Sexual Identity

An affirming treatment approach for LGBT+ Identified Youth

Sexual Identity | Paradigm San Francisco“Young adults with emerging identity distinctions experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harm and suicidality. Our compassionate, evidence-based treatment is built upon a foundation of LGBT+ affirmative practices and therapeutic philosophies making Paradigm a truly unique sanctuary in the residential treatment landscape. We firmly believe in working closely with family members of identity-variant young adults, because we respect the collective process for recovery and affirmation of a child who may identify within the LGBT+ spectrum.”



Adolescence is a time of exploration, discovery, and change.  Developmentally, people change more throughout adolescence than any other time in life, and in this sense, adolescence is a time filled with questions about identity and who we are.  For most teens, this process holds challenges, as teens try to discover and form a healthy sense of self.  However, we believe that this time can be especially challenging for teens that don’t identify as heterosexual.  Sometimes teens feel pressure from expectations or societal norms, and feel overwhelmed to be people they aren’t.  Other times, teens are directly abused through bullying or being ostracized.  In these kinds of situations, it’s common for these teens to experience feelings of anxiety, depression, apathy, and a desire to shut-down, withdraw, or turn to substance abuse, as way of coping.  In more serious situations, teens might engage in risky behaviors, such as acts of self-harm or even suicide.  When teens are in this kind of struggle, they feel deeply alone and torn by the desire to share who they are while at the same time, terrified to do so.

Portrait of Hispanic family with two boys outdoorsAt Paradigm San Francisco, we are deeply committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for all teens, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, bicurious, demisexual, pansexual, asexual, and or questioning youth, to have a place to belong, to process their experiences, to heal, and to grow.  We pride ourselves in being a place where a broad spectrum of teens, families, and identities can be accepted and celebrated, in community.  We have great respect for all the different aspects of self-discovery, including sexuality, and aim to provide an environment where teens feel free and safe to learn, re-learn, explore, or integrate different aspects of themselves which they may have kept hidden or repressed, previously.

Happy family outdoor portrait in a forest

To this end, our incredible therapeutic team is uniquely qualified, trained, and skilled in working with teens throughout these journeys, providing both challenges and support along the way.  At the same time, we understand that as teens go through this process, it can often be a delicate, challenging time for parents and family members as well.  For this reason, we provide an extensive selection of parent and support services and incorporate family group therapy work into all of our teen treatment plans.  All the different aspects of our therapeutic programs are designed to affirm each teen’s unique identity and at the same time, provide a safe, supportive place where parents and family members can learn, ask questions, and be supported through their own processing.


Paradigm San Francisco Sexual Identity Support

What Paradigm teens and family members can expect for teens looking for sexual identity support:

  • Individual daily sessions
  • A Treatment Team leader who is skilled in LGBT + Affirmative Psychotherapist
  • A safe, supportive treatment environment, limited to just 6 youth at a time
  • Thorough diagnostic interview and individual treatment design
  • Numerous peer group therapy and family group therapy sessions
  • Parent and sibling support services and specific LGBT educational classes
  • Alternative Therapy programs, including numerous Expressive Arts Therapy programs, Teen Yoga Therapy, Teen Meditation Therapy, and more
  • Identity-Centered Process Groups, including LGBT & Client Community Groups
  • Numerous academic support services, including daily classroom time and individual tutors and AP and Honors class support



For questions or inquiries about treatment of LGBT+ Identified youth
or to make a referral, please contact us.