As a queer client, you can expect these from your therapist:
An inclusive therapeutic environment:
This entails intake forms, and materials provided by therapists to be inclusive, and the provision of single occupancy/unisex restrooms if it is offline therapy.
Therapists must use gender neutral conversation in general (by using they pronouns), ask for and use the clients’ preferred pronouns and be mindful in not addressing clients by their deadnames.
A conversation about how therapy can be made better/safe for the client and implementation of the steps decided on:
Therapy is a very personal and different experience for each client, and it is necessary for the therapist to understand what would help each individual feel safe in the process.
Knowledge and understanding of queer issues and building resources:
Therapists must be open to recognising their own privilege and biases and do the work necessary to make therapy an open and safe space for clients, so the burden of educating them doesn’t fall on the clients. Additionally, therapists must have a library of resources on helplines and community organisations.
Openness and receptivity in understanding the client’s lived experience:
Therapy should be a safe place to explore different identities and different kinds of relationships, and therapists must have an open mind in understanding each clients’ unique lived experience – which also could sometimes mean challenging the textbooks or what they have previously learnt.
Doing personal activism work:
Therapists must actively participate in pride events, be a part of LGBTQIAAP+ focused community centres, fund raisers, etc. and do their personal work in dismantling existing systemic structures.
The Restory Project is an initiative started by young Indian, queer-affirmative, trauma-informed feminist therapists offering online therapy via text, audio and video sessions. They can be found on Instagram at the_restory_project or on their website (www.therestoryproject.in).