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Family Forum – Anxiety a common barrier

Talking about sexual identity often requires confidentiality, there are services to help. Read on…


I am a 55-year-old divorced male with two children. Could you please advise who I could talk to confidentially about my sexual identity? I’m really concerned about the confidentiality side of things. This is what stops me coming forward. That, and if I take a step in this direction, there will be no turning back.


The panel understands your concerns. Sexual identity is a common topic to discuss with a counsellor and confidentiality is a valid concern to raise. You can do this over the phone with a counsellor either before your first session or in the first session itself. It is a good way to seek reassurance and feel safe in seeking services.

Before talking about any other personal issues or concerns, you can ask questions about privacy and confidentiality (for example): case notes or record keeping, safety, your rights and options such as using a false name.

SAMESH (South Australia Mobilisation + Empowerment for Sexual Health), SHine SA counsellors and also Relationships Australia SA can help with these concerns to allay any of the fears before counselling commences. Often a client rights brochure can be found on a counselling service website.

You may find you start to talk about the issues relating to sexual identity but there is no pressure to do so.

Some clients first ask their counsellor about their background, level of experience or comfort with the issues they wish to raise in the sessions.

Take the time to develop a rapport with your counsellor over some sessions to begin with.

This is all quite reasonable and happens often. If you are not satisfied with your counsellor’s responses or style, seek help elsewhere.

Anxiety is a common barrier to seeking help. Anxiety can make a problem seem insurmountable or overwhelming, or has us afraid we will lose control. This is called catastrophising and happens to most people at some time.

Talk about this with the counsellor; explain how you feel. Often these fears are unfounded. All does not need to be lost, and a good counsellor will help you gather support around you before making any changes.

It is normal to feel some anxiety when we create change, or step into the “unknown’’. An aim to begin counselling to break any isolation may be the first step to challenge anxiety.

Be gentle on yourself and focus on broad counselling aims such as your own wellbeing. Remember, there is no pressure to decide or do anything right now other than seek your own support.

Submit Your Questions

Have you got a question you’d like us to tackle?

Fill out the form below or send questions to Family Forum, The Advertiser, 31 Waymouth St, Adelaide 5000.

We treat communications in strict confidence except when the law demands otherwise, as in child abuse.

Relationships Australia SA appoints panels of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it.

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