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Counselling workshops to focus on LGBTQ relationships

Free five-week workshop seeks to create a safer space to discuss intimacy

Nicole Perry, facilitator for Queer Space: Education & Support Drop-In Group at Momentum Walk-In Counselling.

Sarah Hoyles/For Metro

Nicole Perry, facilitator for Queer Space: Education & Support Drop-In Group at Momentum Walk-In Counselling.

Nicole Perry is talking relationships — one safe space at a time.

The registered psychologist is facilitating a free five-week workshop series on intimate relationships, with the LGBTQ community in mind.

“Most people would be interested in these topics,” said Perry. “It’s not that this is an exclusively LGBTQ issue, but the people who join the group have a little bit more space and (don't have to) worry about what pronouns they’re using and they can share examples from their lives without that fear of being exposed."

Having many clients in this community, Perry felt it was important to develop a series with a queer perspective.

“When you don’t specifically outline or say that something is LGBTQ-friendly people from that community really hesitate to come." Perry explained. “They’ve had experiences where it hasn’t been safe, whether there’s therapist’s judgment or the other members of the group. We wanted to specifically say you are welcome here, this space is for you.”

Starting on Sept. 5, the Tuesday evening sessions at the Queer Space YEG in Momentum Walk-In Counseling (9562 82 Ave.) will explore topics including healthy sex, consent and attachment. This is the second year for the sessions, which saw regular attendance last fall.

Perry highlighted the importance of having no fee to participate, thanks to funding by the Wellness Network, "to reach people who maybe wouldn’t be able to afford it or wouldn’t otherwise come to a group that was paid.”

Psychology services aren’t covered by Alberta Health.

This leaves people to either chose to see a private psychologist, which can cost upwards of $150 per hour or go to a non-profit.

However, these non-profit counseling services tend to have long waiting lists and clients don’t necessarily get to choose their provider.

Perry emphasizes that the 60-90 minute sessions can be attended as a one-off or as a complete series.

Regardless, she hopes to create a safer space and extend an invitation to all those in the LGBTQ community and their allies.

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