Hi Tagg-ers! (Is that a thing? I really hope that’s a thing…)
My name is Erica Pearson!
Let’s start with some self-disclosure by yours truly, because if you’re going to share with me, I gotta share with you- right? Right. I was born in a small town in Pennsylvania with little diversity. I went to college, and then onto graduate school, all in Pennsylvania. Throughout my journey through the painful world of adulthood and bills—I have learned that DIVERSITY IS REALLY COOL. I am a nosy person (one of the many reasons I became a therapist) and I love to know things about people. What people like, what they don’t like, why they are the way that they are, etc. Personally, I like to call myself an advocate for puppies, people, and carbs. I love to shop, eat, play with my dog Wally Grace, and be a therapy nerd (it’s a thing) in my free time.
So, what does a cis-gendered, hetero chick from PA have to say to an LGBTQ magazine? Well, a few months ago, I was searching for an outlet. Everywhere I go and am forced to do the ever-so-awkward meet and greet, once people hear my professional title it’s; “OMG WE NEED YOU!” or the always popular, “can I please talk to you about my (insert various partner problems here)”. Well of course I care, I did chose to go vastly in debt to be in this profession- but it’s not always my first choice to do a couples session at a wedding reception over hors d’oeuvres, ya know?
So basically, that’s why I am here! To take all relationship, dating, casual hookup questions, you name it! I’ll try and Google an answer to it (JK, maybe)!
Throughout grad school, I learned a few things (a few hundred thousand things but who’s really counting) about couples therapy and how important it is to recognize the universal similarities that ALL couples have, as well as their unique differences. We cannot assume all LGBTQ couples are the same, just like we can’t assume that your one-size-fit-all bathing suit is going to fit my five foot ten self. It just doesn’t work.
So Erica, how does one work with LGBTQ couples? Is it different than working with hetero couples? It’s my favorite question, and I get it often, but the answer is pretty straightforward: yes and no. Like I said earlier, I believe that there are things in a relationship that all couples, regardless of their partners, desire—like open communication, honesty, trust, sexual compatibility, respect, and to feel safe with another human being. All that fun stuff.
But there are some unique aspects to all couples that don’t fit that really annoying mold that society has for us, that hetero-normative shit. If your relationship at all varies from a man + woman, woman + man or you date outside of your race or culture, couples therapy must look at the challenges in your relationship. Some challenges the LGBTQ couples I have worked with faced sexual concerns, coming out to friends and family, legal concerns, social media stressors, starting a family, society’s blatant ignorance, and pretty much everything regarding safety of the community with the changing legislature.
What are your concerns in your relationship or situation-ship?
Write me in folks, it’s that simple.
Also- here’s a photo of me being self-indulgent.
Erica Pearson is a Marriage and Family Therapist in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania