A new online service launches today in several U.S. states that matches specialized LGBTQ therapists with clients quickly and confidentially. LGBTQTherapySpace debuts in California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and more on Thursday, May 20, and will soon be available in state after state in its rollout across the country.
The site is the creation of Jake Myers, LMFT, and owes a large part of its genesis to the Covid-19 pandemic. The founder and CEO was set to start a gay men’s psychotherapy group at his counseling practice in Hollywood, California, on St. Patrick’s Day, 2020. A couple of days before the start date, Myers said he “reluctantly had to tell all the members that we would be postponing for now because of this Coronavirus pandemic that was gaining steam.” Two weeks later, he lost his office space because his colleague, seeing the writing on the wall, didn’t renew his lease.
“That therapy group would never see the light of day,” Myers said.
This began the journey for Myers to move his practice entirely online. “Like many of my therapist friends and associates, I was reluctant, he said. “I worried that the sessions would feel disjointed, that there would be a loss of connection.”
Much to his surprise, he found that not much was lost at all. “With high-speed Internet and iPads, I found online sessions to be not much different than in-person ones,” he said. “I was still feeling close to my clients, like I was having an intimate conversation with them in the room.”
Myers also realized that a lot was being gained. Scheduling was much easier. Los Angeles traffic was no longer a part of his day. “My stress was lower, and I’m sure I was more present and empathetic,” Myers said.
Clients also enjoyed not traveling, as well as not “sitting in a waiting room trying to avoid eye contact with other patients,” he said. “And everyone, including me, felt much safer from the virus.”
The “light bulb” moment came in the fall of 2020. Realizing he could use the internet to see clients anywhere in states where he was licensed, Myers also knew that he could now specialize exclusively in online therapy to the LGBTQ community. The next logical step was to bring together a virtually unlimited number of therapists and clients. Thus GayTherapySpace was born.
“Sure, I had seen BetterHelp and TalkSpace, but there was not yet an online platform marketed directly to the LGBTQ and queer community,” he said. “For this population, an expanded reach is needed more than for any other group.”
Myers earned a specialization in LGBTQ Affirmative Psychotherapy in grad school at Antioch University Los Angeles. The program taught the importance of having an affirmative, accepting therapist who understands the needs of LGBTQ and queer individuals.
“For healing to really take place, we need to feel completely safe, accepted, and seen by our therapist,” Myers explained. “Having an LGBTQ-affirmative therapist available to someone in a big city like Miami or a smaller town like Fresno is imperative for an LGBTQ person to gain the most from their work in therapy.”
(For more on this topic, see “If I’m LGBTQ, Should I have an LGBTQ Therapist? )
From the Founder:
In honor of Mental Health Awareness month this May, I’m extremely proud to launch LGBTQ Therapy Space into the universe. GayTherapySpace is an online management company that connects the LBGTQ+ and queer-identified community with local licensed therapists, and facilitates the delivery of therapy services from home for both clients and therapists, including providing scheduling and billing services through a HIPAA-compliant online video platform. We believe in the three A’s: Authenticity and being true to who you are, Alignment to find balance, and Acceptance to help you love every part of yourself.
For the launch, we will be providing administrative services to therapists and clients alike in several states: California, Florida, and Pennsylvania, and more. We will be expanding to additional states soon, including reaching people in places like South Dakota, Idaho, and Arkansas, where there may not be as many LGBTQ-affirmative therapists available to people who need them.
As we say in the “About Us” section of our website, “LGBTQ Therapy Space understands the unique experience of being LGBTQ+. As queer people, we have a particular history and background, with specific needs, desires, and struggles, while at the same time also sharing the same difficulties that all humans experience. By connecting clients with therapists who understand the emotional complexity of their lives, without judgment, we help facilitate an authenticity and acceptance to your inner life that can help you navigate life’s challenges, both internal and external.”
While some of our competitors out there offer online therapy with LGBTQ therapists, or help you connect with LGBTQ therapists in your actual city, we are the first company that will be matching LGBTQ clients with therapists in their state and providing a platform for online therapy and administrative services (scheduling, payment, hosting sessions), yet is also LGBTQ-owned and operated. We are currently in process of becoming a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (LGBTBE®) by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. In addition, we will be providing articles with insight and resources about LGBTQ mental health in our “Articles” section. I have extensive experience with writing this content already, being the exclusive psychotherapist writing about mental health topics for queerty , including publishing my own self-help column, Ask Jake.
LGBTQ Therapy Space is the perfect confluence of my own experience. It has allowed me a merger of my writing skills, background in digital marketing, sales, and creative design (for film studios in Los Angeles as well as at Q.Digital, the largest LGBTQ media company where I worked for a decade), while also drawing on my clinical experience as a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist licensed in two states (CA #88845 and FL #MT3955), with a specialization in LGBT-Affirmative Psychotherapy. Finally achieving my own sense of authenticity and purpose in the world through this venture has allowed me the chance to now pass that on to both the community and other therapists, and ideally help thousands of LGBTQ people, old and young, to find their purpose, passion, and sense of peace in the world.
If you have any feedback, tips, or want to let us know which state to launch in next, please contact us at info@LGBTQtherapyspace.com.
We encourage you to also follow us on our newly launched social media channels:
Jake Myers, LMFT
LGBTQ Therapy Space