Hi, I'm Aimee! :) 
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Aimee Beardslee, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

​​​​LGBTQ+ Affirmative Therapist, Gender Specialist, & Owner of Rainbow Counseling

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If you are seeking an LGBTQ+ affirmative therapist who has experience working with clients of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, I'm so glad to have you here! I specialize in serving the LGBTQ+ community by providing individual, relationship/couples counseling, and group therapy for individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and/or pansexual. I provide office based counseling to LGBTQ+ clients in St. Petersburg, Florida, as well as online counseling to clients anywhere in Florida.

My Specialties:

  • Couples Counseling for same sex/same gender couples

  • Individual Counseling for LGBTQIAP+ clients 

  • Couples/Relationship Counseling for clients with diverse sexual orientations and/or gender identities, including mixed orientation relationships (partners having differing sexual orientations, for example: lesbian/gay & bi, or straight & bi)

  • Counseling for those in cis/trans relationships and those in a relationship in which one or more partners are transgender, gender diverse, genderqueer, and/or nonbinary (and who may need help navigating one or both partners' transitions and potential impacts on the relationship)

  • Counseling for those in poly/open/CNM (consensually non-monogamous) relationships or those who are considering opening up their relationship and need a safe, confidential space to explore this topic

  • Individual, Couples, & Family Counseling for clients (including minors 13+) who are transgender, gender diverse, genderqueer, and/or non-binary

  • Gender Affirming Therapy for transgender/gender non-conforming clients, including providing gender identity exploration support and assessments/referrals for gender affirming hormone therapy and surgeries

I love helping couples learn how to improve their relationships by addressing issues such as communication problems and couples conflict, as well as helping them heal from past hurts or betrayals to rediscover love and positive feelings that will lead to increased relationship satisfaction and decreased relationship stress. Having said that...never forget that all relationships take work and are never conflict free! Besides, conflicts and challenges can help us grow as individuals and as couples. Learning how to communicate effectively and to manage conflict is key in any relationship, and it is more than likely that whatever you are going through right now is completely normal and common and can be worked through. (Also, if you are in an abusive relationship, you are not alone, it is not your fault, and there is help .)

I am also very passionate about providing gender affirming therapy to transgender clients, as well as educating my profession and the public about transgender issues and advocating for trans rights. If you are transgender and need a supportive therapist to help you explore your gender identity, address feelings of gender dysphoria, or to assist you during your transition, I am here for you. I am also able to assist you if you are in need of a referral for hormone therapy or assessments for gender confirmation surgery.

Treating LGBTQ+ Mental Health Issues: 

In addition to specializing in gender, sexuality, and relationship issues, I have several years of experience treating common mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, grief, stress, and chronic mental illness (bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, etc.) Many individuals in the LGBTQ+ community suffer from mental health issues (such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse) at a disproportionately higher rate than non-LGBTQ+ individuals, and this is often a result of what is termed “ minority stress ”.  

Minority stress for the LGBTQ+ population stems from varied factors, including the stress of remaining closeted in certain contexts (at work, with certain family members or friends); dealing with the coming out process; facing discrimination, prejudice, and the threat of (or experience being the target of) violence;  struggles with internalized homophobia or transphobia; and feelings of isolation and rejection. These stressors increase the risk of mental health problems for LGBTQ+ individuals, and not acknowledging the influence of these factors can often make the individuals experiencing them feel lost, overwhelmed, and, at times, hopeless. Therefore, it is crucial to have a therapist who is competent in understanding the complexities of LGBTQ+ minority stress along with the experience of treating the resulting mental health conditions, all while providing warmth and support when you need it the most. 

I have extensive experience providing mental health counseling in community mental health, hospital, office, and in home settings, but I decided to open my private practice so that I could concentrate on specifically serving the LGBTQ+ community. I also wanted to make my services available to LGBTQ+ clients across the state of Florida by offering online counseling, as many individuals live in areas that have a shortage of (or no) therapists who are experienced in treating LGBTQ+ issues. Because sexual and gender minorities often still face prejudice and discrimination when seeking mental health care (and primary health care), I wanted to help remove that barrier and provide support and help for as many people as possible. One day I hope that there will no longer be a need for therapists who specialize in working with LGBTQ+ clients, as the competency to provide care for this population should be integrated into the educational curricula and training programs for all healthcare professionals.  

I am a proud member of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality , which is a global organization whose mission is to ensure equality in healthcare for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and healthcare providers.

Education, Training, and Community:

As an L.M.H.C. (Licensed Mental Health Counselor), I am fully licensed to independently practice mental health counseling in the state of Florida. I graduated from Florida State University with a dual degree: a Master of Science (M.S.) degree and an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree, both in Mental Health Counseling.

I have given lectures and provided trainings on sexual orientation and gender identity issues in university and agency settings in order to increase support for sexual and gender minorities, as well as to increase the competency of health care professionals. I was an invited guest lecturer at Florida State University in 2012 and 2013, where I gave my interactive, multimedia lecture entitled "From a Black and White to a Technicolor View of Gender: A Discussion on Gender Identity and Gender Variance Across The Lifespan".

In January of 2017 I was an invited Guest Speaker at the University of South Florida's Department of Women's and Gender Studies, where I facilitated a "Community Healing" workshop.

From November 2016 through November 2017 I facilitated a free biweekly LGBTQ+ support group at Community Cafe in St. Petersburg, Florida. During this time our group created an LGBTQ+ Mental Health Resource station, which can be found across from the ordering counter at the cafe.

In June of 2017 I attended the St. Pete Pride Parade and had a booth at the St. Pete Pride Festival. So many awesome and friendly people stopped by my booth and also won some cool free stuff! Some people also took a moment to visit the "Coping Corner" at my booth and did some mindful coloring and relaxation activities.

I also attended the St. Pete Pride Parade in June of 2018, and in October of 2018 I had a booth at Come Out St. Pete's Grand Central Pride Festival! (If you can't tell, Pride is my favorite holiday!)

In October of 2017 I attended Harvard Medical School 's "Advancing Excellence in Transgender Health" conference, which was a live, 2 day training course in Boston, MA offered by the Fenway Institute . About the Fenway Institute:

"The Fenway Institute is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education, and policy development, focusing on national and international health issues.  Our mission is to ensure access to quality, culturally competent medical and mental health care for traditionally underserved communities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and those affected by HIV/AIDS.

We do this by conducting innovative research and developing education and advocacy programs grounded in the LGBT community.  We act as a catalyst for change in the larger community by applying our knowledge broadly. We are motivated by the belief that everyone, everywhere deserves access to high-quality, culturally-competent health care."

Recent and relevant continuing education trainings I have completed:

Psychotherapy with BDSM/Kinky Folks 
Continuing Education Course
October 2018

South Florida Transgender Medical Conference
Trainings attended:
-Building a Working Alliance with Transgender Clients
-Caring for Gender Non-Conforming and Transgender Youth
-Supporting the Families of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults, Adolescents, and Younger Children
September 2018


Advancing Excellence in Transgender Health: A Core Course for the Whole Care Team
2 day conference by the Fenway Institute at Harvard Medical School
October 2017

Gay Affirmative Couples Therapy
Continuing Education Course by Joe Kort, Ph.D.
August 2017

A Clinically Useful, Transtheoretical Model for Conceptualizing Couples' Problems: The Four Session Evaluation
Continuing Education Course
August 2017

Shame Shields: The Armor We Use to Protect Ourselves and Why It Doesn’t Serve Us
Continuing Education Course by Brene Brown
July 2017

Dual Diagnosis: Understanding Co-occurring Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders
Continuing Education Course
June 2017

I truly believe that learning is lifelong, and even if I am an affirming, experienced, and well-trained therapist, I always have the ability (and responsibility) to learn more. I want to ensure I am up to date on the latest research and evidence-based practices that enable me to not just be affirming, but to also be as informed as possible. This allows me to provide you with the most competent and highest quality care.

Where it all Began:

My passion for learning about gender and sexuality began during my undergraduate program at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, where I graduated in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in Women's/Gender Studies and Sociology. My experience working as a counselor and health educator from 2007 to 2009 at the Feminist Women's Health Center in Atlanta, Georgia ignited my passion for counseling, as well as my desire to work with transgender clients. I am proud to have worked at one of the first clinics in Georgia to provide trans-specific healthcare, via the Trans Health Initiative

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, which I'm proud to say received a perfect score of 100 in 2018 (for the 6th year in a row!) on HRC's Municipal Equality index.  I relocated to Florida (for school and sunshine) in 2009 and have lived in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and St. Petersburg. I love the culture, diversity, and beauty (those murals!) of St. Petersburg, and I especially love the beaches. St. Pete also earned a perfect score of 100 on HRC's Equality index in 2018, and needless to say, I am incredibly grateful to live in such an LGBTQ+ friendly city! 

Self-Care:

Because I spend a lot of time and energy doing work with and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, I make sure to recharge by practicing self-care, something I always encourage my clients to do. I love to talk and laugh (and have a good cry sometimes!) with friends and family, go on walks and bike rides (being outside in nature is so healing!), practice mindfulness and meditation, cook meals from scratch, read books (autobiographies are my fave), binge-watch Netflix shows, and travel to both new and familiar places. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, and I'm a huge animal lover! 
 
Thank you so much for reading more about me, and as always, I'm here to answer your questions and hear about you so that we can find out if I'd be a good fit as your therapist. It's important to find a therapist who you feel comfortable with and can trust (and I'll help you with referrals if we aren't a "fit"), because a strong therapeutic relationship is at the core of therapy and is absolutely necessary for positive change to occur for you as a client. I look forward to hearing from you soon, and I hope we get a chance to work together!
 
 

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