LGBTQIA+ Therapy for Gay Men in Edmonton

Takeaway: Gay men face unique challenges. Working with a therapist who really gets it can offer you a safe space to process these challenges and build a life you love. Connect with one of our gay-affirming therapists in Edmonton today to get started.

In search of a therapist who genuinely gets what it’s like to be a gay man? Many clients come to us when they feel overwhelmed handling their issues on their own. Others approach us after previous therapy experiences fail to recognize or honour their queer identity fully. Typically, our clients are seeking a counsellor who isn’t just aware of the typical struggles faced by those in the LGBTQ community, but one who deeply comprehends their experiences.

Our therapy services go beyond offering “LGBT-friendly therapy” for folks in Edmonton. We provide active affirmation and support for 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, employing trauma-informed and affirming therapeutic approaches equipped for navigating the intricacies of sexual orientation, gender identity, and mental health.

If you’re looking for an LGBTQ therapist in Edmonton and wondering how to get started with therapy, we’re here to guide you. Below, you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions to help you identify the most suitable therapist for your distinct needs.

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Championing diversity in language and terms

Our commitment rests in acknowledging and uplifting the diverse identities within the LGBTQ community, recognizing the significant impact of language on how we perceive ourselves and others.

Throughout this page, you’ll find a variety of words and acronyms that reflect the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. We prefer using “2SLGBTQIA+” for its inclusivity, but we understand that language surrounding identity is constantly changing and deeply individual. Therefore, we’ve integrated a range of terms and acronyms on this page. We aim to ensure everyone feels welcomed and supported regardless of their preferred terms as they navigate their mental health journey.

Our dedication extends to validating and respecting each person’s path as they search for a counsellor who truly resonates with and deeply comprehends their experiences.

Our approach to LGBTQIA+ affirmative counselling for gay men in Edmonton

The Centre for Gay Counselling was started to address the critical need for specialized and high-quality mental health services created specifically for gay men.

Our team is committed to affirming 2SLGBTQIA+ identities, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and celebrating the intrinsic value of everyone in the LGBTQ community. Our therapists are both supportive and exceptionally trained, possessing specific skills and knowledge to address the unique set of issues common for 2SLGBTQIA+ folks.

Though we focus on assisting gay men, we welcome anyone needing support. Our LGBTQ therapists have a wealth of experience in helping not only individuals from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community but also their family members, friends, and allies.

Within our practice, our clinicians utilize a diverse array of therapeutic strategies and perspectives. Initially, you’ll establish a rapport with your therapist, explore different therapy options, and set the main objectives for your therapy.

We use some of the following therapeutic approaches:

IFS helps to foster a better relationship with yourself and increases self-compassion. IFS is useful for working on challenges related to complex trauma (CPTSD), family of origin, and feelings of shame.

EMDR is an approach designed to help people process specific traumatic events that they’re struggling to get unstuck from.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT):

ACT is a cognitive behavioural therapy backed by an enormous amount of research. It’s especially helpful for addressing challenges with depression, anxiety, stress, and overwhelm.

Sex therapy is an affirmative therapy which provides a safe and non-judgemental environment to explore issues related to sex and sexuality. This therapeutic approach is welcoming and affirming for any gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.

But sex therapy isn’t just helpful for sex. Sex therapy can also be incredibly empowering for folks who want to explore gender identity issues such as gender dysphoria or who have self-doubt about what it means to be your authentic self.

Whichever kind of counselling you decide on with your therapist, all our counsellors use trauma-informed and 2SLGBTQIA+ affirming therapies.

Meet our highly-rated gay therapists in Edmonton

Beginning on your path toward personal growth is a unique journey, and finding the ideal counsellor is vital. We encourage you to get to know our team of counsellors below to find the one that best matches your needs.

Jordan Gruenhage Canada Gay Counsellor Therapist

Jordan Gruenhage

(he/him) • MA, CCC, RCC

🖥️ Exclusively online

🗓️ Accepting new clients

Jordan has passionately invested over ten years to research, education, and training on the nuanced challenges gay men face. He’s a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Canadian Certified Counselor. His counselling style is often characterized as playful, warm, safe, and supportive, creating a secure environment for new clients as they delve into their mental health concerns.

He specializes in assisting gay men in enhancing their emotional insights, recovering from past traumas, and growing their sense of self-worth. Jordan excels in providing support for trauma related to shame, self-worth, family members, religion, and sexual identity.

Victor Wakarchuk Canada Gay Counsellor Therapist

Victor Wakarchuk

(he/him) • RCC, MSW, RSW

🖥️ Exclusively online

🗓️ Accepting new clients

Victor holds registrations as both a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Registered Social Worker. He brings over eight years of comprehensive experience from hospital to mental health care environments, including roles in both HIV and transgender health clinics. He approaches therapy with warmth, respect, and openness, helping clients navigate their mental health challenges.

He has a significant talent for assisting queer men in dealing with depression, anxiety, stress, and overwhelm. Moreover, Victor’s expertise in sex therapy equips him to sensitively support clients with their sexual health and intimacy concerns.

Why choose the Centre for Gay Counselling?

Wondering whether The Centre for Gay Counselling is the right choice for you? Below are several factors that may indicate our counselling services align with your path to greater wellbeing.

  • You want 2SLGBTQIA+ affirming (not just “LGBT friendly”) therapy in Edmonton.

    • Our dedication to affirming 2SLGBTQIA+ identities goes beyond just the extensive training, education, and expertise our therapists have with LGBTQ issues. It’s about genuinely celebrating each individual’s gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, not only acknowledging or tolerating them. We view the wide variety of gender identities, expressions, and sexual orientations as an enriching contribution to society, never as something abnormal.

    • The path of 2SLGBTQIA+ affirmation is ongoing and dynamic for us. Our psychotherapists regularly connect with the LGBTQ community to refine their approaches with fresh perspectives and resources. We maintain valuable connections with various 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations across Canada, keep up-to-date with recent 2SLGBTQIA+ mental health research, and are actively involved in queer cultural activities.

  • You want to put in the work so that your therapy results last.

    • Our commitment is focused on leading people to profound and enduring change through a comprehensive approach. By addressing present challenges and healing from past traumas, we strive to create lasting improvement that persists for your entire life.

    • The clients who achieve the most significant outcomes participate fully in their therapy sessions and maintain a comprehensive, long-lasting perspective on their mental health. Our objective is to empower people, equipping them with the essential skills and confidence to develop lasting resilience and consistently maintain their mental health.

  • You want a counsellor with lived-experience who’s “been there.”

    • Every therapist in our queer-owned private practice has unique personal experiences that inform their area of expertise, allowing for genuine empathy and connection with your journey. You can be confident that your counsellor will provide compassionate support rooted in a deep understanding of the intricate emotional and relationship issues often encountered by 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals.

    • We firmly believe that our therapists’ own experiences should beneficially contribute to your therapy sessions. This is why all our counsellors engage in ongoing clinical consultations and pursue their own therapeutic work to ensure they are optimally prepared to offer you their finest level of support.

lgbt friendly therapy edmonton

When the Centre for Gay Counselling may not be the best fit for you

We aim to support as many members of the LGBTQ community as possible, understanding the importance of aligning each person’s distinct requirements with the appropriate counsellor. To help in your selection process, we’ve outlined some considerations below that suggest another practice may better suit your needs.

  • You’re seeking face-to-face or local community services in Edmonton.

    • Our counselling offerings are exclusively available online. We aim to reach and help a broad spectrum of folks within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community through teletherapy as our primary service model.

    • Research has shown that online therapy can be as effective as conventional face-to-face sessions. However, teletherapy is not one-size-fits-all. For those experiencing consistent episodes of psychosis or who experience ongoing suicidal thoughts, online therapy may not be the most suitable option. Additionally, the lack of a private and safe space for therapy can affect the effectiveness of online sessions.

    • For those in need of direct, in-person support services for domestic violence, substance use, peer support, or programs for children, youth, and young adults, Pride Centre of Edmonton has an extensive list of in-person resources in Edmonton, Alberta.

  • You expect immediate and easy solutions from counselling.

    • We recognize the appeal of a therapist who can instantly solve all problems during tough periods. Although we’d also like to provide instantaneous solutions, substantial and lasting changes in therapy generally require time to develop. Our experience has shown that clients achieve their most profound successes when dedicated to ongoing counselling and consistently applying the tools and resources learned from sessions in their daily lives.

  • 2SLGBTQIA+ affirming therapy is not what you’re looking for.

    • We understand that individuals who feel negative emotions or shame related to their sexual orientation or gender identity might initially look for support that validates the negative attitudes they’ve faced from family or society. The stigma associated with identifying as part of the two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (2SLGBTQIA+) community often leads to internalized homophobia. However, research has shown that therapeutic methods that treat 2SLGBTQIA+ identities as problematic are incredibly harmful and have been banned in Canada.

    • For those dealing with issues related to their identity or the challenges of coming out, our therapists have discovered that psychotherapy that affirmatively recognizes 2SLGBTQIA+ identities can greatly alleviate distress related to these challenges.

gay psychologist edmonton

FAQs about working with a gay-affirming therapist in Edmonton

Why am I so resistant to therapy?

It’s very common to both want and not want therapy. Feeling resistant toward therapy is an expected part of the process at times and is important to share with your counsellor.

In fact, therapy provides a unique opportunity for exploring resistant feelings because there aren’t the same restrictions from everyday social conventions about how or what is deemed acceptable to discuss. In counselling, we call these seeming contradictions polarizations because two differing perspectives polarize around an issue, leaving you feeling stuck.

“Resistance” can often be seen as a gift in hindsight because it usually points you precisely toward an issue that, if worked on in counselling, can benefit your life tremendously. If you feel both interested and hesitant to pursue counselling, we encourage you to try therapy and bring these feelings to your sessions–you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

How do I tell my therapist something hard?

Even though much of a therapist’s experience, education, and training revolve around discussing hard topics, it’s incredibly common to struggle with telling your therapist something. So if this describes your situation, know you’re not alone with this challenge.

Particularly for queer folks who have faced discrimination or negative messages about how they identify, there can be a lot of fear, and it can be difficult to feel safe discussing hard topics (even during therapy). Depending on your cultural backgrounds and religious upbringing, you may have also been conditioned to not speak about negative feelings or specific topics, which may also make talking about something with your therapist challenging.

Luckily, there are a few simple and practical ways to begin talking about something that feels difficult:

  • 1.) First, assure yourself that you have complete control and autonomy over what you do and don’t share in counselling. Knowing there’s no pressure to share something allows you to talk about it intentionally when the timing feels right.
  • 2.) Assess in the present moment if your therapist has shown you it’s safe to talk about something hard. Not sure? Start with sharing something that feels difficult but manageable, then see how your therapist responds and how you feel.
  • 3.) Share that you want to discuss something difficult with your therapist but don’t know how to start. Your therapist can then help you explore your fears about discussing the topic without discussing actually it, and find ways to make the conversation feel safer before you decide if you want to proceed with talking about it.

How do I find a gay psychologist in Edmonton?

Navigating the overwhelming number of options when you search for something like “gay psychologist Edmonton” can be daunting. To assist, we’ve compiled a list of reputable sources for LGBTQ therapy services around Edmonton:

Understanding the various titles such as Psychologist, Registered Provisional Psychologist, Registered Clinical Counsellor, Canadian Certified Counsellor, or Registered Social Worker can be perplexing. The key differences between these practitioners stem from their unique educational backgrounds and the standards enforced by their respective regulatory bodies and associations. Additionally, when considering insurance for therapy expenses, your plan may be limited to covering sessions with specific categories of mental health providers.

In your quest for an LGBTQ therapist in Edmonton, remember that finding the right fit goes beyond just a professional designation or geographic location. Connecting with a therapist who truly understands and aligns with you is crucial. Thanks to the online nature of our services, any of our therapists can work with you, regardless of your location in Alberta or across Canada.

Strengthen your relationships and self-esteem with the help of our gay-affirming therapists in Edmonton.

Our dedication to affirming the intrinsic worth of folks within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community is unwavering. We believe everyone deserves to lead a fulfilling life while staying authentic to who they are. We aim to lead you towards enhanced self-acceptance through therapy that genuinely respects and uplifts your identity.

We’re inspired daily by our clients and the privilege of working with them. Supporting our 2SLGBTQIA+ peers as they overcome challenges and move towards a more rewarding life is our true honour.

Ready to take the first step? Click the button below to book a free 15 minute phone consultation with one of our counsellors. This initial conversation lets them understand your concerns and determine how we can best assist you.