges as growth opportunities rather than indicators of a child being “too young” for therapy.

Supporting Parents and Caregivers

Therapy isn’t just for the child; it’s also a resource for parents and caregivers. Professionals can offer guidance on effective parenting strategies, help manage expectations, and support the entire family unit.

Creating a Stigma-Free Environment

Normalizing therapy from a young age helps break down the stigma associated with seeking mental health support. When children grow up understanding the value of emotional well-being, they are more likely to continue prioritizing their mental health as they enter adolescence and adulthood.

The 5 Benefits to Family Therapy

A healthy decision to make as a family is the decision to embark on the journey of family therapy. Family therapy can help your family to understand and appreciate each other better. 

Here are five benefits that family therapy can offer.

  • Improved and Effective Communication

Family therapy provides a structured and supportive environment for family members to express their thoughts and feelings. 

One of the biggest foundations in all relationships is having good communication. In a family that is struggling, a therapist can help identify communication patterns, improve listening skills, and facilitate healthier ways for family members to interact with each other. 

This enhanced communication can lead to better understanding and empathy among family members, which will make everyone happier.

  • Conflict Resolution

Families often face conflicts and disagreements. 

In family therapy, these conflicts are addressed and resolved by identifying their underlying causes. A therapist can guide the family in finding constructive ways to manage and resolve conflicts, fostering a more harmonious and supportive family dynamic.

  • Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills

Family therapy equips family members with problem-solving strategies and coping mechanisms. 

Families can develop effective problem-solving skills that extend beyond the therapy sessions by working together to identify and address challenges. This can lead to a more resilient and adaptable family unit.

  • To Understand and Be Understood

Being understood is one of the greatest feelings. Attending family therapy encourages a deeper understanding of each family member’s perspective, experiences, and needs. 

This understanding can reduce misconceptions and promote empathy within the family. By exploring individual and collective experiences, families can develop a greater appreciation for each other’s uniqueness and strengths. 

  • Building Stronger Relationships

Family therapy aims to strengthen family bonds and relationships. 

Family members can develop a sense of connection and unity by fostering a supportive environment. Through therapy, families can work on rebuilding trust, improving intimacy, and creating a foundation for healthier relationships.

Benefit from Family Therapy Today

It’s important to note that the benefits of family therapy can vary depending on the specific issues being addressed and the commitment of family members to the therapeutic process. People have to want to change—this cannot be forced. 

Additionally, the skills and insights gained in family therapy can extend beyond the family unit. This can have a positive impact on individual well-being and relationships outside the family.

For more information about family therapy or questions, contact the experienced therapists at Psychological Preventative Health today!

5 Tips For Couples Going Into Therapy

Relationships are hard.

A healthy marriage is a lot of work; sometimes, you need some help. If you are working to create a healthy relationship with your partner, the following tips will help you achieve better results.

Tip: Be Yourself

Many people feel pressured to hide flaws or pretend to be the perfect partner.

It can be frightening to share your thoughts and feelings in therapy, but this is essential to any healthy relationship. Hiding your true self to your partner may seem like a good idea initially because you want them to see an “ideal” version of you, but it can damage your long-term relationship.

Being true to yourself will help you build intimacy and create a deeper connection. 

Tip: Be Honest

In marriage therapy, don’t lie to the therapist.

You might feel tempted to lie in therapy to avoid embarrassment or to prevent hurt feelings. However, even the best couples therapy techniques may not help if you aren’t honest.

Avoid these impulses by expressing your true feelings—even when difficult. The truth may be difficult to hear, but it is the only way to determine what you and your partner need to work on.

Tip: Share Your Goals

Before getting too deep into therapy, you and your partner should discuss your relationship goals. These goals can help you to stay on track, monitor your progress, and help you both to stay on the same page. 

Some common goals to have are:

  • Improved ways of communication
  • Healthier ways to resolve conflict
  • Finding the root causes of conflict

Tip: Active Listening

You should not only share your feelings and thoughts but also take the time to explain them.

After you explain yourself, make sure to actively listen to your partner when they are ready to express their point of view. It’s easy to get defensive; however, try understanding your partner’s perspective. Research consistently shows that active listening can greatly improve relationships.

You can show interest in what your partner has to say by being engaged in what they say. For example, nod along to statements or stare at them as they speak. 

Tip: Ask Questions

Along with listening, ask questions. Asking the right questions can help you understand what your partner says or where they are coming from.

When asking questions, wait until your spouse is done talking first. This way, it shows that you care and validate their emotions. It also shows that you’re interested in learning more about them.

8 Effective Tips for Adolescent Therapy

Adolescence is a whirlwind phase in life characterized by rapid physical, emotional, and psychological changes. It’s a time of self-discovery, identity formation, and establishing one’s place in the world. However, it can also be a challenging period marked by uncertainty, peer pressure, and roller coaster emotions. 

As parents, caregivers, and mental health professionals, supporting adolescents through this critical stage is essential to their overall well-being. 

1. Establish a Safe and Trusting Environment

First of all, at PPH Therapy we create a safe space for adolescents to express themselves openly without fear of judgment. 

Therapy sessions are welcoming, confidential, and non-critical. Adolescents often feel vulnerable during this time, so building trust with our therapist is essential to the success of therapy.

Additionally, as parents, your teens should be able to come to you for anything. Create an open, accepting environment; allow them to be free to say whatever they want without lectures or reprimands. 

2. Focus on Active Listening

Listening actively and empathetically is a cornerstone of effective adolescent therapy. 

Please allow them to voice their concerns, fears, and dreams, and refrain from interrupting or imposing adult perspectives. By truly hearing their experiences, you can gain insights into their inner world and develop appropriate interventions.

3. Validate Their Emotions

Adolescents experience many emotions, and validating what they’re going through is essential. Even if their emotions seem irrational, acknowledging their feelings as real and significant fosters a sense of self-worth. They’ll feel seen and understood.

4. Encourage Self-Expression 

Not all adolescents are comfortable expressing themselves verbally. 

Therefore, be open to alternative forms of expression, such as art therapy, music therapy, or writing. Engaging in these creative outlets can help adolescents process their emotions and experiences in a non-threatening manner.

5. Address Identity and Self-Esteem Issues

Adolescence is a time when young individuals seek to define their identity and sense of self. Therapy can be a safe place to explore questions of identity, self-esteem, and self-worth. Encourage adolescents to discover their strengths and values while gently challenging negative self-perceptions.

6. Address Peer Relationships and Social Challenges

Peer relationships play a significant role in an adolescent’s life, often bringing joy and stress. Discussing friendship dynamics, conflict resolution, and social challenges can help adolescents develop healthier relationship patterns and coping strategies.

7. Cultivate Resilience and Coping Skills

Helping adolescents build resilience and effective coping mechanisms is vital. Teach them how to deal with stress, setbacks, and disappointments constructively. This will empower them to face life’s challenges more confidently.

8. Normalize Seeking Help

Many adolescents may hesitate to seek therapy, fearing it makes them “different” or “weak.” So, normalize the idea of seeking help for mental health, just as they would for physical health. Emphasize that therapy is a tool for personal growth, not a sign of weakness.

6 Reasons To Go To Couples Therapy

Maintaining a healthy and fulfilling relationship requires effort, communication, and understanding. However, even the strongest partnerships encounter challenges and conflicts that can strain the bond between partners. 

When difficulties arise, seeking professional help through couples therapy can provide invaluable guidance and support. If you and your partner are considering therapy, here are six reasons to inspire you.

1. Enhancing Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills

One of the fundamental pillars of a successful relationship is effective communication.

Couples therapy offers a safe and neutral environment where couples can learn and practice healthier ways to express their needs, concerns, and emotions. Therapists provide invaluable tools and techniques to improve communication skills, such as active listening, assertiveness, and empathy. 

In this space, couples can reduce misunderstandings, resolve conflicts, and deepen their connection by learning to communicate more effectively.

2. Gaining a Deeper Understanding of Each Other

One of the best things about couples therapy is that it facilitates a deeper understanding of one another’s thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. 

Skilled therapists guide couples through conversations that uncover underlying issues, past traumas, and unmet needs. This increased awareness fosters empathy, compassion, and a greater appreciation for each other’s experiences. By gaining insight into their partner’s inner world, couples can strengthen their emotional connection and build a more solid foundation for their relationship.

3. Strengthening Relationship Bonds

Relationships evolve, which means couples need to nurture their bond continuously. 

In couples therapy, partners can rediscover what initially drew them together and reignite the spark that may have diminished over time. Therapists guide couples in developing shared goals, interests, and values, fostering a sense of partnership and teamwork. Couples can build a resilient and enduring connection by investing in their relationship through therapy.

4. Resolving Long-standing Issues

Unresolved issues and resentments can create a significant strain on a relationship. 

Couples therapy provides a structured and supportive environment for addressing these long-standing concerns. Therapists assist couples in identifying the root causes of conflicts and guiding them toward effective resolution. This process promotes forgiveness, healing, and a sense of closure, allowing couples to move forward with a renewed sense of harmony.

5. Strengthening Emotional and Mental Well-being

Relationship difficulties can take a toll on individuals’ emotional and mental well-being. 

Couples therapy focuses on the relationship itself and offers support for individual growth. Therapists help partners develop self-awareness, self-esteem, and coping strategies to manage stress and emotional challenges. As individuals experience personal growth, they bring a healthier and more balanced self to the relationship, benefiting both partners.

6. Preventing Future Issues

Couples therapy is not solely reserved for relationships in distress; engaging in therapy as a preventative measure can be incredibly beneficial. 

In therapy, couples can prevent lingering issues from escalating into significant challenges by addressing minor concerns early on. Additionally, couples therapy equips partners with tools to effectively navigate future conflicts and maintain a healthy relationship in the long term.

Common Misconceptions About Seeking Therapy

There was a lot of stigma surrounding topics like mental illness and addiction. Fortunately, nowadays, people are much more open about seeking the help they need. 

Here in Ogden and Salt Lake City, therapy can be used to treat many mental conditions, including anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. But, of course, you don’t have to have any of these specific conditions to seek therapy—anyone can meet with a therapist.

However, therapy can sometimes still get a bad rap. Some people might be too dependent on what they see on television or in fictional books, which causes a distorted view of what therapy is.

Even though a lot of information is available, it can be easy to fall for the misconceptions surrounding therapy.

Only “Crazy” People And Those With Big Problems Go To Therapy

First, “crazy” has many different connotations—sometimes, good ones. Secondly, it’s untrue.

If you are in a crisis, therapy can make a huge difference in your life. But you don’t need to suffer from a severe mental illness to get to therapy. Therapy clients often struggle with the same issues we all deal with daily: relationships, self-doubt and confidence, self-esteem, and work-life stress.

Therapy Is Like Talking To A Friend

It’s easy to see therapy as a conversation with a friend. Because with friends, you can share your feelings. And a good friend can be there for you during stress or emotional distress. 

However, therapy is very different from your relationships with family and friends. Your therapist is a trained professional who has learned the most effective evidence-based techniques to assist you in taking control of your mental health.

Also, your therapist will help you manage your emotions and challenge your negative thoughts, behaviors, and patterns. They will teach you how to build good relationships and avoid toxic ones. During your sessions, you’ll learn techniques to calm your emotions and stay grounded.

You Only Need One Session

Sometimes, movies make it seem like one session solves all the problems, but it doesn’t work in real life.

Here at Psychological Preventative Health, most of our sessions are scheduled for 55 minutes. And you can’t learn everything about someone in 55 minutes. Getting to the root of the problem will take many sessions.

Therapy Doesn’t Work

You might think therapy is a joke.

If you’re in a bad or dark place in your life, it can be difficult to imagine not feeling like this. However, therapy works and has made a huge difference in many lives.

Of course, it’s important to remember that therapy is a journey that’s unique to each individual. No two experiences will be the same. Therapy makes the most impact when you meet the right therapist who caters the best treatment for you.

Seek The Help You Need Today

If you want to take control of your life, schedule a session today!

With two convenient Utah locations—Salt Lake City and Ogden—Psychological Preventative Health is here for you. With our team of licensed SelectHeath professionals, you’re in good hands.

CBT, DBT, and ACT? What do these mean? How can they help?

Types of Behavioral Therapy for Mental Health

Here at psychological preventative health, we utilize evidence-based treatments to help you on your wellness journey.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) are examples of those treatment modalities.

This guide will help break down the main elements of CBT, DBT, and ACT.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

“People’s reactions always make sense once we know what they’re thinking” – Judith Beck

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment modality commonly used by mental health professionals. The premise behind CBT is the idea that psychological problems, or difficulty in mental wellness, might occur when a person has unhelpful ways of thinking that can lead to unhelpful patterns of behavior. The thoughts that occur may be in our awareness or they can occur subconsciously.

The goal of CBT is to identify negative core beliefs and automatic thoughts that interfere with our ability to function and find peace in everyday life and work towards a more positive self-image.

chart of cognitive behavioral therapy with circles and arrows going in a circle with the descriptions: thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and physical sensation

CBT is an ongoing process, so it does not end when the therapy session is complete. During the session, the client and therapist will work together to come up with ideas to help bring greater insight into the thoughts and feelings of the client throughout the week.

The client might journal, take notes about feelings and thoughts, read relevant books, and practice exercises that have been taught during the therapy session.

Who can benefit from CBT?

Cognitive Therapy has been found to be very effective in treating depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, PTSD, and other mental illness.

What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

“Emotions are not good, bad, right, or wrong. The first step to changing our relationship to feelings is to be curious about them and the messages they send to us.” – Lane Pederson

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is another treatment modality used in psychotherapy in individual or group settings. In DBT, therapists help clients gain greater flexibility in their thinking through skills training.

This is accomplished by synthesizing opposites – and finding a middle ground. So, rather than looking at things as black and white, we can find the grey in between.

Other skills addressed in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), include acceptance, distress tolerance, and interpersonal skills.

The client and therapist plan together ideas and activities that will work towards their goals.

This might look like completing a diary card daily and reviewing and practicing skills learned.

This also allows the client and therapist to process skills used during the following session.

Who can benefit from DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is helpful for anyone who becomes overwhelmed by intense feelings and emotions and also might engage in unwanted behaviors such as self-harming behavior, rage, anger, impulsive behavior, substance abuse, suicidality, or experiencing a lot of conflict in interpersonal relationships.

This technique is helpful for those suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and especially those diagnosed with personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder.

What is Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

“What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.’’ – Carl Jung

Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT – and pronounced as the word act) is yet another psychotherapy modality utilized at Psychological Preventative Health.

Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) works to allow people to move with all aspects of life, both the wonderful and the most difficult parts, by utilizing skills in mindfulness, goal orientation, and acceptance. In this treatment, acceptance is used to counteract avoidance.

darker photo of a therapist and patient with the therapist writing some notes and the patient looking down

While utilizing ACT, the therapist and client work together to identify personal values, goals, and practice re-directing your thoughts and behaviors to move towards your ideal.

A critical element to ACT is the application of skills discussed and practiced in between sessions. This may include journaling, worksheets, and other exercises to enhance the therapeutic learning experience.

Who can benefit from ACT?

ACT has been found to be effective in working with individuals who suffer from addiction, depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and other behaviors that increase difficulty in life.

We’re here to help guide you on your wellness journey

Our caring clinicians at Psychological Preventative Health can help provide thoughtful and gentle guidance through the difficulties of life.

If you have any questions regarding your mental health, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would be more than happy to help you get the care, treatment, resources, and respect that you need and deserve. We look forward to serving you!