6th February 2018, Stu Fenton

Censoring Myself

Resort 12 counsellor Stu Fenton on one reason why LGBT+-specific addiction and trauma treatment facilities are so important

Since the opening a Resort 12, many people have asked me: “why do we need to have an LGBT plus specific rehab?” I have become very good at answering this question. There are many reasons. However, one that stands out for me (and one that is very close to my heart) is in how we sexual minorities censor ourselves.

Over 14 years ago when I went to rehabilitation, I remember being one of only two gay men in a treatment facility of 30 clients, and I remember what it felt like to be in a minority.

While most of the other clients talked openly about their romantic relationships and their behaviour inside clubs and bars, I remember constantly choosing what I should disclose and what I should not and knowing full well that some of my peers were homophobic. A full expression of my reality would not be welcomed there.

Even when talking to my therapist I was aware that I changed specific words, I minimised the severity of my experiences or the graphic descriptions of sexual encounters because of how I feared that the counsellor would either not understand me, or perhaps even judge me for my experiences.

As I write this article now, I’m also aware that throughout my whole life as a gay man I have censored myself and continue to censor myself when I am around certain people because my life has been peppered with judgement and verbal abuse because of my sexuality.

Resort 12 is safe and secure environment where clients are free to talk about whatever it is they need to talk about in regards to their sexuality,y their sexual behaviour their difficult thoughts, their internalised homophobia, their behaviours, and all of their relationships.

I believe when a person is in therapy and they suppress thoughts or feelings and or sensor thoughts and feelings the effectiveness of the treatment is severely diminished. In Resort 12 there is no judgement. There are facilitators to moderate interactions and relationships so that clients can effectively get to the source of their pain, despair, hopelessness and especially their fear.

In Resort 12 this is one of the most powerful clinical qualities that leads to stronger recoveries, greater self awareness and more liberated and confident individuals.

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