Gender, Sexual and Relationship Diversity

Gender sexual and relationship diversity (GSRD) may be a phrase that is unfamiliar to some of you reading this. It has been suggested as a more inclusive, and broader replacement for LGBTQ+. It includes within it kink, non monogamies, sex workers, as well as those who feel excluded by how they are generally treated within discussions of LGBTQ+ issues.

If you belong to the GSRD communities you may be looking for a therapist with training in a variety of specific issues. I have attended workshops organised by Pink Therapy on a number of topics, including, working with trans clients, BDSM, asexuality, non monogamies, and non binary clients. I have written extensively on the need for counselling to be more inclusive to GSRD people. I have presented at PolyDay and in 2018 I consulted on, and delivered workshops at the Pink Therapy Sex Works! conference. I also presented to the British Psychological Society conference on how to work affirmatively with Trans People.

I also delivered the LGBTQ+ training to my cohort whilst still studying for my Professional Diploma in Counselling and continue to work to improve the training and support provided to student counsellors.

I am currently studying for the only post graduate certificate in GRSD counselling in the UK, a comprehensive and advanced qualification which looks at issues as diverse as shame, sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts (commonly known as conversion therapy) kink, coming out, and a whole host of other topics usually not touched upon by undergraduate counselling training.

However at the same time I am all too well aware that mainstream counselling has often focused on someones gender and/or sexuality, when it is irrelevant to the issue being brought to therapy. What is known by some as the “trans broken arm”. Gay people are bereaved, queer people suffer from job related stress, asexual people worry about their PHD, kinksters suffer from a sense of loss when their children leave home. Traditionally many therapists have focused solely on one aspect of someones life, regardless of whether the client wishes this to be the focus or not. As an integrative therapist (one who believes in using a variety of tools, led by the client) I believe that gender and or sexuality/sexual behaviour is as important to the therapy process as you wish it to be. Some people will arrive at this page looking to talk about GSRD specific issues, others will simply want a therapist who they feel understands “where they are coming from”.

A word about pronouns, my pronouns are she/her/they/them I am completely fine with any of these, I keep all notes using they/them, largely for anonymity. If you would feel this degendered or misgendered you, I would of course change this for your notes.

Straight and ended up here? Hi!

Does this mean I do not see heterosexual monogamous cis clients? Of course not, and I particularly dislike terms like “vanilla” which somehow seem to suggest that certain ways of being are dull or boring. In fact one of the strengths of GSRD, in my view, is that it moves beyond false binaries. Maybe one day it will embrace us all.

If you are interested in finding out more about counselling or have any questions you can email me on northumberlandcounselling@gmail.com