Sexual Orientation Issues

Sexual Orientation Issues

As we all know, issues of sexual orientation in our culture are fraught with bias, prejudice and misinformation. The media offers conflicting messages about sexuality in general, and sexuality in general. People, especially young people who are unsure or confused about their sexual orientation, often experience great distress. People who are experiencing same sex attraction often have external and internal fears and concerns. External concerns include thinking that family members will reject them and not love them, that friends will abandon them, and that their peers will tease of bully them. Internal concerns include confronting personal religious or moral beliefs that their desires and feelings are wrong or feeling confused or afraid about what their sexual urges and desires mean about who they are.

Counseling as a Source of Support
Counseling is a process in which a nonjudgmental, caring, and trained therapist helps a person resolve problems or complete life tasks. While specific methods may vary, most counselors believe that helping someone involves facilitating his or her self-exploration, self-understanding, self-acceptance, and self-esteem. Helping a gay or lesbian individual value and esteem his or her sexual orientation certainly fits into this philosophy.

Counseling may assist you with:

Identifying and clarifying issues.
Sometimes people who seek counseling are not sure what is wrong, but they know that they are unhappy. Counselors help people understand themselves and their feelings. The process of recognizing and understanding gay or lesbian sexual orientation often brings confusing thoughts and feelings with it. Counselors can help an individual clarify and sort through this confusion.

Identifying, clarifying, and expressing feelings.
People often have difficulty understanding, labeling and/or expressing feelings. This is particularly true when people are under stress. Feelings can be confusing and may often seem to be out of control. Counselors help people handle and understand their feelings.

Deciding what to do.
When people have difficulty determining alternatives, they often feeling stuck and uncertain because there is more than one way to behave. Counselors are adept at helping people discover options and alternatives.

Developing and enhancing relationship skills.
Building a support system and developing close interpersonal relationships is especially important to most people. However some individuals have difficulty getting what they want from relationships with family members, friends, or partners. Relationships may be a primary focus of counseling and counselors.
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