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Following on from November’s Diversity 1: Understanding Multicultural Concerns, sexuality is the focus this month.  The issues raised in November also tend to apply when working with clients where differences in sexuality is highlighted.

Although today’s world is much more liberal than in the past, people’s sexuality still can cause much prejudice and judgement.  It is likely that there are more mental health problems in gender and sexual diversity communities: increased cultural pressures, lack of understanding from family and friends leading to loss of contact which leads to feelings of isolation and social stigmatisation, and often being victim of hate attacks and homophobia.  This results in self harm, anxiety, suicide, depression, low self esteem, to name a few.

In counselling, it is important to ensure that clients are assured of confidentiality, that they feel safe and not pressurised into disclosing anything they do not wish to.  The counsellor needs to be honest with themselves and the client – if it affects their work, it is in the interest of the client to refer to another counsellor in consultation with the supervisor.  Self awareness is key along with a clear understanding of the issues that will arise when working with clients in this area.

 

The views here are the author’s and are intended for general guidance only