Finding A Gay Friendly Therapist: A Guide To Inclusive Mental Health

Medically reviewed by Nikki Ciletti, M.Ed, LPC
Updated April 23, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Finding a mental health professional who understands your concerns, experiences, and needs can play a crucial role in ensuring you are getting the best possible care. For members of the LGBTQ+ community, finding a gay-friendly therapist can be a very important part of creating a positive, safe, comfortable, and effective experience in therapy. A therapist who is well-versed and experienced in working with LGBTQ+ individuals can use tailored approaches for the unique challenges and opportunities members of this community often face. 

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Looking for a gay-friendly therapist?

In this article, we will dive into why finding a gay-friendly therapist can be important, tips for finding a gay-friendly therapist, and how online therapy can be a valuable tool on your mental health journey.  

Why is a gay-friendly therapist important?

Finding a gay-friendly therapist can help to ensure that your therapeutic experience is suited to your experiences and needs. Therapists who are well-versed in LGBTQ+ issues may have experiences that can help you through challenges commonly faced in the LGBTQ+ community, such as gender identity, sexual orientation, discrimination, coming out, same-sex relationship dynamics, and more. Therapists who understand LGBTQ+ experiences may be able to create a safe space where you can express your feelings, concerns, and experiences as an LGBTQ+ individual without fear of being judged or misunderstood. 

Gay-friendly therapists may also be able to provide you with guidance and resources that are tailored to your needs. These resources may address topics such as homophobia, family acceptance, societal norms, stigma within the workplace, and other areas of concern that are more pervasive in the LGBTQ+ population.

With an LGBTQ+ therapist, you may also be able to develop a stronger therapeutic alliance, which has been associated with better patient outcomes.

Tips for finding a gay-friendly therapist

When searching for a gay-friendly therapist, there are several avenues you can take to find a match for your needs. One place you can begin your search for LGBTQ+ affirming therapists is through online directories such as the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN) or the LGBTQ+ Healthcare Directory, a project of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) and the Tegan and Sara Foundation. These directories have lists of healthcare professionals who are experienced and knowledgeable about the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community.  

You can also check your local LGBTQ+ community center for resources related to mental health support and LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations. One way to find your nearest LGBTQ+ community center is through CenterLink’s online directory. In some cases, representatives at your local community center may be able to connect you with therapists who have experience related to your mental health concerns. 

You can also look for therapists who are members of professional organizations such as the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). This may act as a positive indicator of your therapist’s commitment to LGBTQ+ issues and focus on LGBTQ+ individuals.

If you have friends or family members who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, asking for personal referrals and recommendations may be another useful way to find the right therapist. This may also reduce some of the stress you may feel when trying to find a gay-friendly therapist. 

It’s important to trust your instincts when it comes to finding a gay-friendly therapist and take your time searching for the right match. Having a therapist with whom you feel comfortable can make it easier to open up about sensitive topics and take the time to work through difficult experiences. In some cases, group therapy sessions or online support groups can assist in providing additional support needed to navigate difficult experiences.

How online therapy can help

For some individuals, finding a gay-friendly therapist locally can be difficult, especially for those who live in geographically isolated places or areas with limited LGBTQ+ resources. In a wide variety of health settings, telehealth has been shown to be a beneficial option for LGBTQ+ individuals, often reaching those who may not otherwise receive necessary care due to the lack of LGBTQ+-friendly providers nearby.

Online therapy platforms can address some of these concerns by allowing you to choose from a wide selection of therapists without being limited by geographic location. And with online therapy through BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed therapist based on your unique needs and concerns, and you can even switch therapists until you find someone you feel comfortable with. The ease of finding and switching therapists may be convenient when finding a gay-friendly therapist, especially if you live in an area with limited LGBTQ+ support.

Plus, therapy delivered through videoconferencing has been shown to be just as effective as in-person therapy for concerns such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

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Looking for a gay-friendly therapist?


For members of the LGBTQ+ community, finding a gay-friendly therapist can be a vital part of ensuring that you receive the best possible mental healthcare. Finding a gay-friendly therapist who allows you to feel heard, supported, and understood may strengthen your therapeutic alliance and improve the efficacy of your mental health treatment. 

Online directories, online therapy platforms, referrals, and LGBTQ+ professional organizations may be helpful ways to identify a gay-friendly therapist. For some individuals, it may be difficult to find a gay-friendly therapist locally; online therapy can provide a convenient way to match with and meet with a compassionate therapist who is well-versed and experienced in your unique needs.

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