Tabono was excited to participate in Cincinnati Pride this year. From walking in the parade to sponsoring the Teen Zone, we were all energized by the support, passion and excitement from all who attended. We had the opportunity to hear stories from members of the LGBTQIA+ community, who were so brave in sharing their own struggles with us. They also shared their concerns regarding their own treatment experiences, and how as clinicians, we can always work to provide a more inclusive space-both physically and mentally. Please read further, as Tabono’s team shares their personal and professional reflections from this celebration.
What does Pride mean to you?
“For me Pride means an opportunity to be comfortable around like-minded people, it offers a safe place for individuals to be themselves, every shape, size, and color, without judgement. It’s also an opportunity to feel a part of something. You are not alone and that feels nice.”
– Jen Lee, therapist and Clinical Director
“Pride means acceptance, as well as being able to express yourself freely as you are comfortable.”
– Zachary Havens, therapist
What are some of the challenges that you have observed with the LGBTQIA+ community and access to therapy?
“One challenging aspect of the LGBTQIA+ community in seeking therapy is finding a therapist that is open and affirming. It’s an extra step to an already stressful process. It’s so difficult to first admit it’s time to seek professional help and then have to find someone who is accepting new clients. Then, there are additional layers, like finding a therapist who is accepting new clients, accepts insurance, and is aware of the specific challenges the LGBTQIA+ community faces. Fortunately, Tabono offers a safe and open environment for the community.”
“Some of the challenges that I have observed include finding providers who are willing to learn and grow with the community as it keeps changing. As clinicians, it is our duty to stay up to date, be willing to make changes, and accept the fact that if we want to be the best provider for our clients, we will always be learning.”
– Joan Simpson, psychologist
What is your biggest take away from participating in this event?
“My biggest take away from this event was the amount of LOVE I felt. I recognized so many organization and company names in the parade and in the festival, it made me happy to see the support from them. These businesses do not have to choose to take part in Pride, yet they did, putting themselves in a potential line of fire from those who are less accepting which could result in lost business. They were there, waving their Pride flags and embracing the diversity among the Cincinnati community. It was awesome.”
“What I enjoyed most from this event was being able to see young people explore and express their authentic selves knowing that they would not be judged or harmed for doing so. Our younger years are already so tough with learning how to express ourselves and figuring out how to fit in. It was truly beautiful seeing members of this community getting to live their day without fear of rejection or unacceptance.”
How do you plan on incorporating what you have learned into your therapy practice and how can you provide a safe therapy space for the LGBTQIA+ community?
“My plan is to continue incorporating a safe and accepting environment for my clients to continue feeling welcome to be who they are. I hope that my clients feel safe with me no matter what community or population they are associated with as it is my pleasure and job to be here for each and every one of them.”
“I am currently exploring new educational opportunities to learn to become a better, and more inclusive therapist. I feel like we at Tabono are doing a nice job of creating an atmosphere of acceptance for all our clients and I want to make sure that I am continuing to do my part.”
“I try my best, and will continue to do so, in welcoming all who walk through our door. I believe in respecting others and their experiences. Everyone comes in with their own stories, and my approach tries to reflect their uniqueness. It is important to meet others where they are, and not where you think they should be.”
And from our Executive Director, Dr. Nikki Leisgang
Since I was first licensed in 2005, so many things, both culturally and professionally, have changed for the better. Back then, the Pride flag had only 6 colors and the ‘QIA+’ was yet to be added. Just like the flag and term have become more inclusive, I was thrilled to see that our city has also become more welcoming and supportive. Both as individuals and as a community, we have evolved, we’ve grown, we’ve progressed, and we must continue to do. As a psychologist, I have been impressed with the people with whom I work, demonstrating such grit and resilience in working through whatever issue brought them to my door. Whether it’s from one person or an entire community, sometimes that support makes change a little less scary. My goal is to forever be evolving, both personally and professionally. I’m excited to be a part of the Tabono team, providing support and guidance to all those who entrust us with their stories and their own personal evolution.