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Image by Rebecca Peterson-Hall

If the world is night, shine my life like a light

- The Indigo Girls

LGBTQIA+ Affirming
LGBTQIA+ Affirming

What is the difference between affirming and accepting?  It’s the difference between your aunt saying “Well, I love you no matter what.” and her saying “How wonderful!  Do you have a partner?  Bring them over, I’d love to meet them!  I’m making lasagna on Tuesday.”  It’s a totally different experience, right?  You aren’t loved despite who you are, you are loved because of who you are (plus, who doesn’t love a good lasagna?!). At Brave Passages Affirming Therapy, you will work with a therapist who is affirming rather than just accepting, and who has lived experience as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.  You will find a space where you can bring the heartache, the struggles, and the joys of your experience as a queer person.  Most importantly, you will be able to bring your whole self without worrying about judgment or rejection. Come on in and feel free to bring your partner.  I’ll make lasagna (metaphorically).

Neurodiersiy Affirming
Neurodiversity Affirming

There is a freedom that comes when you understand why you only have two modes: completely-shut-down-laying-on-the-couch-staring-into-the-void and getting-the-entire-to-do-list-done-plus-organizing-the-pantry-and-closets.  Knowing the how and why of your mental functioning can create more ease in your relationship with yourself, less stress and pressure in those times when you feel out of alignment with the world around you, and an understanding of how to move forward in a world not built for neurodiverse people.


Being neurodiverse can be a lot like wearing a pair of shoes that don’t fit well.  Most of it is fine, but there are these spots that rub uncomfortably, leave you with blisters, and drive you up the wall.  There isn’t anything inherently wrong with either the foot or the shoe, but there is a friction there until you make changes by putting on a band-aid or some kind of barrier.


Whether you are an adult or a kid who is learning to manage the frustrations of living in a world built for neurotypical people, the work is much the same.  Learn how your particular kind of neurodiversity shows up in your life.  Learn how to honor and respect the ways your mind works.  Learn how to interact with people who are neurotypical in a way that is both authentic to who you are, and which also functions well in a world built for neurotypical people.  Most of all, learn to love the wonderfully unique human being you are, and understand the gifts you bring to those in your life! 

Chronic Illness and Disability
Chronic Illness and Disabilty

Living with chronic illness and disability can be exhausting.  It involves regular battles with health insurance companies, figuring out whether dishes or laundry are more crucial when you don’t have enough energy to do both, and chronic fatigue that no amount of coffee can fix.  There isn’t an area of life that chronic illness and disability don’t touch, from how we sit at a desk at work to how we approach intimacy with a partner.  Plus, it means existing in a world that assumes that every illness can be cured by a quick visit to the pharmacist, or through strategic application of turmeric.  People tend to assume that chronic illness and disability only happen to the elderly, or the extremely unfortunate.  In the US, though, 60% of Americans have a chronic illness, and 27% have a disability!  Many of those people are young adults, teenagers, or children who are tired of hearing “but you are too young to be disabled!” 


Between the faulty assumptions and myths surrounding chronic illness and disability, and the challenges this community experiences daily, it’s no wonder that they are 5 times more likely to need mental health support than able-bodied peers.  Sometimes that experience is the focus of therapy, but there are plenty of people who have other issues they are addressing in session and just want to work with a therapist who understands this part of their identity.  Either way, at Brave Passages Affirming Therapy you will find a therapist who you can talk to about the most recent time your doctor shrugged and said “Well, nothing turned up on the lab work…” and who will prioritize accessibility while you are focusing on the therapy you have been needing.

Sex Positive Therapy
Sex Postive Therapy

Let’s talk about sex.  That made a good song in the 90’s, but let’s face it: talking about sex can be awkward.  When you have a sex life that is anything but vanilla, it can be even more uncomfortable.  If you are a part of the kink community or have had an ethically non-monogamous relationship, chances are that you have been asked inappropriate questions like if you all share a bed, and how the sex part works (would they ask that of anyone in a monogamous relationship? Probably not).  You may even have had someone pathologize your kink and assume that it was something to be fixed.  Sex positive therapy involves seeing a wide range of sexual desires and practices as inherently healthy and normal.  We are wired for connection, and pleasure is an important component.  Here at Brave Passages Affirming Therapy, you will work with a therapist who understands diverse relationship structures and is kink-friendly.  This part of your life may be the center of the work, or just an incidental part of who you are.  Either way, you can feel confident in talking about sex (just like Salt-N-Pepa assured us in the 90’s) and know that shame and invalidation won’t have any place in the conversation.

Parenting a Chronically Ill or Disabled Child
Parenting Ill/Disabled

When someone imagines becoming a parent, they don’t picture infusion centers, hospital stays, occupational therapy, or mobility devices.  However, that is the world you can be thrown into with a diagnosis that knocks the wind out of you.  As a parent, you want to protect your child from any harm, and it is devastating to not be able to protect them from the pain and difficulties that can come with being chronically ill or disabled.  You can experience a full range of emotions at this time. You might feel angry that the medical team can’t offer more effective treatment or a cure, grief for the life you had assumed your child and family would have, or guilty because you were not able to protect your child from this illness, even if you logically know this isn’t possible.  There are parts of this experience that bring you to your knees or send you over the moon (like when you get that e-mail with good test results or hear words like ‘remission’.)  In between it can be a whole lot of ordinariness, like knowing who to call at the doctor’s office to get an appointment next week with a specialist who is booked out for months or organizing medication like a boss. 


There is a loneliness that can come with being a member of this club nobody asked to join, because there are so many other parents who don’t understand the highs, lows, joys, and particular brand of exhaustion that comes with having a chronically ill child.  Self-care is usually the last thing on your radar with a to-do list that stretches from here to Zimbabwe, IEP meetings to prep for, and making sure your child is taking their inhaler effectively (How long did you ACTUALLY hold your breath? Are you sure?)  Parents of chronically ill or disabled children experience twice the normal rate of depression and anxiety, though, and it’s important for you to take the time and space to explore what you are needing as well.  I think of it as a math equation (Wait!  Don’t leave!  I promise I won’t actually make you DO the math) and you get to be a part of it.  When a child in the family has an illness or disability, sometimes they need to take a different role in the equation than an able-bodied child would.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for you as well.  Here at Brave Passages Affirming Therapy, we are here to help you navigate the complicated, but often beautiful, waters of being a parent of a chronically ill or disabled child.

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