Exploring the Identity of LGBTQ+ Individuals and its Links to Self-Esteem through Art Therapy

Austėja Lukminaitė

Tolerant Youth Association, Lithuania

Lithuania is one of the European countries with the worst situation for LGTBIQ+ people, who are subjected to a range of hardships, discrimination and deprivation of fundamental rights on a daily basis that affects their mental health. Despite petitions from psychologists and therapists to Parliament demanding legal measures capable of combating this situation, the Lithuanian government has categorically rejected the proposals. In recent years, several initiatives have emerged in the country that treat the problems of depression, lack of self-esteem, etc., of the youngest LGTBIQ+ people, using art therapies. In group sessions, young people can share their thoughts, find out about themselves and feel supported when confronting exclusion and social discrimination. Art is therefore a tool that improves their perception of themselves and creates safe spaces where they can share experiences, feel accepted and find their own place in the community.

A survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights showed that the psychological well-being of LGBTQ+ people in Lithuania is one of the worst in Europe, with as many as 34% of respondents reporting that they feel depressed all or most of the time (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2020). Given these trends and the difficulties that LGBTQ+ people face on a daily basis, a question arises: what can be done to improve the psychological well-being of this community? In this article, we will discuss how art therapy could be an effective tool to contribute to the emotional well-being of LGBTQ+ people. Art therapy sessions are widely used in a variety of settings, including medical institutions and clinics, and group sessions are also conducted by art therapists who work in private practice. It is a way to get to know oneself better, to work through stressful or traumatic experiences, to relax, to be in the moment.

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