More than 10 million Americans see a therapist every year, yet many still would attach a significant degree of shame to admitting it. Dr. Steve Burns, a Licensed Psychologist with Northland Therapy Center, says, “For some people, there seems to be a stigma that going to a therapist means you are sick and weak, when exactly the opposite is true. I think we’re at our strongest when we realize we need help doing something.”
Though times are changing, the GLBT community still faces unique mental health challenges. Burns, who jokingly shares that he has been out since Richard Nixon was President, has made working with gay and lesbian clients a priority.
Burns explains, “Until recently, it was really impossible for a GLBT person to come into adulthood with an intact self-esteem, because society has told us since the time we are 2 years old—and can understand that what we feel is not OK—that we are different from everybody else, and different in a bad way.”
Though Burns is pleased that most therapists currently practicing are better versed in dealing with the gay and lesbian community, he notes, “There is a base of knowledge that GLBT people have that doesn’t need explanation if you are with someone else who is in the subculture.”
Because the experience of therapy is new to many of his patients, Burns often spends the first session discussing expectations and any desired outcomes of the process. While therapy can be extremely beneficial, sometimes, a therapist is asked to do the impossible.
Burns states, “I will help you find out your options, and what gets in your way in meeting your goals, but I’m not going to fix you—I will help you find out what you need to do to help yourself. Often, people will come in who will be loved ones of people who have [substance abuse] problems who want me to fix their partner, or want me to help them fix their partner.”
Therapy may not be able to work those kinds of miracles, but it can help clients acquire new tools to get through issues in their own lives.
As Burns remarks, “Therapy would help anyone who is feeling like their own resources haven’t gotten them where they want to go.”
Burns accepts most forms of insurance.
Name: Dr. Steve Burns,
Licensed Psychologist, Northland Therapy Center
Address: 2324 University Ave. W., Ste. 100, St. Paul,
Phone: (612) 990-0649