Thoughts From A Psychotherapist Blog2022-08-29T08:53:27+00:00

Have I Become a Gay Elder?

Yesterday I saw a post on social media where a 38-year-old person talked about how they had become an elder in the community. As someone a bit older than that I immediately thought then what am I? I was asked last week by a younger person if the current environment towards LGBTQ+ people was the worst I had ever experienced. My answer was yes. As I reflected more I feel like the time before I came of age was most likely worse since clubs and even homes were raided and people's lives were ruined by being outed. But in my Gen X lifetime, this is the unsafest I have ever felt. Why now? Back in the late '80s and early 90's there was a lot of being closeted. You were not out if you had any job working with youth. My first job out of graduate school was at a residential program for youth and you better believe I was deeply closeted. On the other side of the equation, though there was so much community. Yes, much of it was at bars but when you felt like it was all too much, there was always a place to go and just be with people that looked like you and had similar experiences. When I moved to San Francisco in the early 90's it was right before AIDS medication became what it was today. The local gay paper had pages and pages of obituaries every week. Until the week they did not and that was a celebration. Living in the Castro, I felt safe. We may have been invisible to the general population but we were okay in our safe space (for those of us lucky enough to find them-other people's experiences were different). We looked out for each other. I know many straight people do Friendsgiving now but back in the day it was survival. If you were celebrating you made sure your people had a place to go or you invited them over. Even [...]

By |April 4th, 2023|Categories: Gender identity, LGBT|2 Comments

Why I Am Not Excited About the Gay Marriage Bill

I will admit, I am tired of hearing about how this gay marriage bill is such a great thing. I will start by saying it was a necessary law. Because whenever I have feelings about it I keep getting told it's something. And indeed, it is something. If Obergefell is overturned this will allow those that are married to have their marriages recognized in whatever state they live. It also means that if they live in one of the 35 states that will likely make gay marriage illegal, they can go to another state to be married and their state will have to honor that marriage. As someone who had one marriage overturned by the courts and a second (same person!) one that stuck us in limbo for years, I get the importance of this protection. After marrying in CA in 2008, the state passed Proposition 8 which made gay marriage illegal in CA. Our marriage was still valid in Ca but not valid federally. It was a tax nightmare. Our tax guy had to do dummy single-person CA tax forms for the feds along with our real married tax forms for CA. It was gross. That being said the law that passed is a loss of rights for gay couples. It only is necessary if Obergefell is overturned. But it doesn't give us the same rights as we currently have now. Imagine being told that you could no longer get married in your state. You had to go to another one. Kinda like what is happening to women and abortion right now. It is making LGBT marriages second-class marriages. And as we know there is no separate but equal. As a gay person, I have spent years having rights doled out to me. With the Obergefell case, we were almost there. We had marriage. Still, didn't (and don't) have employment, housing, and other protections in many states. My new home state of PA literally just passed some of those rights, it was one [...]

By |December 13th, 2022|Categories: LGBT, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|0 Comments

The LGBTQ+ Community Under Attack

I would have liked to write a post about gratitude for Thanksgiving. Or write one on any other topic other than this one. However, I cannot let the horror of what just happened at Club Q a few days ago. On the eve of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, another trans person died. Along with other LGBTQ+ people who were just out enjoying a drag show. People went out looking for community and fun and ended up experiencing a tragedy that will forever affect their lives. It happened for a few reasons. The first reason is the continued hatred and vitriol expressed toward members of the LGBTQ+ community. Mainstream politicians post about how the community grooms children. This serves to associate LGBTQ+ people with pedophilia. There are attacks on clinics and doctors that serve transgender minors to the point that some hospitals are coping with frequent bomb threats. This puts an already marginalized community under fire. The second reason is this country's obsession with guns. The perpetrator will now be labeled as mentally ill to justify this horror. This will further, marginalize people with mental health diagnoses that already have a tough enough time because now they will be associated with violence. When the reality is most people with mental health issues are not violent. This perpetrator recently had a violent incident in the past that should have meant there was no access to guns. However, where the perpetrator lives these rules are not followed. Because apparently, the rights of a disturbed young white person are more important than the rights of the people that were killed and injured. Nothing to do with the fact that the perpetrator's grandfather is a MAGA CA Assemblyman, who fortunately just got beaten in his most recent election. As a therapist, I not only have to hold my own feelings about this incident but I have to hold the feelings of every client I work with who is affected by this. Oftentimes all I can do is sit [...]

By |November 23rd, 2022|Categories: Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|0 Comments

Managing the Rage-Be The Person You Want to Be

Like many of you, I have struggled with rage since 2016. It has gotten worse for me as I watch locally and around the country as laws are being passed to erase LGBTQ+ people. In addition, there are continued injustices against Blacks and other POC. I see the harm happening and I envision the harm to come. Laws that I know will cause people to die. It is hard to respond in anger to people on the internet spewing this mess. A part of me wants to do that and another part says no. The first part says it is a good anger release. The other parts agree that it really doesn’t release anger and it also makes me feel bad about myself. I don’t want to be the type of person I dislike. As I was writing this I read this article on Scary Mommy. A woman tweeted about how she enjoyed hours of conversation in her garden with her husband in the mornings. The pile-on happened quickly. People took offense to her living her life. She was rich, she was entitled, and she was able-bodied. They were not. Capitalism needs to be overthrown. Why? Why can’t we just be happy (or if you can’t be happy ignore it!) that this lady is appreciating her life and her loved ones? I understand many people are in pain but do they want or need others to be in pain also? Why can’t we just let people be happy? Unless someone is coming for the rights of others I am inclined to let people live their lives without me commenting (well except when they pay me to!). The response shows that I am not the only one struggling with rage right now. People are so unhappy. We have so much untreated trauma and other mental health issues in our society and no capacity for people to get the healing help they need. When I am in my best place I have compassion for all of this. When [...]

By |October 27th, 2022|Categories: stress management, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|0 Comments

Leaving the Bay Area Bubble for Pennsylvania

I was born and raised in NJ. In the 90's I moved to San Francisco. In the 90's it was a very different time for LGBTQ+ people. On the East Coast, you needed to be closeted in most places. The word transgender was never spoken and non-binary was not a word most people identified with. You were closeted and butch or femme. Moving to San Francisco was a move for freedom. Freedom to be who you were without being constantly judged or scared. Not to say there was no discrimination there but there is power and safety in numbers. You were careful but not constantly afraid. Times changed. We got the right to marriage. We began to acknowledge transgender people and non-binary people and accept them into the community. Not without pain. And wrongs committed. The overall umbrella got larger and as legal rights came more and more people came out. For a quick minute after Federal Marriage Equality, it felt almost safe. At least for white LGBTQ+ people. Then the culture wars increased in force. LGBTQ+ people again became an open target. Books about us were (and are) banned. LGBTQ+ people, especially Trans people, are getting accused of grooming children. Doctors and therapists that help the community are getting death threats. In the bubble, it still felt safe enough. I always knew the community I lived in would step up to anti-LGBTQ+ bullying. At the end of 2021, I decided to return to the East Coast. That was a huge transition. One of the factors in thinking about where to land was will the place I land be safe for me? PA is not the Bay Area but would it be accepting of my gender non-conformity and Gay identity?  When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised at how little an issue being Gay was for our neighbors. It was a huge relief. Then this happened. A local church had some inclusive signs that were torn down. Then they posted a rainbow flag. That was also [...]

By |October 7th, 2022|Categories: LGBT, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|0 Comments

EMDR Intensives for the San Francisco Bay Area

I recently started my EMDR intensive program. EMDR Intensives are great for those stuck on some issue or memory. You can get immediate help without making a long commitment to therapy. When I started this program I got some immediate feedback about cost and time. As a result, I am going to tweak things a bit to make things more accessible. If you are interested in an EMDR Intensive but something about it does not work for you feel free to email me so we can set up a time to talk about what might work for you. The only thing I don’t make an exception to is that there must be a 90- minute assessment session and clients must fill out the long assessment packet. I am happy to set up an appointment to review it together. I understand paperwork can be an obstacle.  Success from EMDR comes from completing a thorough assessment and a client being well resourced. I use the 90 minutes to do that. However, I can do a few other things. I can eliminate the follow-up session. I like to do this so that clients can integrate their changes but if you do not want to do this I will not require it. I am also now offering three-hour sessions and 90-minute sessions. You can do those as you wish. If you want to start with one 90-minute session and then want more EMDR we can add a 90 or even a 3-hour session as you desire. This way you are not making any commitments beyond what you need or desire. I am now offering an initial package of a 90-minute assessment and a 90-minute EMDR session for $750.  For an initial 3-hour session it is $125o which includes the follow-up. I am offering these Intensives to those in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am a social justice-oriented therapist and value diversity in my client. I specialize in working with those in the LGBTQ+ community but I welcome [...]

By |August 11th, 2022|Categories: emdr, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|0 Comments
Go to Top