Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if Rampion is the right counselling practice for me?
All of our therapists work with everyone, regardless of your identity or background. While we specialise in LGBTQ+ issues, every person has a gender, gender expression, sexuality, and relationship preference that they can explore in therapy, as well as the universal experiences shared by all of us like confusion, loss, despair or isolation. The kind of help you need changes depending on whether you are in a crisis, facing a period of transition, or want to work on some feelings, thoughts or behaviours that are holding you back. Our therapists can help you to explore the feelings or situation you are in, and to find ways to manage them, giving you more control and a greater sense of meaning in your life.
Do I need therapy or do I just need to get over it?
Every individual is different, and there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ reason to come to therapy. It can be common for someone to think that their problem isn’t serious enough, or that others might be in more need of therapy. From personal experience, we have all seen and felt the benefits of having therapy and believe it can be helpful to anyone, whether they have a difficulty or diagnosis, or whether they are looking for more direction in life. Even if you have a good support network, it can still be helpful to talk to an unbiased person in complete confidence. Sometimes friends or family are enmeshed in the problem, and though they might want to help, they can’t offer the impartiality or skills of a counsellor.
What does LGBTQ+ mean?
The acronym LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning. Transgender means that your gender identity is different from the gender you were assigned at birth. At present the correct term is Trans/Transgender, and not Transsexual. The term Trans is an adjective, so you would not say someone is “a transgender”. Queer is an umbrella term used by many who do not identify as heterosexual and do not necessarily want to adopt any particular label. While Queer has historically been used as a term of abuse, language changes all the time, and it has recently been ‘reclaimed’ by many. The + is used to include other identities such as Asexual, Agender, Pansexual and Genderqueer, to name a few.
What does ‘affirmative’ therapy mean?
Affirmative therapy means that we work in a way that ‘affirms’ your identity. While we understand that a person’s gender or sexual identity is just one part of who they are, we think that it is really important that our clients know that their identity will not be challenged or questioned. Affirmative therapy is incredibly important in light of conversion therapy practices, which are harmful as they can make clients believe that their identity is inherently wrong and can be forced to change. We understand that sexuality and gender identity can be fluid, so we accept you as you are, however you identify.
What does the term Cis(gender) mean?
If the gender you were assigned at birth (boy or girl) corresponds with your own personal sense of who you are, then you can use the term cis woman or cis man.
Do you work with people who do sex work?
Of course. We work affirmatively with people who do sex work and won’t pathologise someone because of their job. Importantly, we recognise that the reason for seeking therapy might have nothing to do with your work, however we can also help you to explore the meaning of sex work from your perspective and experiences.
I am thinking of transitioning / currently transitioning. Is this something you can help me with?
Yes! All of our therapists have experience in working with trans and non-binary clients, or people exploring or struggling with their gender identity. We understand that everyone’s experience is different, but that this experience can bring up a lot of emotional issues. While this is of course not true for everyone, we can offer you a supportive and non-judgmental environment so that you do not have to face these issues alone.
Someone close to me has told me they are LGBTQ+. Is this something you can help me with?
Definitely. We understand that this might be hard for some to understand, and we work with people who might be struggling with the LGBTQ+ identity of those close to them, such as parents of children who are coming out, or partners of people who are transitioning. This might include exploring how to support them, or the impact of their changing identity on your relationship or your own identity.
I’m a cis man/woman, but I’m struggling with my masculinity/femininity and feel pressure as a man/woman to be a certain way. Can I still come to therapy with you?
Yes! Regardless of our gender or sexuality, we live in a society which often dictates how the “ideal” or “desirable” man/woman should look or behave, and which ascribes gender roles which might not feel right for you. This is something you can explore with a Rampion therapist so that you can find a way to live and express yourself within society and your relationships in a way which feels authentic for you.
I’m straight but I sometimes have sex with people of the same sex and want to explore what this means. Can I come to Rampion, even though I’m not LGBTQ+?
Yes, we welcome everyone regardless of how you describe yourself. For many people, labels are empowering. But labels (like “straight”) can be restrictive, and some people can feel confused about themselves because a label doesn’t fit their behaviour or how they experience themselves. This is part of your identity that we can affirm and explore in therapy.
How do I know what pronouns (she/him) or terms to use?
Quite simply, ask! Many non-binary or gender expansive people use singular ‘they/them’ pronouns, their first name, or are still happy to use gendered pronouns. Some people might identify as gay and not queer, and vice versa. While it might take a bit of getting used to, it is important that we try to respect other’s wishes for pronouns and chosen names. It’s OK to make mistakes, but it’s important that you remain respectful. Mis-gendering someone (intentionally or unintentionally using the wrong pronoun) or using their old name (or ‘dead name’) can be very hurtful, even traumatic, and in response they may feel that they are not accepted.
My partner has started transitioning or changing identity, can I talk to you about this?
Absolutely. Navigating these changes can be challenging and we recognise that when someone in a relationship changes this can have a profound impact on the other person and can put strain on the relationship. Exploring it with someone impartial at Rampion could be really helpful, and could give you some clarity on what you might be feeling and the best way forward for you.
Do you offer therapy for LGBTQ+ children or adolescents?
Joanna works with young people aged 16 and over.