OK; I suppose I should say something about the recent deaths of three American iconic figures: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. From a mental health point of view, or even a “life management” point of view, obviously Michael Jackson stands out, and a therapist could write for eons about those issues for analysis. … Read more
In my private practice as a psychotherapist, I work frequently with gay couples seeking conjoint therapy to address a variety of challenges in their relationships. In my practice in therapy for gay men since 1992, I have come to notice certain consistent patterns in what drives conflict between either long-term couples, or couples who recently … Read more
As a psychotherapist in private practice focusing on gay men, I love the diversity I see in my work. No two clients are alike, except for one issue that I see frequently – which is social anxiety. Many guys come to me and want help to overcome shyness. One of the biggest misconceptions that I’ve … Read more
The Mental Health Aspects of Crystal Meth Recovery
In my long career working as a gay men’s specialist psychotherapist, coach, and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, as the founder of GayTherapyLA, perhaps no issue is hotter in the gay community these days than that of Crystal Meth. It seems everyone is either doing it themselves, or knows someone who uses regularly, and almost everyone knows someone who “has a problem” with it – from problem use that affects their job or relationships, to full-on addiction that has the same effect as a major medical illness. In my work as a psychotherapist, nearly one-third of my practice consists of gay men who are trying to get off, and stay off, using crystal. While various drug treatment centers exist, and while AA and CMA are vital resources in the community, the mental health aspects of crystal use deserve more attention and discussion in the community.
It’s July Fourth – Independence Day for Gay Men: What Do You Want Independence From?
As we celebrate the summer and the Fourth of July — Independence Day — let’s consider the meaning of that word, “independence.” Historically, this means celebrating America’s freedom from the tyrannical rule of a cruel and imbecilic king who over-taxed his hardest-working citizens to enrich the elite and fund wars that aggrandized his ego. (OK, so I guess not much has changed in over 200 years!) For gay men, the word “independence” can mean so much more. For many or most of us, we grow up hiding our sexuality for a long time, and we are imprisoned by isolation, secrecy, and lack of validation for who we are.
Independence Day for gay men, coming usually soon after the annual Pride celebrations in June, as a community, is a celebration and commemoration of the Stonewall Uprising in New York in 1969, when, as a community, we declared our independence from systemic oppression (by the anti-gay New York City Police Department in particular, but also oppression in general). For each of us as individuals, the coming out process is like declaring our independence from widespread heterosexism (“the assumption that everyone is, or should be, heterosexual”).
We declare our independence from the sexism that imprisons us into strict demands for gender-conforming behaviors, whether we like those things or not, and we certainly declare independence from the outright hate and bigotry that we hear about almost constantly in the news, particularly from conservative religious sectors and/or Republicans. We also declare independence from people telling us we “can’t” — can’t be a part of certain groups, can’t hold certain jobs, can’t adopt children, can’t celebrate our sexuality, can’t have benefits, can’t have protections from discrimination, can’t have our Pride month recognized by the government, and so on. The entire LGBT community fights for independence from oppression in many ways, not just on July Fourth, but every day, in the United States and worldwide.
Part of my initial assessment as a psychotherapist for gay men examines their current financial security, goals, fears, risks, and rewards. Our finances contribute to how we perceive our external environment, and they affect mood, feelings, behavior, and relationships. Since starting in practice as a gay men’s specialist therapist in 1992, I have observed certain “true-isms” about guys who have it together financially – regardless of their income bracket. What is the connection between good financial habits and coping with depression and anxiety? Here are some time-honored tips:
Ken Howard, LCSW, CST is a licensed psychotherapist in California (Licensed Clinical Social Worker #LCS18290), AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, and life/career/executive/relationship coach who has specialized in gay men (individuals and gay male couples) and LGBT+ affirmative therapy for over 30 years.