The LGBTQ+ community faces the most discrimination when accessing healthcare, leading to additional psychological stress and sexual harassment, directly impacting their physical and mental health and economic status.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness cites that gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults are twice as likely as non-LGB adults to develop mental health conditions. Again, when it comes to acceptance, LGBTQ+ face issues with family members and friends.
Since healthcare is the fundamental right of every individual, regardless of their sexual background, closing the gaps in the system and creating equality, especially for those who suffer from this in the LGBTQ+ community, is a great challenge.
Fortunately, cultural and technological advances have opened up several new opportunities to deliver care to individuals and their families on their terms.
How Can Virtual Therapy Help the LGBTQ+ Community?
Online or virtual therapy has many benefits for the LGBTQ+ community. Since sexual identity influences many aspects of our life, virtual therapy can help in coming out to explore your identity, especially in issues like substance abuse, anxiety, and depression.
An online therapy program can help the individual with a mental health disorder, relationship issue, recovery from a past traumatic experience, and the challenges encountered in day-to-day life.
If you reside in a remote or rural area where you cannot find a therapist, online therapy makes it possible to easily access mental health care, which otherwise would not have been possible. That is also the case for people who live in conservative environments and wish to protect their privacy.
In LGBTQ+ counseling sessions, therapists can also use group therapy where all group members can discuss their own experiences, challenges, and suggestions for coping with these issues.
LGBTQ+ individuals from any part of the world can receive excellent and confidential treatment from licensed therapists and professionals with years of experience in treatment in the LGBTQ+ community.
The biggest bonus is that virtual therapy is typically less expensive by as much as 80% than face-to-face treatment. Not only that, some online platforms, such as Talkspace, for example, offer unlimited chat, texting, and email with your personal therapist. Unlike traditional treatment, you are not just limited to an hourly weekly session.
Virtual Therapy May Even Be More Effective Than In-Person Treatment
With advancements in technology, coupled with the exponential rise of the internet, virtual therapy has been on the rise, year after year, especially as more and more online therapy platforms are springing up. This, in turn, has also encouraged many researchers to its validity and effectiveness. Studies have shown online therapy is just as effective.
Counseling online is much more private than face-to-face interactions. Moreover, depending on your chosen platform, it is up to you to decide how much of your personal information your therapist should ever know. You often must reveal your face or tell your real name unless you want to.
Best Options for Online LGBTQ+ Therapy
There are hundreds of platforms to choose from when you are looking to access your first online therapy session for your LGBTQ+ counseling.
Some online platforms might ask you several questions on an online screening questionnaire to match you better with the best LGBTQ+ therapist who is not only the most experienced but specializes in your treatment needs.
A therapist might conduct a short phone or video chat interview to ensure that you both are a good fit and can work together. If you are unhappy with your first or subsequent therapist, most online platforms will allow you to switch at no extra cost.
This is when you should ask your therapist about concerns about your sexual identity and gender.
Two top platforms that are well-respected and LGBTQ+ friendly are Pride Counseling and Calmerry. Pride Counseling recognizes the disappropriate mental health conditions of the LGBTQ+ community and strives to make help accessible to all of them in a safe and supportive environment.
The platform connects you to an LGBTQ+ affirmed therapist through chat, phone, messaging, or video. While all counselors are adept in serving the LGBTQ+ community, different counselors have different approaches to work and areas to focus on.
Pricing is between $60 and $90 weekly, and insurance is not accepted. That said, Pride Counseling does offer financial aid programs for those eligible. It is widely considered the leading LGBTQ+ therapy platform, and industry leaders bestonlinetherapy.com even ranks them in the top 10 therapy sites.
When to Try Online, and When to Opt For Face-To-Face Therapy?
LGBTQ+ therapy offered by mental health professionals and virtual therapy over online platforms can be a game changer for those who struggle with gender identity, as is prevalent in these communities.
Not every healthcare provider is going to be a good fit. If you are an LGBTQ+ adolescent or adult, counseling is a hope but not a replacement for emergency or crisis care. That said, seeking therapy can be pivotal in self-acceptance and overcoming anxiety and depression.