While society in general has become more open and accepting towards members of the LGBTQ+ community, living as a gay man still has its challenges. One way that many men work through their difficulties is by seeing a therapist. Therapy does have a sort of stigma around it, though, and you might have some misconceptions as to what it may involve or its purpose. But indeed, therapy can be really beneficial for gay men. Here are some things to know before you start seeing a therapist.

Not all therapists are equally as equipped to work with gay men.

As you look for a therapist, you want to focus on looking for ones that are LGBTQ+ affirming. But beyond that, you want to look for someone who has specific experience working with gay men. After all, even though you fall under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, your experiences are likely quite different from those of someone who is transgender, or even a woman who identifies as a lesbian. If you find a therapist who sounds promising, feel free to send them a message and ask them more about their particular experience with gay men. If they say they've worked with numerous gay men in the past, then you can be more confident they'll know how to help you.

You can work on issues other than those related to your sexual preferences.

A lot of the things you talk about in therapy may be related to the fact that you're gay. For example, you may talk about the trauma you suffered when you came out or your struggles talking to non-affirming family members. But you should feel comfortable talking to your therapist about anything. If you're struggling to communicate at work, feeling anxious in social situations, or struggling with bad dreams, feel free to bring those things up, too.

Therapy won't fix those around you, but it can help you change the way you react.

You can work on yourself in therapy, but going to therapy won't make your parents more affirming or your boss more understanding of what it means for you to be gay. This does not mean you should not talk about these issues in therapy! Just understand that the focus can't be on forcing these people to behave in the way you'd like them to. Instead, your therapist will help you find ways to better respond to these people and deal with the emotions they evoke in you more effectively.

Life as a gay man is not always easy, but a therapist can help make it more comfortable.

To learn more, contact a gay male therapist near you.