Counseling for the LGBTQIA+ Community

at Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids

All of the therapists and counselors at Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids and The Trauma-Informed Counseling Center of Grand Rapids are affirming and supportive of our LGBTQIA+ community and have and will continue to provide excellent therapeutic services to people of all backgrounds, sexual, and gender identities. Health for Life Grands Rapids offers LGBTQ counseling

What does the acronym LGBTQIA+ stand for?

It currently represents those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, intersex, and asexual. Some people use the term “queer” as an umbrella term instead of LGBTQIA, but not all people identify as queer or choose to use this term. Some consider the “A” to stand for “ally” as well as “asexual.” but some controversy exists regarding the inclusion of allies in the acronym, as “ally” is not a gender identity or sexual orientation.
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Why is it helpful to work with an LGBTQIA affirming therapist?

Although a person’s sexual or romantic orientation or gender identity may not be a source of distress, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, asexual, or any other orientation or gender identity may find that the social stigma of living as a minority is a source of stress or anxiety. Despite rapidly growing cultural acceptance of diverse sexual and romantic orientations and gender identifications, oppression, discrimination, and marginalization of LGBTQIA people persists.

Coping with discrimination and oppression, coming out to one’s family, and sorting out an “authentic” sense of self in the face of social expectations and pressures can lead to higher levels of depression, anxiety, substance use, and other mental health concerns for LGBTQIA people. For example, research shows that youth who identify as LGBTQIA are at an increased risk of suicidal ideation and self-harm, particularly when they also experience discrimination based on their sexual or gender identity.

Therapists For Counseling for LGBTQIA+ Community

Stephen Lovell, Counseling Intern

Person-Centered Counseling for Children, Teens, and Adults

Caley Weisgerber

Compassionate and Empowering Therapy for Deep Healing

Taylor Freund

Trauma Informed and Internal Family Systems informed Counseling for Adults

Ashley Dykstra

CBT & EMDR Therapy for Children, Teens, Adults, and Families

Margie Muñoz

Trauma Informed Counseling, Mindfulness-Based, and EMDR Therapy for Teens, and Adults

Katerina Guerrero

Empowering Your Journey: Culturally Inclusive, Integrative Therapy for Healing and Growth

Kay Foster

Emotion-focused, Inclusive Counseling and EMDR Therapy

Shanna Beebe

A non-judgemental space for deep healing from trauma, abuse, and relationship wounds.

Nicole Cass

Sex therapist using creative Solutions and Trauma-Informed Counseling for Couples, Adults, and Teens

Katy Jaramillo

Counseling and Art Therapy for Adults and Teens: Empowerment and Healing from Medical and Neurological Trauma + Existential Concerns

Jennifer McKinstry

Counseling and EMDR Therapy for Trauma, Depression, Anxiety, and Spiritual Issues

Amanda Miller

Guiding Teens and Adults to Recognize their Strengths; EMDR, DBT, and More

Kyle King

Inclusive, Non-Judgmental Therapy for Adults and Adolescents, Emphasizing Growth and Resilience

Caitlin Quantock

Mindfulness-based Strategies and EMDR to Promote Healing and Growth

Jonathan Swiftney

Culturally Sensitive & Holistic Counseling for Adults and Adolescents

Lucas Perkins, Counseling Intern

Culturally Sensitive & Holistic Counseling for Adults and Older Teens

Anna Utter

EMDR, DBT Skills, and Trauma-Informed Therapy for Adults and Teens

Lauren Huisman-Woy

Serving Children, Teens, Families, and Adults with Compassionate Counseling including EMDR and TF-CBT

Thomcy Thomas

Multicultural, Client-Centered Therapy with a Mindfulness Approach - Fostering Self-Awareness and Empowerment in Adults

Katy Sandison

Supportive Therapy for Anxiety, Deconstruction Issues, Life Transitions and More

Alexa Bates

Serving Children, Families, Couples and Adults who are struggling to find a way through difficulties

Melissa Wade

Strengths-Based, Solution Focused, and Resilience Therapies for Families, Children, Teens, and Individuals

Sarah Denick

Counseling & EMDR Therapy for Women

Dana Kennedy

Relational, trauma-informed, strengths-based therapy with a foundation of authenticity and hospitality to heal and grow

James Love

Specializing in Adults, Men’s Issues, & Therapy with Children from a grounded, authentic, and non-judgemental perspective

Paul Krauss – Clinical Director

Counseling, EMDR Therapy, & Solutions

Nick Kondyles

Person-Centered, Integrative Counseling for Children, Adolescents and Adults

Josh Zheng

Holistic psychotherapy utilizing an integrated approach of somatic, emotion- focused and cognitive-behavioral traditions.

K’Quiana Griffin-Knowling

EMDR, Empowerment, and Healing for all

Gabby Cook

Compassionate, Trauma-Informed Therapist for Adults on their Path of Self-Discovery and Growth

Michael Egan

Counseling that Empowers and Strengthens You

Ben Zimmerman

Non-judgmental Therapy Space Focused on Personal Development and Empowerment

Kathryn Barcelona

Therapy for adults struggling with depression, anxiety, issues, substance use recovery, etc.

Brittani Decess

Counseling through a trauma-informed, inclusive, and equitable lens for individuals, relationships, and families.

LGBTQ Counseling

LGBTQIA persons seeking individual, couples or family therapy often bring concerns and life challenges that are common among all people. For example, all couples argue over many of the same things—money, sex, the in-laws, too little quality time – and all people are subject to the same kinds of daily stressors, such as mood swings, workplace stress, or low self-esteem. LGBTQ counseling understands that these common issues may be heightened for LGBTQIA clients due to the societal marginalization they experience as LGBTQIA people. 

LGBTQ Counseling

An LGBTQIA affirming therapist also has experience and familiarity with helping clients address issues and concerns specifically related to sexual or romantic orientation or gender identity. LGBTQ counseling assures that a client can engage in the therapeutic process related to these specific issues in a safe, affirming, non-judgmental environment.

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When should someone see an LGBTQIA affirming therapist?

  • Like all clients, LGBTQIA clients may choose an LGBTQIA therapist to address a variety of issues for which people seek individual, couples or family therapy. They also may seek help with issues specifically related to sexual or romantic orientation or gender identity, including but not limited to:
  • anxiety or depression related to interactions with society, family, friends, coworkers or others regarding sexual or romantic orientation or gender identity
  • questioning one’s identity and sense of self
  • coming out to family, friends, or at work
  • coping with discrimination, bullying, harassment or oppression
  • substance abuse
  • gender dysphoria 
  • relationship issues when one or both partners is “closeted”

The Crisis of Suicidality in LGBT+ Populations

References: Sovec, J. & Owen, J.G. GoodTherapy. (01-10-2018). LGBTQ issues/gender identity and sexual orientation. https://goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/lgbt-issues (additional references cited in article).

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