Working with couples who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer is both similar to working with other couples but presents powerful new opportunities for growth and healing. Due to the way LGBTQ folks have suffered from emotional failures in growing up in a heteronormative world and family system, LGBTQ couples require a couples therapy that takes into account their unique needs.
For example, when members of this community form attachments, the hope is that all of the previous failures of love, trust, warm and connection will be redeemed. This can put an extra burden of the LGBTQ couple. When incidents take place that "rupture" the hope for getting loved as was never before possible, the hurt and pain can be crushing. Sometimes the hurt can lead to fighting or withdrawal. Our best gifts as LGBTQ folks are hard to access when trust has been broken.
Because of my many years working with the LGBTQ community as a therapist, author, community activist and professor of clinical psychology, I can provide some context for how the LGBTQ couple may be suffering or not getting its needs met. All of the couples counseling method I teach at Antioch University--from Emotion-Focused Therapy, to the Gottman Method, to Image Therapy--are harnessed to an LGBTQ sensitive approach. And when couples are people of color, important principles in working with family issues in African American, Latino, Jewish and Asian backgrounds are employed to provide the maximum form of empathy and the most appropriate and effective interventions.