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What Is Gay Positive Therapy?

Also referred to as "gay-affirmative" or "gay-friendly" therapy, it counters the mistaken assumptions of previous efforts to change sexual orientation.
There is no scientific evidence for treatment or prevention of a gay sexual orientation. Attempts to change sexual orientation are based on misguided assumptions about the nature of sexual development. Efforts to change sexual orientation ("reparative therapy" or SOCE: Sexual Orientation Change Efforts) have been discredited by all the mental health professions (psychiatry, psychology, and clinical social work), plus the American Medical Association. And many religious concerns have been addressed by gays within their own religious traditions.
Starting with the refreshing assumption that it's "Okay to be gay" can be a great relief for many gay men seeking help for other issues they may be dealing with in their lives--whether it's anxiety and depression (often stemming from anti-gay attitudes from our families, churches, or anti-gay bullying), or the everyday conflicts that often arise in any relationship, gay or straight.
Therapy often involves making a connection between how you're feeling now, and what's happened to you in the past. Whatever difficulties you've had as a result of the homophobia you've experienced can be dealt with in an open and accepting manner. If you're feeling blocked, we question whether some of the assumptions and conclusions you made when you were younger still make sense as an adult.
It's helpful to think of the block, whatever it is, not as some internal enemy, but as a part of you that kept you safe in some way. It may be that as an adult, the conclusions you reached when you were younger no longer serve you.
Some people find themselves caught in the same pattern over and over again--like falling in love with someone who's not emotionally available. We look at where this pattern comes from: with this example, it may be an attempt to master a previous abandonment. Understanding this pattern doesn't necessarily mean you won't be attracted to unavailable partners, but you'll be able to make a more conscious choice about whether to pursue them.
Recovery from various addictions can also motivate you to seek gay positive therapy. When you stop using alcohol, drugs, sex, food, or debt to escape from not feeling good about yourself, your emotional life becomes much more accessible. You may feel worse before you feel better, so it helps to get re-acquainted with yourself in a gay-positive and accepting environment when you're no longer "self-medicating" to push feelings away.
Gay positive therapists can help you counter homophobic or other negative messages you may have internalized, and replace them with a more realistic and positive assessment of your true abilities. Gay affirmative therapy can help gay men who want to get a better grip on their lives, without being concerned they will be judged or told there's something wrong with them for being gay.
Gay Therapist Rik Isensee, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist in San Francisco. For over thirty years, Rik has been helping gay men and gay couples: solve conflicts and feel more connected in gay relationships; recover from abuse and self-defeating behavior; and thrive in the face of life's transitions!
Rik is the author of three self-books for gay men: Love Between Men, a guide to solving conflicts in gay relationships; Reclaiming Your Life, a guide to recovery from homophobic abuse, addictions, and self-defeating behavior; and Are You Ready? the gay men's guide to thriving at midlife. He's also the author of The God Squad, a spoof on the so-called "ex-gay" movement, making fun of the ludicrous attempts to try and make lgbtq people go "straight." Get a free copy of "How to Approach Conflict--and Come Out Feeling Better on the Other Side!" at Rik's 4759126 gaytherapist The Gay Therapist!

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