top of page

by Nia Patterson

Apr 4, 2024

How to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Therapist’s Office

Are you the, “Yell your identity at everyone within a 5-mile radius” kind of Queer person? Or the “Gets shy talking about your identity with anyone outside your cat, Barry” kind of Queer person?

Regardless, today’s the day you do the hard thing – you come out to your therapist. I get it, this might be hard if you haven’t already, but I’ll tell you why you should.

Queer identity is like a rainbow. The more you dig into it, the more layers you peel back, the gayer, Queerer, more irresistibly hot you get. Don’t lie, you know I’m right. And your therapist should be one of the few people who is ultimately on your side against every battle, every naysayer, every roadblock. And they can only do that when they know who they’re defending – who they’re standing up for.

I would argue that telling your therapist about your Queer identity and continuing to be open and honest about it throughout your relationship will only serve to strengthen your therapeutic relationship, allowing you both to do deeper, more profound work.

How to Come Out to Your Therapist: No More Secrets, No More Surprises

Let’s first hammer into why you should talk to your therapist about who you really are (the inside onion layers). In the quest to authenticity and living our lives as our true selves it feels like being open about who we are to the person we’re paying to accept us no matter what is a low bar. As in, your therapist’s job is to sit there and show up for you because well, you pay them to.

Yes, they care about us as humans (at least mine better!) but at the end of the day, if we don’t pay them or insurance doesn’t pay them or someone doesn’t pay them, then we don’t have access to that service. Take advantage of it. Be you.

And by being you, your therapist will know better how to support you. If you’re struggling to date women as a straight, cishet man, your therapist is going to approach that very differently than if you are struggling to date women and femmes as a trans/nonbinary person. Give them the knowledge and tools to let them help you, support you, guide you, and cheer for you – THE REAL YOU.

And doing all of this upfront helps us avoid having to awkwardly do it down the road. If you haven’t come out to your therapist yet but you’re planning to come out to your parents this weekend it would probably help your therapist support you in that journey if they knew that you were Queer first. Imagine trying to help someone put together a puzzle but you can’t see the picture on the box AND you can’t see the puzzle pieces. Yea. That’s rough stuff.

Making sure that you and your therapist have all the tools to support you best and show up for you best means that you will benefit time after time in therapy more so than when you’re half hidden away.

How to Come Out to Your Therapist: Practice Makes Perfect

Let’s be real. If you’re thinking about coming out to your therapist, chances are you’ve come out before. And chances are even higher that you will come out again someday. Can we treat this coming out to your therapist like a practice round of “open the closet door and step out”? Because if you can treat it that way then chances are you’ll benefit twofold. Your therapist will get to know you, and you will learn how to come out to yet another human in a supportive, safe environment.

Your therapist’s office should be one of the safest spaces you have. And so the ability to take the time to practice there in your therapists office should [hopefully] feel more comfortable than scary. More supportive than not. And more authentic than ick.

The repetition of coming out to increasingly more and more safe people in different places and different situations builds confidence time and time again as well. And I do not mean just regarding coming out (although, that too!) but in being more authentically you. Practicing showing all parts of you gives you more confidence to do that elsewhere in the world, too. We love a confident baddie, and wow, there you are!

How to Come Out to Your Therapist: Build From A Foundation of Vulnerability

Lastly, let’s dig into the V word. Not THAT one…vulnerability. Sharing your Queer identity with anyone does indeed involve vulnerability. This, like authenticity and confidence, is grown over time and over repeated actions. The more vulnerable actions you practice the better at vulnerability you get. And yes, maybe that’s not your end goal right now…but practicing vulnerability will make you so much better at relationships, speaking, engaging with others, caregiving, and more – ultimately, it will make you a better human.

Taking the step to trust your therapist with something as deep, personal and vulnerable as your Queer identity is a major step in the lane of vulnerability growth and development. Your taking that step forward builds that therapeutic relationship stronger and deeper – it builds trust too. Set down a foundational layer of vulnerability in your therapeutic relationship for all other conversations to grow up from and through.

That foundational layer of vulnerability that you build in therapy will teach you how to do it in other places in your life as well. New friend? Meet the vulnerability foundation that deepens your friendship. New Partner? Meet the vulnerability foundation layer that your relationship seeds and grows from over and over throughout the years. Allow yourself the chance to learn how to set that foundation to explore the rest of the world. It’s just a jumping-off point.

So, all in all, yes, I did just tell you to come out of the Queer closet and into your therapy session.

In doing so, allow yourself to pave the way for more authentic conversations, stronger connections, increased confidence, and repeated opportunities to try out your new vulnerability skills.

Even if coming out to your therapist feels awkward at first – or even potentially unnecessary – I promise you they will appreciate it and the fact that you trusted them enough to do so. Your therapist is one of the most safe and non-judgmental people you’ll find in your circle who genuinely wants to understand the real you, allow them to do their job.

So friend, go schedule that appointment, maybe even plan out what you want to say first, and then dive into the cool pool of vulnerability. Now, when you have to come out to your dentist and we’ll talk about that next! (Kidding…sort of).

*And lastly, I want to add a disclaimer:

If you do not feel safe coming out to your therapist this could be a sign that it’s time to get another therapist or have a direct conversation with them about why you’re not feeling safe. Therapy is meant to be a safe space; if it’s not providing that to you, ask why and then address it where possible.

Gender Identity, Mental Health, Wellness

by Nia Patterson

bottom of page