LGBTQ+ Mental Health: Giving Voice to Gay Shame

Simon Marks

Saturday 24th November 2018 10:00 – 16:00

Drake House, 44 St Georges Road, London SW19 4ED

Workshop cost: £120 + booking fee / 10% discount for Wimbledon Guild counsellors/ LIMITED early-bird discount of 15% available until available until 24th August 2018 or until sold out

The Workshop:

Regardless of our varied clinical practice and approaches, we share one thing in common; knowingly or unknowingly, we all have clients who may identify as LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or plus). But how well do we really understand their needs?

Based on Simon Mark’s practice as an LGBTQ+ counsellor, dramatherapist and own lived experience as a gay man, this not to be missed, experiential workshop we will explore the unspoken and often misunderstood mental health crisis taking place amongst the LGBTQ+ community.

Despite recent legal equality, research points to disproportionately high numbers of LGBT children and adults experiencing depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, poorer sexual health, alcoholism, addiction, suicidal ideation and sometimes, early death.

The reasons are linked directly to the experiences that many (not all) LGBTQ+ children share growing up in a heteronormative society. Bullying, internalized homophobia and hypersensitivity can contribute to a core sense of shame, leading to a split psyche and poor attachment in relationship to themselves and others.

Throughout the day, you will be invited to step in to the shoes of your LGBTQ+ clients, to feel and experience the world as they do. You will begin to understand what they carry with them - not just in to your sessions, but throughout their whole lives. Through various practical exercises you will see just how much unconscious shame they hold. Most importantly, you'll learn how to help them let go of it through exploring intiamcy and connection. Drawing together the latest psychotherapeutic research, historical and cultural LGBTQ+ context and case studies, the day will outline how we can fully understand the problem, in order to facilitate the journey of healing.

The Trainer:

Simon Marks is an MA qualified, HCPC registered Dramatherapist, Drug and Alcohol Counsellor and LGBTQ+ group facilitator. He specialises in LGBTQ+ mental and sexual health, addiction and recovery. His work centres towards healing and re-parenting the inner-child, and recovering the authentic self.

Simon is currently working at Antidote @ London Friend - the UK’s only LGBTQ+ run drug and alcohol service, with service users of their Chemsex programme. In training, he worked at Mount Carmel, a rehab in South London, where he ran a mixed gender group for recovering alcoholics in aftercare. At 56 Dean Street, the award winning HIV and sexual health NHS clinic in Soho, he ran groups for gay and HIV positive men.

Simon runs a private practice for gay and bisexual men. His sessions offer a safe and contained space for creative expression, encouraging personal reflection and group bonding. Previously, participants have explored collective themes around lack of self-esteem, internalised homophobia, intimacy, trust, social anxiety and shame. Some connected these themes to their own risk-taking behaviour in relation to alcohol, drugs, relationships and sex. Where desired, they were able to begin implementing changes in their lives.

Simon’s work features in the award winning book Straight Jacket: How To Be Gay And Happy by Matthew Todd. As well as his Dramatherapy practice, Simon also facilitates the gay and bisexual men’s community discussion group A Change Of Scene.

Simon is a member of the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth) and graduated from Roehampton University in 2016 with an MA in Dramatherapy.


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