Why do you specialize in gay men’s issues and HIV/AIDS?
As a gay man, I’ve found that few male counselors exist, and even fewer male counselors who focus on gay men’s issues. When someone is dealing with challenging issues and has the quality of their life at stake, it’s important that they trust the people they’re sharing themselves with. As a gay male counselor, I can both conceptually and emotionally understand the challenges specific to LGBTQ people and how more general issues affect gay men uniquely.
In a survey of 500 gay and lesbian individuals about their experience of therapy, the following themes arose:
- Respondents valued counselors with the knowledge and confidence necessary to discuss issues of sexual identity
- The most common change respondents would make in future therapy choices was selection of a lesbian or gay male counselor
- A wide range of complimentary therapies was seen as valuable by respondents.
Those who deal with HIV/AIDS may have to deal with a coming out process which has parallels to coming out as gay or queer. If a gay or queer person is affected by HIV/AIDS, they may have a dual coming-out process.
As someone well-versed in issues surrounding LGBTQ people and HIV/AIDS, I can also offer the unique service to coordinate care between multiple professionals to best support my clients while helping them navigate the complexities of HIV/AIDS treatment.
Do you accept or bill insurance?
Yes; here’s how:
- If your insurance permits payment to out-of-network providers, I can provide thorough documentation for you to submit to them for potential reimbursal of your cash counseling expenses
- If you have a Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield or Aetna plan covering counseling, I am an ‘out-of-network provider’ in their system and can bill them directly for you
- I am working with other insurance companies, PPOs and HMOs to become empaneled in their systems, and may be able to offer billing services similar to those like the Regence BCBS and Aetna scenarios described above
Do you work with heterosexual (straight) clients?
While I specialize in work with gay men, I am quite open to (and qualified for) work with other people. In addition to being raised and educated in a predominantly straight world, being ‘outside’ a heterosexual mainstream as a gay man gives me quite a bit of perspective on life. Issues such as monogamy, sex and power dynamics may be much more fluid in LGBTQ communities than in heterosexual communities, and discussion around those topics can be freer than in communities which have more proscribed norms. This is not to say that gay communities have it ‘all figured out’—far from it—but they have begun to learn how better to discuss some of our culture’s deeply entrenched norms.
My ‘straight’ male and lesbian clients often tell me that they find my perspective on relationships, work and other ‘gendered’ conversations refreshing. Much of my focus on gay men’s issues has more to do with gender than ‘gay;’ I have spent quite a bit of time exploring how gender has shaped our culture and vice versa. This familiarity and comfort with discussions of gender allows me to engage my clients on a level without as much attachment to strict gender norms and with quite a bit of insight into how those norms shape our experience of life.
What are your qualifications?
I hold a DCSW (a Diplomate of Clinical Social Work, the highest credential offered by the National Association of Social Workers) and have 20 years of experience in large clinical settings, with responsibilities ranging from direct work with clients to case supervision and clinical supervision. You can find out more about me here.
Where can I find out more about your clinical supervision and counseling work?
How may I get to know you better before choosing to work with you?
I am glad to connect with prospective clients via telephone for twenty to thirty minutes so that we can explore if we would be a good match.
How do you schedule meetings with clients?
For first meetings, I schedule appointments via e-mail or phone until we find a workable time. Once we have begun to work together we will schedule our work on a regular day and time.