One of the things that we at Sedâ Psychotherapy take great pride in is having a team of queer and allied therapists with personal and professional commitment to serving clients of all identities and lived experiences. This piece will unpack what that means, why it matters, and how this type of queer or queer-informed practice benefits people of all backgrounds. It is by no means comprehensive, but rather serves as a starting point for discussing this important topic.
What We Mean When We Say Queer
The word “queer” may strike some people as odd, or even offensive or derogatory. In recent years the term has been reappropriated to encompass a wide array of sexual and gender identities. At Sedâ Psychotherapy, we use the term to represent the many identities under the LGBTQIA2+ umbrella, and we respect and honour whatever terminology our clients feel best represents their lived experiences. Queer can even serve as a sort of “placeholder” term while people navigate what wording best represents their sexual and gender identities. The language in queer communities is a living document, ever-evolving to better represent our realities and experiences. Here is a guide of LGBTQIA2+ terms that may be helpful for you - and keep in mind, if you are ever unsure about the terms someone is using, do not be afraid to ask! Asking demonstrates you care, and that we are in a safe place to have these discussions.
Why Queer-Informed Practice is Important
Not all the practitioners at Sedâ Psychotherapy identify as queer, but all of us are committed to helping people explore their identities in a safe therapeutic environment. For example, things like the use of pronouns are important to us. One may see someone who looks like and identifies as a female and has “she/her” pronouns and wonder what the point of this is. Using the correct pronouns someone identifies with honours their lived experience and the challenges they’ve survived; putting pronouns at the forefront of a first meeting helps show clients that they are safe here.
Queer-informed practice is intersectional and anti-oppressive. This means that our therapists recognize that we live in a world where people may face oppression based on race, age, sex, sexuality, gender, ability/disability, religion, and socioeconomic standing. We strive to be reflexive in our thinking, and aware of our own power and privilege in proximity to someone else’s. This allows us to create not just a safe space, but a brave space where you can fully explore the factors that influence how you’re feeling.
How Queer-Informed Practice Benefits You
Queer-informed therapy is, at its core, identity-affirming. We must go beyond simply tolerating or celebrating marginalized identities, and divest ourselves of comparing people to a heteronormative “norm”. Queer-informed therapy is trauma-informed, recognizing that queer folks are at a higher risk for experiencing traumatic stress historically and at present. We also help friends, family, and chosen family get a deeper understanding of what queer and non-queer people are going through by approaching couples and family work with this unique lens that provides a more detailed view of the challenges and strengths one faces.
Finally, another benefit of queer-informed practice is that the therapist is trained to provide quality care regardless of the client’s sexuality or gender identity. We offer some added strengths by approaching things through an intersectional lens, looking at how wider societal issues relating to marginalization affect all kinds of people. Your narrative does not exist inside a vacuum, and we are committed to helping you explore many factors that influence who you are and how you feel.