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​If you are going through a very stressful time in your life and are searching for a therapist with whom you are able to share your story in order to get help, you may also worry about fear of rejection or misunderstanding, or having to hide aspects of yourself from your therapist. This is a real concern for most lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and queer identified individuals and couples. When looking for a therapist it is extremely difficult to determine if that person truly understands the nuances of growing up LGBTQ+ identified and the current daily issues that this community tends to encounter.

Depending on your location, there may be a limited number of psychotherapists practicing LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy; however, very few specialize in work with LGBTQ+ clients, and even fewer identify as part of the community. I offer all LGBTQ+ clients in the Denton and DFW area the unique opportunity to know before we meet that I am someone from their own community with a licensed, trained, studied, and personal understanding of their development and current issues.


By taking an affirmative and sex-positive approach to LGBTQ+ identities and experiences, I will never pathologize your experience. In other words, I will not view your identity or experience as abnormal or in need of change. This is essential to understand, especially given that the medical community initially pathologized sexual orientation as a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). There continues to be mental health provides that provide 'conversion therapy' despite this being very dangerous to LGBTQ+ individuals and unethical. However, there are now 17 states that ban conversion therapy as of May 2019! 


Dr. Bewley's Office


  • Sexual Orientation encompasses how one self identifies, who one fantasizes about, who one is sexually attracted to, and/or who one has sex with. There are various labels to identify sexual orientation (e.g., asexual, bisexual, fluid, gay, heterosexual/straight, lesbian, demisexual, pansexual, queer, questioning, same gender loving). Romantic/Emotional Orientation refers to an individuals pattern of romantic/emotional attraction to others, which can highlight the complexities in attraction to others.

  • ​As discussed above, affirming psychotherapy is essential to find for sexual minorities when seeking a therapist in order to ensure safety and trust. Unfortunately, conversion therapy (i.e., counseling and psychotherapy that attempt to eliminate individuals’ sexual desires for members of their own sex) still exists despite this being an unethical practice  according to American Psychological Association (APA) and American Psychiatric Association. As an affirming therapist, I will create a space where you are affirmed without judgement, allow for exploration of your sexual/romantic orientation, as well as determining various future goals (e.g., coming out to friends, family), living more openly, and increasing pride in your identity. Additionally, I will focus on ensuring  resiliency is instilled related to your identity despite heterosexism (i.e., assumption that all people are heterosexual), prejudice, and discrimination that may occur outside of therapy. 

  • The journey for each person is different, but most LGBQ individuals have been impacted (positively or negatively) by religion in regards to their sexual orientation development. Given conversion therapy has many roots connected to fundamental religion, many LGBQ individuals have experienced hurt, rejection, discrimination, or outright hatred from others based on religion. As an affirming therapist, I will assist you in exploring this intersection of identities and mutually explore how it has impacted you, as well as help you set boundaries with others who attempt to use religion against you. For other LGBQ individuals, they seek to integrate their religious and sexual orientation but may struggle to come out to others who are religious. Some LGBQ individuals may not believe that religion and sexual orientation can mutually exist. However, if desired, I will assist you in understanding how religion and sexual orientation can not only exist but be supportive of each other. 

  • As an affirming therapist, we will explore coming out issues and your unique context. Coming out can start at different ages for individuals but can be the first time that an individual comes to terms with the reality that they are attracted to the same gender, which is not “the norm” and goes against everything that they are told (i.e., heteronormativity) since childhood. Coming out is not a one time process and involves many complexities to it. Some encounter a double burden, as they must endure the basic challenges of developmental periods but also struggle to come to terms with their sexual orientation. Many settings (i.e., hometown, current living situation, work), especially in the southern U.S. can be non-accepting, and this can impact your ability to come out safely. Once out, you may be learning to socialize in a new environment, meet new people, establish new social contacts, and/or become more connected in the LGBQ community. Other cultural identities, ethnicity, and social location also play a large part in the process as well.

  • As an affirming therapist, I will also help you understand other issues that impact sexual orientation development, including understanding the various attitudinal shifts of attitudes that others can hold toward sexual orientation, understanding concepts such as 'covering' and 'coming out safely,' as well as understand the many benefits of being LGBQ. We will likely explore issues with self-esteem, explore your level of self-acceptance, and explore potential problems managing family dynamics.


  • As of May 25, 2019, the World Health Organization has officially removed being Transgender as a mental illness. The World Health Organization now describes being transgender as "gender incongruence." This is a step in the right direction and will hopefully continue to de-stigmatize transgender identities/experiences. Similarly, despite the new edition of the DSM removing the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder, there is now an alternative diagnostic formulation of Gender Dysphoria. This new diagnosis essentially suggests that you may be depressed, rather than disordered, because your internal experience and your current anatomy do not align. Although this is a step in the right direction, ultimately removing  any mental health diagnoses related to gender identity from the DSM altogether is ideal. Although Gender Dysphoria continues to be considered a mental disorder, I can ensure you that I do not view gender identity in this manner. Rather, I view gender identity/expression on a continuum, rather than on the socially constructed binary. As an LGBTQ+ individual, you may be experiencing various issues that are similar to heterosexual or cis-gender individuals. Sometimes, presenting concerns or issues are directly related to sexual orientation or gender identity issues, which would then lead to this being the center of our work in therapy. Understanding context is important, and being located in Texas has a real-world impact on prejudice, oppression, discrimination, and availability of resources. At other times identities may be separate from an individual's distress and may be less central in therapy. Determining this importance and context specific to you will be a mutual exploration that will involve open transparency when determining our therapeutic goals. 


  • Gender Diversity and/or Trans* are umbrella terms that refers to all of the identities within the gender identity spectrum. These identities include, but are not limited to, genderqueer, bigender, gender fluid, genderless, MtF, FtM, Two Spirit, non-binary, androgynous, and masculine of center (MOC). 

  • ​As discussed above, affirming psychotherapy is essential to find for gender diversity individuals when seeking a therapist in order to ensure safety and trust. An affirming therapist allows for exploration of your gender identity, as well as determining a comfortable gender role and expression that fits for you. Additionally, I will focus on ensuring  resiliency is instilled related to your identity despite prejudice and discrimination that may occur outside of therapy. 

  • The journey for each person is different, as some may decide to partially or fully transition with gender confirming surgeries, including Hormone Replacement Therapies (HRT). The extent to which your gender identity is aligned with your gender expression varies, as this is not always necessary or desired. If transition is decided upon, psychotherapy can be beneficial in assisting with decision-making processes, providing support through the process, and focus on coping with physical, psychological, and social adjustments.

  • There have been recent positive advances in both the medical and psychological fields regarding standards of care and informed consent to treatment.  The WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) Standards of Care, 7th Edition (2011), makes some very important strides in the right direction (toward giving you the power and control to make your own healthcare decisions). It is very important to be aware of this document and to review it in detail.  

As An Affirming THERAPIST

  • I will use affirming language 

  • I will never view your identity as a disorder

  • I will meet you where you are in your identity development

  • I will never assume your concerns are directly related to your identity

  • I will explore intersecting identities that you hold

  • I will understand that your experience and journey is unique

  • I will not pathologize your level of outness 

  • I will consider how oppression/discrimination has impacted your experience

  • I will discuss developmental issues relating to growing up LGBTQ+

  • I will understand the complexity of religion & sexual orientation

  • I will help explore the impact of heterosexist or cissexism perspectives



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