Jacques and Chris work a lot with members of the LGBTIQA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, asexual, or otherwise-identifying) population. Their clinical work in this diverse and complex area includes:
– Helping clients with gender dysphoria, including support through the transition process
– Managing bullying and discrimination
– Couples therapy, including for couples exploring polyamorous and open relationships
– Dealing with uncertainty, confusion, shame, anxiety, acceptance, and practical problems
– Assistance with coming out
– Treatment of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, substance use, and suicide
– Working directly with the families and other loved ones
– Navigating being LGBTIQA+ and from a religious and/or cultural and linguistically diverse community
Jacques and Chris are both passionate about promoting the mental health of members of the LGBTIQA+ community, and this means going beyond their clinical work in private practice. They took this picture of the famous Stonewall Inn in New York City, the birthplace of the ‘gay rights’ movement, during a very moving visit in 2013.
The New York visit inspired Jacques to write this article, which was published during his time as a volunteer columnist for a gay national media network. He has also shared his own coming out story with a community organisation, and he is regularly invited as a guest speaker to discuss LGBTIQA+ mental health issues at events held for health professionals and the greater community. He prides himself on being an out gay man, as he sees this as an opportunity to use his profile as a clinical psychologist to educate and advocate on behalf of so many of his clients.
Chris has also taken his interest in enhancing LGBTIQA+ wellbeing beyond his direct work with individuals in a clinical setting. He uses his extensive clinical and research experience to train other mental health practitioners who wish to work with members of this community. This includes: teaching on the subject in the postgraduate clinical psychology program at La Trobe University; developing, running and evaluating specialised training for therapists wishing to see same-sex couples; and educating clinicians on implementing effective mental health interventions with LGBTIQA+ people. He holds an academic position at La Trobe University, and his research these days is almost exclusively on LGBTIQA+ mental health. The fruit of this productive balance of clinical and research work includes the publication of guidelines for therapists working with same-sex couples, both in peer-reviewed academic journals and on Australian government media.
If you are a member of the rainbow community and seeking the help of a professional who can bring to the table their advanced knowledge, years of clinical experience, and an intimate understanding of some of your challenges, you’ve certainly come to the right place!