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While general recognition and support for LGBTQIA+ identities have increased in recent years, stigma and ignorance have yet to disappear. Even before transphobia, homophobia, and hate crimes enter the picture, microaggressions can do plenty of damage, such as:
- describing transgender people as “confused”
- failing to acknowledge genders other than male or female
- brushing off sexuality as a “phase”
It may come as little surprise, then, that many LGBTQIA+ people in the United States live with mental health concerns:
- According to a 2019 report, compared with cisgender adults, transgender adults have almost four times the risk of mental health symptoms.
- According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), LGB teens report symptoms of depression at more than two times the rate of heterosexual teens.
- According to 2020 research, compared with cisgender LGBQ and questioning teens and young adults, trans and nonbinary youth have an even higher risk of depression and suicidal thoughts.
When it comes to addressing these concerns, therapy can be very beneficial. But as the Human Rights Campaign notes, many LGBTQIA+ people also lack access to health insurance, not to mention mental health care.
That’s where online therapy services, like Pride Counseling, can be a big help.
Pride Counseling is an online therapy service that aims to provide accessible, affirming mental health care to all LGBTQIA+ people in need of support.
It should go without saying, but we want to emphasize that LGBTQIA+ people don’t automatically need therapy on the basis of identity alone.
Identity and sexual orientation are part of who you are, not something you need to change or get help for.
You might consider therapy for the same reasons anyone else would:
- relationship issues
- family difficulties
- trouble at work, including burnout or loss of motivation
- existential concerns
- mental health symptoms, including anxiety, depression, or other changes in mood
That said, you could also need support with discrimination or other issues related to your identity:
- homophobia and bullying at school, work, or in your community
- rejection from family members and other loved ones
- gender dysphoria
No matter your reason for seeking therapy, you’ll typically have better success when you have a good working relationship with your therapist. To put it another way, it helps to have a therapist you can trust *not* to:
- privately look down on what they consider your “lifestyle choices”
- guide you toward socially sanctioned binary gender roles
- assume the gender of your romantic partner based on your gender
- misgender you every session
Pride Counseling helps you avoid this stigma and judgment by connecting you with mental health professionals who provide inclusive, affirming support. They won’t just acknowledge your identity — they’ll offer compassion and acceptance.
Pros of Pride Counseling
- All therapists have at minimum 3 years and 1,000 hours of experience providing therapy.
- Therapists have their own areas of expertise, but they also specialize in providing LGBTQIA+ affirming support.
- Pride Counseling therapists have a range of specialties and credentials.
- You pay less per week than you’d generally pay for most in-person therapy sessions.
- You have the option to switch therapists.
- You can connect with your therapist via phone, video, instant messaging, or live chat.
Cons of Pride Counseling
- Not all therapists will write recommendations for gender affirming surgery or hormone therapy. They may recommend connecting with a therapist in person to get this recommendation.
- Therapists can’t prescribe medication or give an official mental health diagnosis.
- Therapists typically can’t provide support for more serious mental health conditions, including schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
- Pride Counseling doesn’t accept insurance.
Once you are matched with a therapist, Pride Counseling services can be accessed in a few different ways to suit your needs and comfort level.
- Exchanging messages. You and your therapist can exchange messages in a secure, private “room” that you can access 24/7. You will write about yourself and any concerns and questions you have. Your therapist will read and respond with questions and guidance and you’ll receive an email notification letting you know they’ve messaged you.
- Live chat. This method lets you have a real-time, virtual conversation with your therapist. Your chat session needs to be scheduled in advance. When it’s time for your chat, you’ll log in and start typing.
- Telephone. You can schedule a live phone session with your therapist through your therapy room where you’ll be prompted to start the session by entering your phone number. The system then calls you and connects you live with your therapist. Your number is never shared with your therapist.
- Live video. You can schedule live video sessions that let you have virtual face-to-face sessions, similar to connecting on Zoom or Skype. Just log into your therapy room at the scheduled time and your therapist will prompt you to start the session.
Here’s what to know about getting started with Pride Counseling.
First, you’ll fill out a short questionnaire, giving information about your:
- identity and pronouns
- sexual orientation
- current mental and physical health status
- religion or spirituality
After completing the survey, you can then create your account to use the site.
The service does its best to match you with the right therapist for your needs by taking your questionnaire answers into account.
Pride Counseling therapists include:
- marriage and family therapists
- licensed professional counselors
- social workers
These professionals all have at least 1,000 hours of clinical experience, plus current licenses and certifications. While not all therapists at Pride Counseling identify as LGBTQIA+ themselves, all have chosen to specialize in supporting LGBTQIA+ individuals in addition to their other areas of specialty.
Although you can’t choose your own therapist at Pride Counseling, you can request a new therapist if you’re matched with someone who doesn’t feel like a good fit.
Trying to decide whether a therapist is right for you? Our guide can help.
Therapist areas of expertise
Therapists at Pride Counseling offer support for a variety of mental health and emotional concerns, including:
- substance use issues
- eating disorders
- sleep issues
- family or relationship difficulties
- religious issues
That said, you don’t need to have any specific mental health symptoms to benefit from therapy. If you simply want to talk through life challenges or everyday issues with someone who offers compassion and understanding, a good therapist can help.
Your personal information, plus anything you say in therapy, will remain private with a few exceptions, such as:
- a plan to harm yourself or someone else
- ongoing abuse, intimate partner violence, or neglect of a vulnerable person, like a child, older adult, or someone with a disability
- a court order for your information
Since Pride Counseling doesn’t work with insurance companies, the service won’t share your details with these outside parties.
- You can digitally “shred” any messages you want to remove from your therapy account.
- Therapy databases, which include your messages, are both encrypted with banking-grade encryption and scrambled in the event of outside access.
- Pride Counseling’s encryption system uses current best practices.
- Server distribution provides additional security.
Pride Counseling charges a weekly subscription fee, but you’ll only be charged once every 4 weeks.
This cost varies from $60 to $90 per week, depending on factors, like:
- your location
- your income
- available therapists in your area
- your preferences for therapy
There’s no commitment to keep using the service, so you can cancel your subscription online any time you choose. There’s no need to make a phone call.
If cost remains a barrier, several reviews mention that Pride Counseling may provide some income-based financial assistance, so it may be worth reaching out about this option.
Pride Counseling doesn’t accept insurance.
Some insurance plans may offer some reimbursement for online therapy services, but many won’t.
Keep in mind, too, that Pride Counseling doesn’t provide specific diagnoses or work with insurance companies.
Since insurance companies that do offer full or partial reimbursement for therapy often require a diagnosis and other treatment information first, this could get in the way of any potential reimbursement.
While online therapy might not work for everyone, research generally supports its effectiveness:
Research from 2017considered 25 studies on telemental healthcare. The review authors concluded that online therapy can be an effective approach to treatment, especially in rural or isolated areas, with the added benefit of increased affordability. Research from 2018suggested LGBTQIA+ youth show particular interest in affirming, inclusive options for online mental health support. Accessible online therapy could, in some cases, make it easier for LGBTQIA+ young adults to access care.
- Research from 2020 into the different modalities of telemental health found it to be effective across a wide range of populations and locations. They also found multiple modalities, including apps, video, and telephone to be effective in increasing accessibility without comprising the quality of care.
One major benefit of online therapy? You can access care no matter where you live.
Perhaps you live in a smaller town with limited therapy options, or you feel uncomfortable sharing your identity with local therapists. Online therapy platforms, like Pride Counseling, help you find support without fear of rejection or bias.
What do real people who use Pride Counseling think? Reviews suggest they’re pretty satisfied. The service has an overall rating of 4.6 (out of 5) stars in Apple’s App Store.
- app features, like journaling, goal tracking, and worksheets
- therapist responsiveness and effectiveness
- easy-to-use app interface
While a few users reported a negative experience with the therapist assigned, many people said they were matched with a great therapist the first time and reported a positive therapy experience overall.
A few people didn’t love the service, though:
- Some people found it too expensive, even with financial aid.
- Others emphasized that while you can send as many messages as you’d like to your therapist, they’ll only respond when they’re available.
- Scheduling sessions also depends on therapist availability, and not all therapists can offer a session at a time that works for you each week.
- Several reviewers also expressed disappointment that Pride Counseling therapists couldn’t offer support for the concerns they wanted help with.
Pride Counseling can help if you’re hoping to get support and guidance for:
- coping with day-to-day stress and life challenges
- exploring life goals or major changes
- navigating relationship or parenting challenges
- making positive changes to improve your quality of life
Pride Counseling won’t be the right fit if you:
- are under the age of 18
- have frequent thoughts of suicide or need immediate crisis support
- need a mental health diagnosis for insurance or other purposes
- want to try treating your symptoms with medication
- have symptoms of psychosis
Keep in mind: While Pride Counseling can offer individualized support with relationship concerns, the service doesn’t provide couples counseling.
If any of the above describes your current situation, it’s typically best to consider:
- traditional in-person counseling
- virtual face-to-face therapy or teletherapy
- another online therapy platform
Crisis support resources
If you’re having thoughts of suicide or experiencing another mental health crisis, you can get help right away by connecting with a crisis counselor:
- Text START to 678-678 to reach an affirming, LGBTQIA+ friendly crisis counselor at The Trevor Project. You can also go online to access TrevorChat, or call 866-488-7386.
- Text HOME to 741-741 to reach a trained counselor at Crisis Text Line.
- Connect with the Trans Lifeline Hotline by calling 877-565-8860 (United States) or 877-330-6366 (Canada).
- Reach the LGBT National Help Center by calling 888-843-4565. You can also access a peer support chat online.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
|$60–$90 per week
|messaging, live video, phone, live chat
|$60–$90 per week
|messaging, live video, phone, live chat
|$69–$129 per week
|text, video, and audio messaging, live video, live audio, live chat
What is LGBTQ counseling?
LQBTQIA+ counseling provides inclusive and affirming mental health support to all LGBTQIA+ people. They offer support for the same mental health issues that can affect everyone, but also specialize in LGBTQIA+ matters.
Can Pride Counseling prescribe medication?
No, Pride Counseling does not prescribe medication.
A society still having a hard time pushing off the restrictive blanket of heteronormativity doesn’t always make it easy to be LGBTQIA+. But compassionate support from an understanding therapist can go a long way toward improving emotional well-being, not to mention your outlook.
If you’re in the United States, Pride Counseling can help you connect with a therapist who specializes in working with people who identify as LGBTQIA+. Explore what Pride Counseling has to offer here.
Crystal Raypole writes for Healthline and Psych Central. Her fields of interest include Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health, along with books, books, and more books. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues. She lives in Washington with her son and a lovably recalcitrant cat.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow, or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddleboard.