Categories
Gay Male Couples Lesbian Couples LGBT

Gay’s The Word (Bookstore)

I thought I’d mention this here: Gay’s The Word (Bookstore),

66 Marchmont Street
London
WC1N 1AB.

Telephone: 0207 278 7654
Website: http://www.gaystheword.co.uk/

Working with couples in counselling, my approach follows an incredibly helpful [tooltip text='Systemic therapy is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families and couples in intimate and platonic relationships to nurture change and development. It tends to view change in terms of the systems of interaction between family members.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_therapy'] systemic [/tooltip] / [tooltip text='Psychodynamics is the theory and systematic study of the psychological forces that underlie human behavior, especially the dynamic relations between conscious motivation and unconscious motivation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychodynamics'] psychodynamic [/tooltip] framework for relationship therapy. One of the important features of this therapy is inviting & encouraging the couple to invite inspiration & creative approaches to tackling relationship problems.

It’s a common response to hear: …but we’ve tried everything” and “…but I don’t think creatively” and those protests need addressing with understanding and empathy in counselling.

As a couple counsellor, I do not offer solutions to a couple’s problems (I’ve simply learned that it can be a bit like buying a Paul McKenna book on “I can make you thin” giving someone the expectation they will have it done all for them by the writer/advice-giver) but I do sometimes offer sources of information that might help to ignite their own creativity.

Working with LGBT couples I’ve been surprise on how few of them know about Gay’s the Word in London. It’s such an excellent source of LGBT material (and more personal than, say, Amazon):-

Gay’s the Word are the UK’s pioneering first (and now the last surviving) lesbian and gay bookshop. Established in 1979 and located in the historic Bloomsbury district of London, they stock an enormous range of books; from the profound to the frivolous, from the liberating to the indulgent. Their fiction ranges from prize-winning literary works through to crime, romance and erotic fiction. Their non-fiction covers a wide range of issues from cutting-edge queer theory through to how to tell your mother you are gay. Their range of queer philosophical, political, historical and other scholarly works is unequalled in the UK. If they recommend a title, it’s because they’ve read it and particularly enjoyed it.

So, if you’re looking for some inspiring literature, some ideas on how you might begin to tackle sexual (or sexuality) issues in your relationship – pop into Gay’s the Word, purchase some things, have a read, and maybe come and discuss matters with me: Dean Richardson.

Categories
LGBT Sexuality

October 21st to 25th – Ally Week

Thought this might be a worthy exercise to define this poster’s terms… corrections & suggestions are welcome in the comments section 🙂

 

21-25 Oct 2013 - Ally Week
21-25 Oct 2013 – Ally Week

 

Gay: men who are sexually attracted to… and wishing intimate relationships with men. Often doesn’t include MWHSWM (“Men who have sex with men”).

Lesbian: men who are sexually attracted to… and wishing intimate relationships with men. Often doesn’t include WWHSWW (“Women who have sex with Women”).

Bisexual: a person who is sexually attracted to… and wishing intimate relationships with … people of any gender.

Transgender: A person who has changed their physicality to a different gender from birth. May not include intersex. May not have any reference to the person’s sexuality.

Intersex: A person with genitals of either gender, sometimes in different states (eg a person with a greater penis and a lesser vagina may be intersex but has been nominated (or has chosen to be) male)

Pansexual: A person who does not limit or inhibit themselves in sexual choice with regard to gender or activity.

Asexual: A person who has no (or little) evidence of sexuality (but who still has gender).

 

Not included on this poser is:

Genderless/Androgyne: a person whose gender does not fit in (nearly) with female/male definition.

Categories
Couple Relationships

How I wrote to my MP regarding the British Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

On Thursday 24th January, 2013, the British government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill for England and Wales was officially introduced to the House of Commons by Culture Secretary Maria Miller.

Great – I thought – now things are progressing to address the unequal, two-tier situation regarding those who have access to civil-partnerships, and those who have access to marriage.

But my mind was bugging me a bit.  Although I am a public supporter of Equal Marriage, and I tweet and Facebook about it, and my counselling practice supports it, I haven’t actually taken any direct action with regards to getting the law changed.  

I know that writing to ones MP can be a common approach, and I had not done that.  Something was holding me back.

So, today, using good CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) skills, I went through a small project of breaking down a task into smaller, manageable chunks … and I thought I’d share my process in case it helps others who might also wish to write to their MPs … if only they knew how.

Step 1 – Who is my Member of Parliament?

This turned out to be easy – visit “They Work for You” at http://www.theyworkforyou.com and pop in your postcode.

Voila – your MP!

Step 2 – What do I write?

I chose to take a slightly tongue-in-cheek approach to my opening.  It’s something I learned ages ago when one needs to get someone’s attention at the beginning of a presentation.  So I opened by redefining what others are saying about redefining marriage 😉

Other than that, I choose to take an approach that communicated my professional beliefs as a couple counsellor, practising in Hampshire and on Skype.  (BACP members – pay attention that we must not use our membership of BACP to communicate or give the impression that BACP endorses us, or our beliefs or practice, in any way.   I included my membership as it was relevant to my position in my letter to my MP).

I’ve included my letter below in case it inspires you to write you own (please use your own words and write from your own points of view – it comes across lots better than a rubber-stamp letter).

[learn_more caption=”Here’s a copy of what I wrote to Mr George Hollingbery”]

Mr George Hollingbery, House of Commons London, SW1A 0AA.

Dear Mr Hollingbery

I URGE YOU NOT TO REDEFINE MARRIAGE … but, instead, to contribute to changing laws so that what marriage represents (the social union and establishment of rights and obligations between two adults who love each other) may be extended to adult couples of the same gender.

To clarify my point: I am for the equal marriage bill. I am for marriage to be available to couples of the same gender (including those who have transitioned gender) but who are currently denied marriage due to archaic (and now somewhat anti-social) laws.
I ask you to vote “yes” in the approaching bill for equal marriage.

As an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, working in my private Hampshire practice (and world-wide over Skype video) it had been my privilege to work with all sorts of adult couple-relationships: gay/lesbian, straight, mixed-sexuality, mixed-race, same-race, differing-age, same-age, even platonic/professional couple relationships. But especially with respect to intimately-involved couples, it makes no sense to me for British society to deny any two loving adults the institution of marriage. Whilst civil-partnerships were a sensible step forward, I have come to believe how that has also created a two-tier, unequal social-platform. I believe the bill for equal marriage addresses this too (and I would also support civil partnerships for heterosexual couples).

Forgive my slightly tongue-in-cheek opening! It is a little wearing to hear much unfounded “but redefining marriage will destroy the world!” paranoia in the news; it leaves one wondering if, historically, the same unfounded fear-fuelled messages were communicated when couples of different skin colours wished their partnerships to be socially & legally accepted.

I hope you will be a part of this courageous bill to redress the current inequality of marriage and I thank you for your attention to this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Dean A. Richardson, MBACP(accred)

[/learn_more]

 

Step 3 – How do I get my message to my MP?

Easy … in step 1 there’s a link to a page that allows you to send a message directly to your MP (via email I think).

Look for the link WriteToThem.com – write your message (politely and to the point) and send it off.

NB – I began using this form, but as I neared the end of my message I realised that I actually wanted to print my letter on quality paper, put into a nicely prepared envelope  and send it through the mail.  If I’m going to ask my MP to pay attention to how important this matter is, I wanted the quality of my message to get through in the best way as it could.  Just a personal thing 🙂

Step 4 – Send … and wait for a reply.

We’re not guaranteed to receive the reply we want from our MPs.

Many other people will have written with other views – and an MP must do his or her best to represent everyone (though, in reality  he/she may try to represent the majority as this is what got him/her into his job in the first place … and will likely put him/her back there in the next election).

But, if we remember that our MPs are in parliament to represent us, not to simply represent their own personal views, then the more people who support Equal Marriage who write to their MPs, the better the chances that laws will be changed for the better.

Categories
FAQ LGBT LGBT

Counselling for Closet Gay People

Whilst my whole website discusses confidentiality, sexuality, gender and my therapeutic practice, it would not go amiss for me to produce at least a brief post that combines all of these counselling features into providing a safe containment for one particular area of society in which I specialise as a therapist: closet gay & lesbian individuals & couples.

Website Search – close, but no cigar.

Someone arrived on this website having searched for ‘counselling for closet gay’.  In response to the query, Google sent the visitor to my search page.  My search software dutifully produced a list of pages that were mostly about counselling, some about LGBT couple therapy, some about me, but none that expressly spoke about counselling for the closet individual.

Notwithstanding I’m taking a look at my search producing software, it was very clear that the visitor had not been presented with anything about what they were looking for from my website, and they went away.

Quite rightly.

But mistakenly so.

Counselling for LGBT People.

As male counsellor who specialises in offering counselling for the specific needs of lesbian and gay individuals & LGBT couples, it would seem to me that the whole of my therapy service would cater well for those people who are not ‘out’:

Yet, perhaps, my counselling information is (unintentionally) aimed at those LGBT people who are already out and leading happy and successful lives, regardless of their sexuality, but who sometimes wishes to meet with an LGBT counselling to work through some issues.

Being in, and coming out of, ‘the closet’.

The term being in the ‘closet’ means that a person’s sexuality or gender-identification is something other than what appears to the public, but that the person has not yet made a public declaration.  The term goes hand in hand with the phrase ‘out’ or ‘outing’ meaning that when a person becomes known for their homo or bi sexuality, or desire for a change in gender, they have come out of the closet, or they have been “outed” by a third party.

It’s perhaps interesting that it is sexual minorities that have to go through this process, as it is perhaps assumed that a person is heterosexual, gender-phoric (as opposed to dysphoric) or cis-gender until other facts are known.

It’s perhaps also interesting that as more people – particularly role (or pseudo-role) models – announce their sexuality or gender-reassignment (or gender ambivalence as not transgender people feel the need to make a full transition from one gender to another) – the process of coming out of the closet (outing ones self) is becoming easier and more socially acceptable (Seidman, Meeks, and Traschen (1999) argue that “the closet” may be becoming an antiquated metaphor in the lives of modern day Americans).

Nevertheless, society still assumes one is a heterosexual cis-gendered person until one corrects the notion.

Not everyone wants to be ‘out’.

It would not be surprising that some people would benefit from discussing their sexuality with a helpful & friendly professional, someone with whom they might feel safe, in order to find support before they go through a (sometimes) traumatic process as outing themselves.

It is not the counsellor’s position to encourage self-outing (or maintaining self-closeting) as the decision for action is down the client, with the counselling processing being available to assist the client on reflection: pros, cons, effects, affects.  LGBT counselling is not a solution of itself but a helpful tool.

In closing, I hope this brief post goes some way to correct, clarify and reconcile my services into a clearer statement of some of the kinds of counselling services that I offer.

Categories
LGBT LGBT Video

LGBT Teenage Bullying…

“I’m not going to kill myself.  I just need to get this out here.”

LGBT Bullying – What’s goin’ on?

This video was made in August 2011  and I’ve only just see it due to a friend on Facebook sharing it with me.

I would encourage you to spend just a couple of minutes reading what this guy, Jonah, has to say (that’ll make sense once you click ‘play’).

External link: “What’s going on…”

Finding Support due to LGBT Bullying.

If this video has effected you – it brought tears to my eyes – then maybe it’s time to start taking some action.

If you are a teenager

 who is experiencing this kind of torture – and my opinion is that it *is* a form of torture – please …. please realise that you’re not alone and there are people and places that will help you:-

 

 

If you are an adult

 who has buried away this experience from somewhere in your distant history (or even currently), and you think now might be a good time to talk it through and finally put it to rest – you can make contact with me: Dean Richardson in complete confidence and we’ll see about arranging a time and place (or Skype or email correspondence) to talk it out (read more…) … and don’t worry about the fees if private counselling would be a struggle for you to afford; we’ll talk about how we can manage this too.

 

If you are an adult bully

 … or someone who suspects that they might be judging by some odd responses you’ve seen from people … and you would like to understand this behaviour so that you might be able to change, you can also make contact with me: Dean Richardson in complete confidence and we’ll talk about arranging a time and place (or Skype or email correspondence) to talk it out.

 

Update from Jonah.

Update 4-Dec-11 – Jonah says thank you 🙂 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7HkOaLFzGw

 

Categories
Gay Male Couples

Developmental Stages of Gay Male Couples

Summarised from David P. McWhirter, MD and Andrew M. Mattison, MSW, PhD. Chapter: “Psychotherapy for Gay Male Couples”. Book: “A Guide to Psychotherapy with Gay and Lesbian Clients”, Ed. Gonziorek (1982). Original publication McWhirter & Mattison (1984, Prentice Hall 0-13-547661-5)

Introduction.

Over a 5-year period (1974 to 1979), the authors interviewed in depth 156 gay male couples [in the California, San Diego County area] who were not in therapy and had lived together anywhere from 1 to more than 37 years. The mean time in a relationship was 8.7 years, with median being slightly over 5 years.

Six stages of relationship were identified.  The first four stages occurred within the first 10 years of the gay couple’s relationship.

The stages were presented as tentative formulations needing further clinical trial and research validation.

The conceptualisation of developmental stages has been very helpful in the clinical approach to therapy with gay male couples.

Stage One: Blending (First Year)

Characteristics:

  • Blending
  • Limerence (falling in love, being romantically in love, intrusive thinking about the desired person, acute longing for reciprocation, sexual attraction).
  • Equality of partnership
  • High sexual activity

Blending is experienced as the intensity of togetherness gay men feel early in their relationships. Their similarities bind them, their differences are mutually overlooked.

Stage Two: Nesting (1 to 3 years)

Characteristics:

  • Homemaking
  • Finding compatibility
  • Decline in limerance
  • Ambivalence

By the second year, more attention is paid to their surroundings taking the form of homemaking activities. Couples in this stage also tend to see each other’s shortcomings and discover or create complementarities that enhance compatibility setting the stage for the mixture of positive and negative feelings about the value of the relationship: ambivalence.

Stage Three: Maintaining (3 to 5 years)

Characteristics:

  • Individualisation begins
  • Risk-taking
  • Dealing with Conflict
  • Relying on the relationship

Maintaining the relationship depends upon establishing balances between individualisation and togetherness, conflict and its resolution, autonomy and dependence, confusion and understanding. The intense blending of Stage Two clears the path for the re-emergence of the individual differences, indentified here as individualisation. Individualisation requires some necessary risk-taking.

Stage Four: Collaborating (5 to 10 years)

Characteristics:

  • Collaborating
  • Productivity
  • Establishing independence
  • Dependability of partners

After 5 years together, couples experience a new sense of security and a decreasing need to process their interactions. The individualisation of Stage Three can progress to the establishment of independence, sustained by the steady, dependable availability of a partner for support, guidance and affirmation.

Stage Five: Trusting (10 to 20 years)

Characteristics:

  • Trust
  • Merger of money and possessions
  • Constriction
  • Taking the relationship for granted

Trust develops gradually for most people. The trust of Stage Five includes a mutual lack of possessiveness and a strong positive regard for each other.

Stage Six: Repartnering (20 years and beyond)

Characteristics:

  • Attainment of goals
  • Expectation of permanence of the relationship
  • Emergence of personal concerns
  • Awareness of the passage of time

The twentieth anniversary appears to be a special milestone for gay male couples. A surprising number of couples reported a renewal of their relationship after being together for 20 years or more.

Comparing Studies.

When comparing the “Marital Stages” by E. Street (heterosexual relationships) with “Gay Male Partnership Stages” by McWhirter & Mattison, and interesting parallel emerges:-

Marital Stages
Gay Male Partnership Stages
1st RomanceStage One: Blending
2nd RealityStage Two: Nesting
3rd Power StrugglesStage Three: Maintaining
4th Finding OneselfStage Four: Collaborating
5th Working throughStage Five: Trusting
6th MutualityStage Six: Repartnering

See also Counselling for LGBT Couples.

Categories
FAQ

LGBTQI Language Phrases, Abbreviations & Acronyms

This is a list of (mostly) LGBT-orientated language abbreviations & acronyms. They are intended for therapists thinking about expanding into working with LGBTQI clients and who might like a crash course in lifestyle-language.  They will also be useful for anyone interested.

This list is small but I hope to expand it.

PLEASE HELP: if you’d like to help by added something please use the comments section below to suggest or correct an entry.

Index:  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  XYZ

A

B

BDSM: “Bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism”
A type of role-play – and sometimes a lifetstyle – between two or more who use the practice to experience a mix of pain and power as an erotic or sexual experience.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BDSM

BEARD:
Sometimes ‘lesbian beard’ – a woman who becomes the girlfriend/wife of a gay man in order to deflect suspicions of homosexuality primarily away from the man (although may also be a mutually satisfactory arrangement for a lesbian and gay-man).
http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/herstory/g/Beard.htm

BUTCH:
A lesbian woman who appears to be demonstrate more masculine-than-feminine behaviour (eg aggression, dominance).
http://lesbianlife.about.com/cs/transdykes/g/butch.htm

C

CBT: “Cock & Ball Torture”
Sexual play involving the delivery of pain to the penis and testicles – the sexual pleasure is mostly gained from the masochistic receipt, but somewhat too from the sadistic delivery. Torture may involve waxing, kicking, squeezing, hitting, flogging, urethral play etc.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cock_and_ball_torture_(8sexual_practice)

Closet: “In the closet”
Term (usually applying to males but equally appropriate to females) to imply a person’s sexual orientation or gender identification is different from the majority and is not publicly known. Goes hand in hand with out.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closeted

D

E

F

FEMME / FEM:
A lesbian woman who appears to demonstrate proportionally more femanine-than-mascline behaviour and/or appearance.
http://lesbianlife.about.com/cs/comingout/g/Femme.htm

G

H

I

J

K

L

Lesbian Bed Death:
Term coin by Pepper Schwartz in her 1983 book American Couples – the study suggesting that lesbians in committed relationships suffer the most decline in sexual intimacy the longer the relationship lasts.  The study has been critisised and the conclusions given as myth, however the phrase is used by some to express concern about their relationship’s decline.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesbian_bed_death

LGBTQI: “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans(gender/vestite), Questioning(Queer), Intersexed(Inquisitive)”
Self-classification from the LGBT community. Different variations include: GLBT (primarily American), LGBT, LGB etc…

M

N

O

Out: “Out of the closet
Term used to describe someone who has announced their sexuality as being different from the majority (eg gay / lesbian).  Can also refer to gender identification.  Being used more commonly nowadays as an esoteric term to refer to someone who makes something public known about themselves that was previously secret.

P

PEP: Post Exposure Prophylaxis
A treatment to attempt to stop infection by the HIV virus shortly after exposure.
http://www.pep.chapsonline.org.uk/pep_basics.htm

Q

R

S

SORTED:
Personal description implying the person has no psychological or emotional problems.

SOUNDING:
The use of medical-orientated equipment to stretch the urethra (primarily in males / the penis) as a form of sexual play.
http://www.chaseunion.com/documents/urethra/sounds.htm

T

U

V

W

XYZ

 

Please help me expand this list by adding further suggestions and amendments using the comments section below…

Categories
Sexuality

Do Counsellors ‘Cure’ Homosexuality?

An interesting article in Therapy Today (the magazine for counselling & psychotherapy professionals, published by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy) – October 2009, Volume 20, Issue 8.

If you are troubled by your sexuality and you think that counselling might help you, make an appointment with Dean Richardson – a Specialist LGBT Therapist – to discuss counselling and what you might need from therapy.

The Gay Cure?

by
John Daniel

http://www.therapytoday.net/article/show/1168/

Excerpt:

The counselling and psychotherapy profession was subject to unflattering media scrutiny earlier this year [2009] following the publication of research which found that a significant minority of mental health professionals in Britain are attempting to help lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) clients become heterosexual.

Under the headline ‘British therapists still offer treatments to “cure” homosexuality’, the Guardian reported that a survey (of 1,328 counsellors, psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and psychiatrists throughout the country) found that 222 practitioners had attempted to change at least one patient/client’s sexual orientation, while 55 said they were still offering the therapy. The fact that some of those practitioners are members of BACP prompted the following response from Phillip Hodson, BACP Fellow and Media Consultant, in the letters page of the Guardian the next day: ‘[BACP] is dedicated to social diversity, equality and inclusivity of treatment without sexual discrimination or judgmentalism of any kind, and it would be absurd to attempt to alter such fundamental aspects of personal identity as sexual orientation by counselling.’

And yet this is what a significant minority of counsellors working in Britain today are still attempting to do. ‘I think it’s probably the tip of the iceberg,’ says Michael King, Professor of Primary Care Psychiatry at University College London Medical School, and one of the three scientists responsible for the aforementioned research published in the BMC Psychiatry journal. ‘It was only a small minority, about four per cent, who said that they would treat someone who came and asked for help, but another 10 per cent said they would refer on to someone who would, so it looked like about 14 per cent thought it was an appropriate thing to do.’

Click http://www.therapytoday.net/article/show/1168/ to read the article in full.