THERAPY FOR GAY MEN (Individuals and couples)
Dr. Michael Picucci was one of the first psychotherapists in New York City to practice as an openly gay man when he started his private practice in 1988. To date, about 50% of his client base are from the LGBT community with the other 50% comprised of heterosexual or otherwise identified people. Inspired by his personal experience and decades in private practice, Dr. Picucci has cultivated an approach that is uniquely sensitive to the challenges of LGBT individuals, couples and all with sexual diversities.
Michael grew up at a time when being homosexual was classified by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as a mental illness. Over the course of his life, Michael has been both a witness of and a catalyst for the many sea changes that have occurred in the collective consciousness of the United States. As he puts it, "in the early days, there was no such thing as 'coming out,' and making gay a 'normal' human behavior seemed impossible."
It's the arc of Dr. Picucci's experience as a gay man and a gay therapist that makes him extraordinarily aware and sensitive to the LGBT community and all others who live sexually marginalized lives. After the anti-discrimination riots at the Stonewall Bar in 1969, Michael found himself part of the leadership in the gay community. That collective quickly learned that rebellion would not end deep rooted discrimination toward people with different sexual orientations. Instead, Michael helped mobilize a new effort to end discrimination by encouraging members of the LGBT community to individually and personally 'come out', as an act of love, to families, friends and fellow coworkers. New acceptance emerged in many families and close circles along with many incidences of horrific and sad rejections. In the case of rejection, the community began to build structures in order to come together and more effectively support one another.
In 1981, Michael co-founded the The Center which greatly supported LGBT individuals as they came out to the people around them. To this day, the organization continues to provide health and wellness services along with sponsoring arts and cultural events. Working with the LGBT Center, Michael helped secure a grant in 1988 to fund alcoholism/addiction education for gay men shortly after initial research had shown that the community was two-thirds more likely to develop addictions. The funding received represented the first time a grant had been awarded by the US government to a gay organization.
Dr. Picucci saw that gay people in the 70s and 80s were often emotionally crippled or stunted due to traumatic and unconscious internalized homophobia (fear of same-sex relationships). Additionally, the AIDS epidemic emerged and became another enormous source of trauma for the community at the time. While Michael mysteriously survived the illness, he watched countless lives lost and witnessed the torturous suffering friends and lovers experienced from the disease. For 15 years HIV/AIDS was forever looming, bolstering his passion for supporting the resolution of trauma in those around him.
As his career as a gay therapist continued to expand and unfold, he observed clients, and himself, experience liberation from the homophobia trauma which he now calls Endurance Trauma (a low-grade threat to one's sense of safety on a daily basis). Gradually his trauma healing experience expanded from the LGBT community to the addictions community and now informs his work today with all cultures and conditions. A gift he cherishes; Michael credits the entirety of his experience as the foundation that supports him in facilitating meaningful resolution for those who are under the crippling weight of unresolved trauma.
To read more about Michael's experience awakening as a gay man and gay psychologist, his early days as a police officer, his life threatening battles with AIDS, cancer, heart disease and the many great teachers and experiences that guided him to become a pioneer in the art of healing, read a beautifully written interview with him conducted by Dr. Jane Hart by clicking here. The piece was originally featured on TheHealingBridge.com.