(WM) The sting of rejection within the LGBT community is something therapists Lindsay Kincaide and Marcie Cramer have seen for years, both professionally and personally, and is something they have seen show up in many forms.
“When you look at what people think of trauma and they think about sexual abuse or being beaten or being neglected, at the core of all of those is a rejection because from my perspective, as a community, the community is rejected, so it’s multifaceted and you’ll see it’s really like a gem,” Cramer says. “Wherever you turn, you’ll see a different facet but at the core of this is: ‘Do I have a right to be here?’ ‘Do I have a right to exist?’ ‘What is my worth?’ — and that all comes from rejection.”
Kincaide says after finding out Cramer ran LGBTQ workshops in the late 90s to 00s, she wanted to collaborate on a workshop for the community that she loved. After weeks of brainstorming and planning, they created, “Healing Trauma in the LGBT Community,” and decided that focusing on rejection and the internalized shame it causes was the most meaningful.
“What makes the group therapy and workshops so powerful is you get that message that you are wanted and you are accepted and you’re allowed to speak your truth whereas we tell ourselves we are not allowed to do this,” Kincaide says.” “Then we go into this welcoming environment where people are loving on us and supporting us as we do the vulnerable work and it sends a powerful message opposite to what the wound is saying.”
Kincaide and Cramer, who both work at Center for the Healing Arts, agree that workshops are a great way to heal old wounds. After years of not facilitating any and noticing that there are hardly any for LGBT communities in general, Cramer says she is excited to get back into it and create a safe space for the community she’s been an ally for since she was a teenager.
“Workshops use the opportunity to drill down to the cause instead of just trying to deal with the symptoms,” Cramer says. “We heal down and we grow up and so we can really drill down to where the trauma is. Certainly, within the community, there’s a lot of trauma and because the fear for a lot of people is that their life is at stake and that isn’t a crazy fear so that becomes a PTSD of the community.”
While planning the activities and discussions for the workshop, they say they made sure to cater it to each person to fit their agenda.
“It’s very experiential, they are really going to experience the healing and then confront the feelings,” Kincaide says. “We’re going to have a variety of different types of activities and techniques to use, so that is really going to be something that’s going to fit everyone with all sorts of different processes.”
However, they say they are aware that this is an intense, immersive process and it can be challenging for some. While they do encourage participants to get out of their comfort zone, Cramer says the workshop is designed for those to go at their own pace.
“We are conscious that there will be some people that come in with a lot of anxiety and they are the warriors because they’re doing it in spite of how anxious they feel,” Cramer says.
The main idea that they want participants to leave with is that they are loved and deserve love. Once they drop the behaviors and patterns that weren’t serving them, they say they can start healing and get clarity.
“The more everyone is in touch with the best part of themselves, the better the planet will be,” Cramer says. “Whoever shows up at this workshop is a divine human being who deserves to be on this planet that occupies needed DNA space that nobody else occupies, they are obligated to occupy that to its fullest, I believe.”
“Healing Trauma in the LGBTQ Community” is on Feb. 22 from 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information and to reserve a space, visit CenterForTheHealingArts.com.