Changing Counseling for the LGBT Community

Jun 27, 2014 9:00 PM ET
Jeff Lubsen

Spotlight on Walden

For Jeff Lubsen, the negative messages LGBT people hear from some counselors and medical professionals are all too familiar. As an Iowa teen in the 1980s, he’d also been told that his life would be miserable because he is gay. Now, Lubsen is working to change the message and the healthcare provided to people of all sexual identities.

The Denver licensed professional counselor and Walden University Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision student is a founder of the Healthcare Guild, a national network offering information and training to mental and medical healthcare professionals who work with the LGBT community. The organization also seeks to create a dialogue and connection with cultural and religious groups and support LGBT people struggling with family issues. With a mission to make affirming and culturally competent healthcare available to sexual and gender minorities, the Healthcare Guild builds on a model Lubsen had seen in Salt Lake City and replicated in Kansas City.

“There are different dynamics in different communities, but a lot of the problems LGBT people face are related to stress and shame. A supportive environment contributes to an overall reduction of stress. People are grateful to be with someone who isn’t trying to judge or demonize them or impose their own values,” Lubsen says. “Therapists need to recognize their own biases and world views, and how they transfer these issues.”

Many in the profession appear to agree. Lubsen’s Therapists Guild of Kansas City attracted more than 150 members, and the Healthcare Guild has built a cumulative affiliated membership of over 1,000 in less than two years. Lubsen has also successfully launched a local chapter in Denver.

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