West Hollywood Therapy

West Hollywood, California, known by locals as WeHo, enjoys dry warm weather year round. Great for walking around the most walkable city in Southern California, according to Walkscore, a website that ranks walkability. Each of its five major residential neighborhoods is only a few blocks long or wide; and each has major intersecting streets that provide amenities within walking distance.

West Hollywood is home to the famous Sunset Strip, brimming with boutiques, restaurants, rock clubs, night, and comedy clubs on the cutting edge of the entertainment industry. Its trademark array of humongous, colorful, and sometimes outrageous billboards dazzle the most blasé passer-by.

Sandwiched between posh Beverly Hills to the west and Hollywood, the movie capital of the world to the east, West Hollywood attracts people from all over the globe who pack their biggest dreams and highest hopes. Whether to find fame and fortune or a new lifestyle and identity, newcomers in West Hollywood can find helpful resources, visiting the West Hollywood Convention and Visitors’ Bureau or going online to www.weho.org.

Despite all the available help and information, transitioning to a new city can be overwhelmingly stressful, especially if hunting for a job, home, and friends all at the same time. For those who are also considering a change in gender, sexual orientation or identity, making the transition can seem virtually impossible.

Considering some form of therapy to help you take on all these challenges and changes would be wise. Trained therapists who treat or even specialize in those specific problems in their psychological or hypnotherapeutic practices are close by. Other therapists in the community focus on commonly related problems, such as depression, relationship conflicts, anxiety, trauma, and childhood abuse.

As a matter of fact, there are few better places to take on radical life changes than in WeHo, where nearly 40 % of the population identify as belonging to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) community.

West Hollywood has enjoyed a long tradition of tolerance and compassion for people outside the so-called “mainstream”. Not surprisingly, the number of medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and hypnotherapists who treat LGBT issues and counsel its community members and their families, has increased dramatically in and around West Hollywood over the last decade.

WeHo is not far from any of six facilities affiliated with the Los Angeles LGBT Center, (the world’s largest provider of social, legal, cultural, educational, and health-related programs and services for the LGBT community). The staff of their Mental Health Services Department specialize in psychotherapy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. If you prefer other forms of therapy, such as hypnotherapy, inner child therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy, to name a few, just ask for referrals to therapists specializing in those modalities.

Recently, five-time Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner has again captured world attention, this time demonstrating great courage and honesty relating the story of his transgender journey. In an effort to help himself and others going through similar life changes, he not only granted an emotional television interview on ”20/20” with Diane Sawyer, but also allowed airing of intimate discussions on this topic with his ex-wife and children on two episodes of their reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. In all of them, honesty, courage, and openness were admirably displayed.

Coming to terms with your sexual orientation, sexual identity, and gender identity can involve facing difficult challenges, depending upon the time, country, culture, community, and family in which you were born and raised. It is part of finding your identity as a person and loving yourself. For some, this is a process of discovery and learning that takes time—perhaps a lifetime. For others, it’s a given from the get-go.

Whether gay or straight, transgender or bisexual, if you were abused as a child (emotionally, physically, or sexually), you may still carry bad feelings and negative emotions that formed. And you may still use the same coping mechanisms that you developed to deal as best you could with the abuse and those feelings and emotions.

But even if you came from a loving home, with a loving family, and a childhood free of abuse, you still may have suffered emotional wounds that have not healed and developed inadequate coping mechanisms.

As an adult, those coping mechanisms do not serve your good (if ever they really did) and need to be replaced with positive, constructive ways of thinking and acting in order to achieve the success and happiness that you deserve. Otherwise, your failure to handle adult responsibilities appropriately and to achieve self-actualizing goals and dreams will frustrate you and reinforce the self-defeating attitudes, negative emotions, and counter-productive behavior that hold you back. You may feel hopelessly stuck with a poor body image, low self-esteem, and lack of self-respect. You may suffer from social anxiety, obsessive worry, and self-sabotage.

Coping mechanisms are simply familiar response patterns that develop through repetition with a conscious or subconscious purpose protecting oneself from harm or at least minimizing it.

Consider the case of a child whose alcoholic parent who often comes home drunk and threatens the child with another beating if they don’t clean up the kitchen or make them dinner. If complying avoids (or minimizes) the beating, the child adopts care-taking of others as a coping mechanism and often doesn’t develop healthy self-care habits.

Another case is that of a child with a jealous parent who actually resents the child’s superior intelligence, beauty, athletic prowess, or other outstanding quality. (This parent may have been neglected by their parents, and not given credit or appreciation for positive aspects of themselves.) Rather than praise the child for their A- on a difficult exam, or coming in second for the 50 yard dash, the parent may find fault with the child or belittle them for not getting an A or not coming in first. The child may learn to keep quiet about their accomplishments, or abstain from trying to succeed, fearing that they are never good enough. Carrying this behavior into adulthood certainly undermines opportunities for success and reward.

Since the mind embraces the familiar and resists the unfamiliar, breaking these patterns can be difficult to do without accessing the subconscious mind, where positive change begins.

Hypnotherapy is a form of psychological counseling that identifies the negative attitudes and bad habits that undermine your well-being, and then uses hypnosis to access your subconscious mind and nurture it with positive thoughts, images, suggestions, commands, and techniques that support positive attitudes, and constructive actions that enhance your life. As these behaviors take hold, you experience healthier self-esteem, self-confidence, greater peace and calm. You feel more motivated and energized to accomplish your goals. You stop procrastinating and move forward.

My name is Ellen R. Coleman. I am a former university professor in private practice for 15 years as a clinical hypnotherapist near West Hollywood, specializing in self-empowerment and positive change. (For more information on hypnosis, hypnotherapy and my practice, go to www.mindworkshypnotherapy.com).

Over the years, I have helped clients from within and outside the LGBT community to overcome obstacles to their success and well-being, either by working with them directly or referring another therapist who I feel is better suited.

If you need help dealing with your LGBT issues and feel you would be best served by a therapist who knows these challenges first-hand, let me recommend to you another graduate from Hypnosis Motivation Institute, Associate Instructor and award winning certified clinical hypnotherapist Melissa Gilleece. For more information, go to:https://hypnosis.edu/hypnotherapists/melissa-gilleece/.

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