Posts tagged “psychology

Move Over, “Dear Abby.” “Ask Dr. Darcy” is Straight Talk for the Gay Community

Have you ever had a question on which you needed straight-shooting, professional advice?  Dr. Darcy Sterling, a licensed clinical social worker based in the SoHo section of New York City, dishes up just that on a regular basis through her blog, YouTube channel, and her work with her wife, Stephanie Sterling, at Alternatives Counseling.

As a writer for Psychology Today and as a columnist for GO Magazine (which profiled Darcy and Stephanie’s wedding in 2009), Dr. Darcy has increasingly been tapped by media for commentary, such as for E! Entertainment’s When Women Kill.  While certainly media-savvy, Darcy also has the credentials to back up her observations, having received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University in 1996, and a Ph.D. from New York University in 2006. 

Her style is direct and focused, both with media and clients alike, and Dr. Darcy graciously recently took time to chat with me about her tell-it-like-it-is “straight talk” and issues she sees within the LGBT community.

Dr. Darcy SterlingKergan Edwards-Stout:  I’m so glad we’re finally able to talk!  I’ve been looking forward to this.

Dr. Darcy: Me too! 

Kergan:  I’m really curious about you and your approach to therapy.  First, though, tell me a bit about yourself.

Darcy:  I’m a Jersey girl! (laughing) I’m from Roseland, New Jersey, which is about 45 minutes from New York.  When you grow up just outside the city, you tend to think that you’re a New Yorker.  But once you’re here, living the life, you realize just how “off” you were!  When I was younger, I didn’t have to strap my day’s belongings to me, and take subways and cabs, through all kinds of weather…  It is a very different world than what I’d thought!

Kergan:  What made you decide to make the move into the city?

Darcy:  Both my graduate and post-graduate work was here, and I knew it was where I’d end up.  Before I moved to New York, I was married–to a man.  We were together over 13 years, but eventually we parted ways, and afterward, I knew I’d never date a man again. I’d always known I was bicurious, but hadn’t explored it until my 30s. So I moved to New York and started dating Steph.  Moving to New York was empowering in many ways.

Kergan:  How did you meet Stephanie? 

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What to Consider Before Tying the Knot: An LGBT Primer

As the tide of marriage equality begins to turn, with same gender nuptials becoming a reality for increasing numbers of couples, along comes a perfectly-timed guide to provide insight into what elements to consider before taking such a step.  Pamela Milam, MA, LPC, a counselor in Dallas, TX, has just released an essential primer for any LGBT individual considering matrimony, Premarital Counseling for Gays and Lesbians.  Drawing from her many years of experience as a therapist, Milam lays out common areas of potential discord couples may experience, and shares scenarios, gleaned from her patients, which demonstrate how such issues have played out for others.

While targeted towards those considering marriage, the issues she discusses are equally applicable for anyone interested in bettering their relationships, as the book touches on such considerations as religion, sex, monogamy, open relationships, degrees of “outness,” having children, and much more.  Recently, Milam graciously sat down with me to discuss the book, her personal journey, and issues within the LGBT community.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk. 

And you as well.  I am a big fan of your novel, Songs for the New Depression, so getting the chance to chat is an added bonus!

I really appreciate that–thank you!  But I want to talk about your book.  After many years spent counseling individuals and couples, what prompted you to write a book–and why this one?

In my career, I’ve done plenty of premarital counseling with straight couples.  I’ve listened to straight couples discuss their dating situations, their feelings about commitment, and eventually their plans for marriage.  I’ve helped them understand each other better and move toward their weddings feeling stronger and more prepared for what marriage entails.

During much of that time, I was an unmarried lesbian.  It was not lost on me that while I was spending many of my waking hours helping to launch and/or save heterosexual unions, I could not legally marry the person I loved most in the world.

Then, laws started changing.

Exactly.  And as they did, I began receiving more and more phone calls and emails from gay and lesbian couples who were planning weddings and requesting premarital counseling.  It’s a relatively new phenomenon.

That’s great that they’re seeking that out…

Yes, it is.   But I knew that for me to recommend a book to a gay couple, that resource needed to be tailored specifically to their situation, as there are particular issues gay couples routinely face which straight couples do not.

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