For all of the information about the group, click over here.
Announcing a new therapy group (yes, it's different from a support group) especially for polyamorous people. To my knowledge, this does not yet exist anywhere and it certainly is a new offering in the Atlanta area.
For all of the information about the group, click over here.
I'm excited to share that my colleague at Wellspring Counseling Center, Wyatt George is starting a new support group on Tuesdays, especially for transmasculine adults. He's modeling the group after our existing and highly successful North Fulton Transgender Youth Support Group (and adult group). Just in case this group would be helpful for you or someone you love, here's the details you'll need to attend:
This group will be devoted to providing a safe space for transmasculine people to share personal experiences and support among their peers. Open to all individuals, regardless of specific gender identity, though there will be a focus on the experiences of transmasculine individuals.
Every two weeks on Tuesdays starting October 10th (6:30-8pm)
Wellspring Counseling Center
700 Old Roswell Lakes Pkwy, Suite 300
Roswell, GA 30076
No need to RSVP or consult with a facilitator before the event, but if you have questions and would like to speak with Wyatt beforehand, contact him at WyattGeorgeCounseling@Gmail.com
As a LGBTQAI2S person who struggled through my adolescence, I know personally the pain of seeking understanding, belonging, acceptance from my family, peers, and most importantly myself. Hearing horror stories of the supposed mental health treatment that so many LGBTQAI2S youth endure, I vowed to myself to be a safe place where youth can feel free to explore, express, and assert themselves for at least the time they spend in my office.
The pain of confusion, rejection, and shame LGBTQAI2S youth face as they're determining who they are and who they will be is life-threatening for many. It can be totally unbearable, leading youth to at least seriously considering suicide, and many attempting (or worse, succeeding) suicide. I found this infographic that helps explain why it's so important for mental health providers and family members to contribute to the empowerment and acceptance of LGBTQAI2S people, including youth.
(Click Read More to see the full image)
Yesterday will likely go down in history books because America elected Donald Trump as our next President. Normally I don't think it's appropriate to talk politics with my clients, or even potential clients (that's you dear reader). Today it's not about politics. It's about hate. And fear. And Love.
I woke up this morning to my friends, family, colleagues, and communities fearful for their lives, hearts, and souls. I felt a sense of dread in the pit of my heart that I haven't felt ever before. I imagine this is exactly what many people of color, Muslim, and openly transgender/queer people feel daily as they walk in the world, in communities that hate them with such violent passion. I look around me in a traditionally conservative part of town and wonder how many of my neighbors voted for a man who not only condones but brags about perpetuating sexual assault.
Meeting with my colleagues at Wellspring Counseling Center this morning, I'm reminded that we have kind, loving, and supportive communities who will shelter and protect our hearts and souls. As we wait in worry to see how this election will affect the future of America, I vow to hold space for the traumatized, the fearful, the desperate, the hurting. I will do my part to heal hearts and provide rest for weary souls who fight daily for everyone's right to live and love authentically and in power.
If you are reeling from the results of this election, please take good care of yourself. Reach out to your support network, seek the support and kindness available to you. Practice gratitude for all the love, peace, and beauty in your world for we attract more of what we are grateful for. We are inviting all of our clients at Wellspring to leave an anonymous note of love for all the hearts who pass through our office. If you need to feel unconditional love and acceptance, come visit us.
Last month (October 6th) I was invited to guest host on my friend and colleague Courtney Geter's podcast, Let's Talk Sex. In this episode she interviews researcher, educator, and coach Dr. Eli Sheff about polyamory and her work with polyamorous adults and families. It was a lot of fun and I'm honored to be included. I believe I represented the Atlanta Poly community well.
Please give it a listen and share with anyone in your life who is curious about polyamorous relationships.
Here's the episode description: Courtney talks with expert witness, researcher, author, and relationship coach, Dr. Eli Sheff about the polyamory lifestyle including managing dating and families. Also joining, is guest host Anna Baxter, LAPC and President of Atlanta Poly Meetup. Tune in to this live audience show to learn about poly AND hear questions and answers from our audience! To find out more about Dr. Sheff visit elisabethsheff.com, and to find out more about Anna and Atlanta Poly Meetup, visit www.meetup.com/Atlanta-Polyamory
Sex and relationship therapist Courtney Geter, LMFT and host of the Let's Talk Sex podcast has invited Dr. Eli Sheff* to discuss polyamory and dating. I will be a special co-host as well! Courtney wants YOU to join us for this audio podcast to learn more and ask questions! If you can't make the live recording October 6th at 6:30pm (Facebook event), then be sure to watch iTunes for the episode. I will of course share the recording here when it's up!
*Dr. Sheff is the foremost academic expert on polyamory in the US, and the worldwide expert on polyamorous families with children. Dr. Sheff specializes in gender and sexual minority families, kink/BDSM, and issues facing trans* people.
During my portion of the discussion, I will sharing tips and tools to help polyamorous people be successful when dating. One of those tools is a Guidebook, an idea I've adapted from CunningMinx of the Polyamory Weekly podcast. I've included below a PDF guide to creating your own Guidebook.
I have a couple busy months ahead of me and I'd like to share the awesome events I'll be attending (and hosting) in the remainder of 2016.
September 24, 2016: Alternative Relationship Education Workshop Event
I will be joining a team of local mental health professionals and the Relationship Equality Foundation to present a special CEU workshop designed to educate therapists, counselors, and others who seek to learn about sexual, gender and relational diversity – specifically alternative relationship structures.
Despite efforts to maintain nonjudgmental attitudes, most mental health professionals know so little about this area that their responses to clients who “come out” to them can range from offputting surprise to a disapproval that has anecdotally even done damage to clients, and created barriers to future treatment. We hope to prevent these experiences by educating mental health professionals in the areas of sexual, gender and relational diversity – specifically alternative relationship structures, considerations of relational attraction, sexual identity, and gender expression. Presenters have been selected from local professionals with experience in treating these populations, many with involvement and national exposure in the development of mental health standards in this area.
This workshop will provide six CEUs just in time for license renewal deadline. There will be a lunch break in the middle of the day, and a box lunch available for purchase during registration.
Please join us September 24th and share with any friends or colleagues who may be interested! For more information and to register, please visit arewe.relationshipequalityfoundation.org
October 13-15, 2016: Sex Down South
This year I will be attending Sex Down South for the first time! Last year was their first year and I heard lots of rave reviews so I'm looking forward to attending this year. I did not submit any class proposals because I want to enjoy learning and connecting with other educator and advocates of sex-positivity and inclusion.
From the Sex Down South website:
"Sex Down South was born out of a desire to create a safe space in the Southeast where folks could explore sex and sexuality. Our focus is intentionally broad, catering to a diverse range of people: from those who are curious but not quite committed, to those who have been around the block…and then some! Our mission is to create a sex-positive space for people of all walks of life to come together, explore, connect, and share knowledge and skills. It’s your exploration destination for all things sex and erotic."
"Our goal is to foster learning, inspiration, and wonder – and provoke conversations that matter. From sex education and sexual health, to healthy communication and relationship skills; from alternative lifestyles such as kink and polyamory, to sex and spirituality and navigating sexual trauma."
November 3-6, 2016: THEA's PeachState Conference
Last year's inaugural PeachState conference was my first experience presenting at a community event and I'm glad to be back! I will be presenting a couple classes on transgender experience (specifics topics currently unknown).
THEA's PeachState conference is a health and education conference for Transgender, Gender Diverse, and Gender Non-Conforming adults.
November 11, 2016: Ethical Social Media Marketing for Therapists
The LGBTQ Therapist Resource network and Foundations Atlanta are co-hosting a 3-hour CEU event and they have invited me to present the basics and best practices of Ethical Social Media Marketing for therapists. In case you didn't know, before I went full-time as a counselor with Wellspring Counseling Center, I was a social media marketing manager for leading sex and relationship therapists. This presentation will cover social media and internet marketing how-tos from the most basic level, as well as the ethical implications and guidelines of having an online presence as a clinician.
Members of the LGBTQ Therapist Resource Network save $15 on registration for this class.
Register for this event on eventbrite.com
You can't change what's going on around you until you start changing what is going on within you.
People seek counseling or therapy because they're wanting to change something in their life, or themselves. My job as a counselor is to support them and sometimes guide them through that change because it can be uncomfortable, even terrifying. I do that through applying psychology, especially empirically supported techniques that have shown to increase desirable outcomes.
I recently listened to an NPR TED Radio Hour podcast on the topic of change called Nudge about how small efforts can encourage or cause a large degree of change in a person's perspective and behaviors. The first segment of the podcast introduces the concept of Mindfulness and how new-comers often struggle with this new approach. Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist, encourages patients struggling with addiction to embrace curiosity and awareness rather than abstinence. He describes how his patients drop into their sensations and become disenchanted with their addictions. As a result they are much less likely to relapse. Brewer's full TED Talk is worth a watch.
I believe mindfulness, aka curiosity, is a critical aspect in the process of change because it encourages us to step out of our fear, anger, and learned behavior patterns. Instead we let go and make choices of how to respond, react, and interact with others based on our values rather than our irrational emotions.
In the second segment of the Nudge podcast, Carol Dweck, psychologist and author of Mindset, focuses on how language can drastically change how children and adults feel and behave. In her TED Talk she introduces the concept of Growth mindset vs. Fixed mindset. People with a growth mindset understand viscerally that their abilities can be developed, they are progressing and improving. People with a fixed mindset understand that their talents and abilities are fixed, never capable of improving. Carol says, "Everything sends a message. Just a few different words, sometimes just one word, conveys a whole different world of meaning." Your mindset is one way of how you see yourself. Carol asks us to consider, "Am I the fixed creature that has to look good all the time and validate myself or am I this dynamic, growing person who has this infinite undetermined future that I can work toward? Does this struggle mean I'm dumb or does it mean I'm growing my brain, I'm making those neural connections stronger and getting smarter. They're two different worlds and we get to choose which we get to inhabit."
I really appreciate that Carol emphasizes that our mindset is a choice we make. I believe that we have an infinite number of choices available to us each day and how we frame each of those choices substantially impacts how much we struggle or thrive.
If you're wanting to change something in your life or within you, start with listening to the podcast episode below. When you're ready to begin, schedule an appointment.
For all the transgender and gender non-conforming youth and their families...
I will be participating and presenting at the Transgender Heath and Education Alliance's Family Symposium in May. Registration is only $30 for adults, $5 for children - a real steal for a day and a half of activities and education for trans youth and their families. I'm honored to be invited to connect with this population and discuss my passions: non-binary genders and sexuality. Here's what I'll be doing:
Non-Binary: Fact or Fallacy?
Increasingly more people, especially youth, are coming out and identifying as non-binary genders. I will discuss what the difference between binary and non-binary is and whether it's real or fiction. Most importantly, I will show parents, loved ones, friends, and peers how you can help non-binary people feel more accepted and safe in a binary world.
Gender Identity and Sexuality
I will provide an in-depth presentation of the development of sexuality, it's relation to gender identity, and advice for transgender people desiring a healthy, vibrant sex life of any sexual orientation.
Trans Couples Panel
I will moderate while a diverse group of couples discuss how their experience being transgender (or loving someone who is transgender) has impacted their relationships and their lives. If you're interested in being on the panel - contact me!
Beyond The Love Glove: Safer Sex Practices for All Genders
Safer sex goes way beyond pregnancy and condoms. Learn all the in’s, out’s and why’s of safer sex for all genders and orientations.
Please put this event on your calendar and Register Now!
I’m really excited to share with you that I will be joining a team of local mental health professionals to present a special CEU workshop for Counselors, Psychologists, and Social Workers interested in learning how to better support clients in alternative relationship styles.
Despite efforts to maintain non-judgmental attitudes, most mental health professionals know so little about this area that their responses to clients who “come out” to them can range from off-putting surprise to a disapproval that has anecdotally even done damage to clients, and created barriers to future treatment. We hope to prevent these experiences by educating mental health professionals in the areas of sexual, gender and relational diversity – specifically alternative relationship structures, considerations of relational attraction, sexual identity, and gender expression. Presenters have been selected from local professionals with experience in treating these populations, many with involvement and national exposure in the development of mental health standards in this area.
This workshop will have six classes and provide six CEUs to those who attend both the morning and the afternoon sessions. The morning session focuses on information, and will provide 3 CEUs. The afternoon session will cover the practical application of ethical practice with clients in alternative relationships and provides two Ethics CEUs and one general CEU. There will be a lunch break in the middle of the day with a catered lunch for all registered FULL DAY participants.
Please join us March 12th and share with any friends or colleagues who may be interested! For more information and to register, please visit https://relationshipequalityfoundation.org/workshop-registration/
Bonus: Atlanta Poly Inc is sponsoring this event by providing volunteers! If you're interested in attending this workshop for free (without CE credits), please contact me!
A counselor passionate about love, communication, and happiness for all. I feel called to help people find internal and external peace by living and loving more authentically.