LGBTQIA+ Issues & Counseling: An Interview with Mark Loewen, LPC

Today, I’m excited to share the insights that I gained from my interview with Mark Loewen, therapist and owner of Launchpad Counseling in Richmond, Virginia. Mark is a husband, father, and licensed professional counselor (LPC) who specializes in working with LGBTQIA+ adults.

Mark, talk about the resurgence of homophobia and feelings of being unsafe in a post-Trump world.

“The political climate has emboldened people to speak up. We are seeing people’s racial rants and comments go viral. This is scary and stressful to LGBTQ people. It seems to be less common in urban areas, but we still live with the fear that if something can happen to one of us; for example, gay people being attacked on the street, then it can happen to all of us. We have genuine fear.”

Thank you for sharing that, Mark. As a minority, I too have noticed the increase in people’s boldness given the political climate. Tell me a bit more about how has this impacts you as a gay man and as a counselor.

“It is crucial for LGBTQ people to practice self-care; more specifically, setting boundaries with social media and the news. What I mean is, use your energy wisely! You don’t have to read everything being posted all day. Self-care is filtering what you allow in from negative media. Unfollow those negative people on social media that don’t add something of value to the conversation.”

“When it comes to counseling, I like to check in with my LGBTQ clients when something big happens in the media that impacts us. Social media plays a big part in our lives. The problem is that people aren’t having real conversations like they used to. Instead, they take it to social media and it’s a free-for-all. With all of this going on, I let my clients know that counseling a place where they can discuss these issues. I tell them, ‘You can bring your whole self here.’ ”

I’ve learned a lot from you in just this short interview. Is there a takeaway that you’d like to leave our readers with?

“Something that often comes up in my work with LGBTQ clients is the topic of secrecy vs. privacy. Because we often have to be careful with how we present to the world, it’s helpful to know the difference between the two. When LGBTQ people live in secrecy, it can often limit them or even be harmful. Privacy, on the other hand, is a choice. You can choose how much of yourself you put on display. Secrecy can feel asphyxiating, while privacy gives you space to breathe.”

Thank you, Mark, for taking the time out to talk to me today.

You can learn more about Mark Loewen and Launchpad Counseling at LaunchpadCounseling.com.

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