Do you find yourself having more bad days than good ones? Something feel not right even if you can't name it? Questioning your sexuality or gender? Have shame about being LGBTQ? Are there times it feels like one more thing in your world will make you snap? Tired of constantly fighting over money and laundry and who fed the dog last? How about lacking general direction in your life and wanting to explore more of who you are and what you want in the world?
These are some problems we all face at one time or another. It is part of the human condition, and no life lived well comes without a few trying times. Therapy tailored for YOUR needs can help you move forward and live your best life.
4304 Airport Freeway
Fort Worth, TX 76117
A Place of Exploration
My office is conveniently located in a professional building just northeast of downtown Fort Worth. A mere three miles from Sundance Square and other downtown attractions and businesses, with easy access to several interstates and highways. Quiet and comfortable, ideally suited to the exploration of life and creative problem solving.
“None of us gets through life without some serious hurt, and some serious joy. The ways we respond to challenges or capitalize on opportunities is based on myriad experiences and encounters throughout our lives. I believe that whatever leads us to this moment, we always have an opportunity for personal growth and improvement. Through a careful exploration of our individual histories and valid world-views, we can better understand ourselves and how to make the most of our lives to be happy, healthy and productive.”
Before committing to any course of therapy or assessment, I think it’s helpful to understand a little bit about me...
Because there is no way I'd see a therapist until I understood who they were as a person.
My Interest in Therapy
My Interest in Life
I have always been drawn to an understanding of others’ behaviors. Or, more to the point, I have always been curious about why people do the things they do, even when they are unhealthy, ill-advised, or otherwise counter intuitive. That was my initial interest in psychology, fostered by observations on the playground, in church, at parties, in the workplace…anywhere people gather, behaviors happen that left me trying to understand what I was witnessing, making sense of the “why.” Once the why becomes clear, making the transition from maladaptive to healthy, prosocial functioning completes the cycle I find so interesting.
I did not start out with a large gay clientele. I was focused on general clinical issues and a few LGBTQ clients found me. Then a few more, and a few more after that. It did not take long for me to see this as a professional calling of sorts. Before I knew it I was developing a rewarding niche practice. Since then, I have worked with diverse issues affecting our community that include navigating the coming out process, sexual orientation identity, understanding what it means to be transgender or gender nonconforming, navigating the gender transition process, relationship struggles, family issues, sexual concerns, mood issues, anxiety problems, and stress management. Understanding that LGBTQ clients frequently struggle to incorporate their identities into the mainstream culture, identity exploration and formation has become a large part of my work.
As a person, I have lots of interests outside of my professional identity. I am a bit of an artist. I am an avid reader of all genres of literature. I enjoy great meals with friends, running, movies, hiking, my cats, family outings, dancing with friends until we look utterly silly, watching live sports, playing ball in the local LGBTQ softball league, politics, social justice, philanthropy….and the list goes on and on!
Training & Licensure
Licensed Professional Counselor
Licensed by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.
National Certified Counselor
Certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors
Master of Science
Clinical Psychology, with a specialization in Neuropsychology
University of Texas at Tyler
Bachelor of Arts
University of Texas at Dallas
LGBTQ Affirming Therapy
Gender Affirming Therapy
Coming Out Process
LGBTQ Affirming Therapy
Finding a gay-affirming therapist can be surprisingly difficult, even in an area as diverse as the DFW Metroplex. It's difficult to know whether or not you will find a counselor who is knowledgeable and compassionate about sexuality and all the issues that can go with this. As an openly gay therapist, I understand exactly where you are coming from. You need to connect with somebody who “gets it.” You want to be able to talk openly and honestly about your problems to find real solutions.
Gender Affirming Therapy
Transgender. Gender fluid. Bi-gender. Gender nonconforming. All kinds of gender expression exist in human nature, and thankfully much of this is being recognized as part of the fabric of our society. Whether you are looking for a therapist to help you understand and accept yourself, come out to others, understand the transition process and options, or just support you as you live your life, I am here to help. The environment I provide is a safe one where we can explore things openly and honestly, with no judgment.
Coming Out Process
Coming out can be the most difficulty thing for any LGBTQ individual to face. The fear of being rejected or abandoned can be overwhelming. Knowing that you are “different” and having to find your place in the world can leave you riddled with fear and anxiety. Dread about the consequences and judgments can make it seem like an impossible situation. It doesn’t have to be like that. Together we will explore what is happening in your life and your support network so you can feel confident with your decision.
If you're in an LGBTQ relationship, I understand the unique challenges you face in your relationship. Personal struggles can impact how you communicate, share emotions, have sex, and manage a household. Sometimes we lose passion, trust, or romance. Maybe infidelity has caused a rift you want to repair. Finding a therapist who understands these issues is extremely important. Together we can work on rebuilding communication, intimacy,trust and stability in your relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will happen in the first session?
It’s perfectly normal and natural to feel nervous about your first counseling session, or your first session with a new therapist. I understand it takes a lot of courage to share your feelings and experiences with someone you just met. We will work together to identify and understand your concerns and develop a plan to make changes in your life. This process usually takes several sessions. I think of it as the “getting to know each other” stage of our new relationship. It’s a time for you to decide if I am the right fit, and for me to determine if I might be able to help you. This is a collaborative process, but ultimately you are in the driver’s seat.
Is this confidential?
Under Texas law, our conversations are confidential except under certain circumstances. We will discuss this at the outset of therapy, and I will make sure you understand the details of these exceptions in the first session before you begin counseling. It is often helpful to discuss your case with other professionals, and I may ask for your permission to do this.
How long will we be talking? How often?
Typically, a counseling session lasts 45 minutes. There may be exceptions to this, and we will make adjustments to meet your needs. We will decide together how often to meet. Usually, it’s best to meet weekly in the early stages. I like to transition my clients to biweekly and then monthly sessions as our work progresses.
How many sessions will I need?
The therapy process can range from one or two sessions to several months or longer, depending on the nature of the issues we are working to resolve. I do not set a minimum or maximum number of sessions and prefer to remain flexible based on your needs. You are the expert on you, and I believe you will know during the course of therapy when your issues are resolved or not. We will continually review your treatment goals and assess your progress to determine whether or not counseling should continue.
How will I know if we are a good fit?
I recommend that we give it at least two sessions to see if we mesh and if we both feel I can help you. The first session is often focused on informed consents and other paperwork, and an initial understanding of what is happening in your life. From the second session onward we delve deeper into “the issues” and this is when we best know if we can work together. This is a collaborative process and we both need to feel comfortable proceeding. If not, I will be happy to discuss referral options to someone with whom you might feel more comfortable.
Does it really matter if my therapist is gay 0r gay-affirming?
Whether or not your therapist is gay or lesbian, if you are an LGBTQ individual seeking services it is extremely important to find a counselor who understands the issues you are facing. There are many "gay friendly" therapists who provide excellent care to LGBTQ clients. And some clients prefer to have a counselor who is themselves an actual member of the community. This is a deeply personal decision, and ultimately it is based on your level of comfort.
What are WPATH Standards of Care?
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health has established internationally accepted Standards of Care (SOC) for the treatment of gender identity disorders and gender-related concerns. The overall goal of the SOC is to provide clinical guidance to assist transsexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming clients with safe and effective pathways to achieve lasting personal comfort with their gendered selves, in order to maximize their overall health, psychological well-being, and self-fulfillment. I strongly believe in WPATH, the SOC, and their ethical guidelines.
What about reparative therapy?
If you're considering coming out and/or accepting for yourself that you are LGBTQ, you likely have come across information regarding conversation or reparative therapy. This type of treatment, and I use that word loosely, continues to exist in the Metroplex. This is despite multiple lawsuits, claims of harm, and lack of success. This so-called treatment is based on research that is largely invalid. In fact, recent research shows that reparative therapy is extremely harmful and traumatic. If you are looking for a conversion or reparative therapist, I would strongly encourage you to at least meet with an LGBTQ-affirming therapist first so you can explore the benefits of living an authentic life and make an informed decision.
Do you prescribe medications?
No, medications are prescribed by medical doctors. I will help you monitor your medications to determine how well they are working. With your permission, I will work close with your prescribing doctor to coordinate our treatment plans. As a best practice, medications for mental health reasons (“psychotropics”) are best prescribed by psychiatrists, as they have specialized and advanced training in medications that alter brain chemistry. In many cases, medications are also prescribed by general physicians, internists, and nurse practitioners. Regardless of who writes your script, I can work with you to coordinate treatment and monitor symptoms for maximum efficacy.
Can we do this over the phone? Skype?
In this digital age of too many commitments and not enough time, providing alternatives to in-person therapy can be crucial in delivering services. I am more than willing to discuss this on a case-by-case basis.
"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."
-- William James
"We know what we are but not what we may be."
"I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 things that do not work."
-- Thomas Edison
"I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have."
-- Abraham Lincoln
"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
-- Martin Luther King , Jr.
"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."
-- Carl Jung
"Don't let yourself go
'Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes"
"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off."
-- Gloria Steinem
"Time is the best author. It always writes the perfect ending. "
"Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open."
-- Thomas Dewar
"Comedy is tragedy plus time."
-- Carol Burnett
"There are no traffic jams along the extra mile."
-- Roger Staubach
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions."
-- Dalai Lama
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
-- Dr. Seuss
Wes Parks I © 2013. All rights reserved.