Yesterday was National Coming Out day, the time when gay men and women across the country announce themselves as homosexual, pansexual, bisexual or any other variation of human sexuality. Yep there’s a lot more to it than just the old Hetero/Homo binary options. I like to say that human sexuality is like a 7 lane highway, and most people are in the bike lane. I mean most people are not very adventuresome or open-minded when it comes to their own or others sexualities.
As a divorce lawyer for the past 20 plus years I’ve learned a great deal about a great many people’s private sexual lives. It’s an interesting position I’m in where people (mostly men) tell me their deepest sexual likes and dislikes and fantasies and fetishes and mostly there’s a lot of porn watching.
People open up to this gay divorce lawyer because they feel safe that their secrets are kept confidential and their sex fantasies won’t offend me. Both of which are true. At this point in my career there’s a short list of things that I haven’t heard, and even those wont shock me when I hear them.
I know that my being open to hearing others deepest thoughts is a relief to them, because that’s exactly what I am told and have witnessed. There’s a real, physical reaction, that happens when we get honest and disclose our private thoughts. That’s the basis of psychotherapy after all.
As a person who has spent thousands of dollars and hours working with therapists to overcome my own traumas from childhood, substance abuse, PTSD from my work and my own internalized homophobia, I can state that therapy, confession and third party input is crucial to getting and maintaining mental health. The world has been through a very traumatic event and many people could use some good therapy time.
Luckily we live in a time when the options for access to therapists is expanding. Aside from the many in person options we have in Santa Monica to therapists and psychologists, the online world expanded. I was able in the midst of the pandemic to see my therapist via a secure videoconference and we had access to one of the resources we use for EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) via the internet.
The usage of technology in the distribution of therapists is expanding. My friend Jake Myers and I met while I was attending Antioch University pursuing a Masters in Psychology. He completed the program and went on to become a licensed therapist in California.
Myers is taking his background in website development and marketing and has launched lgbtqtherapyspace.com, which is the first teletherapy space devoted to serving the needs of both therapists and patients in the LGBTQ space. “This service provides lower cost therapy to individuals across the country, and more importantly, it allows individuals in remote locations that may not have access to a gay-friendly therapist, to see someone who is prescreened as culturally aware and sensitive to the diversity issues the LGBTQ community faces” Myers told me.
For many individuals across the country who are confronting their sexuality in unsafe territory the option to have a therapist who has been properly vetted is a tremendous benefit. “There are men on the DL (down low) and feel intense shame and guilt and have no one to turn to for solace. The unique experiences we all live, don’t have to fit into neat boxes of gender. We need to be human, our spirit is what matters, to not be limited by society’s expectations. We need to all embrace out masculine and feminine sides to lead happy fulfilled lives and it is my hope that this website will help make that happen for more people.” Myers said.
One of the biggest benefits to the therapists is that they have the option to work from their home, or anywhere with internet access. “Plus they are paid out weekly directly to their accounts so they don’t have the problems of waiting on funds from the insurance companies.” Myers continued.
Mental health is a huge problem in our country, and it has only escalated due to the pandemic and the isolation that so many of us experienced. I’m lucky to live in a city like Santa Monica where I have access to a full range of therapists and modalities to help me navigate towards a healthy life. For those who are in the remote parts of our state and country, this new website is a boon to them and I’m happy that my friend Jake Myers, is leading the way along with his husband to make psychotherapy more available to everyone.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra