Flourish Therapy: The Powerful Experience of Being Heard
Activism, Outreach and Education
Flourish Therapy Inc.
1426 E 820 N., Orem, Utah | 385.309.1038
email@example.com | flourishtherapy.org
Located in Orem, Utah, Flourish Therapy was established in February of 2017 with the noble and necessary goal to provide care and therapy for those in the LGBTQ+ community who may not be able to find care elsewhere. Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen, PhD, LMFT, is one of the founding members of Flourish, which also includes Phil Scoville, M.S., LMFT, and Triston Morgan, PhD, LMFT. Tensmeyer Hansen, the CEO of Flourish Therapy, continually strives to meet the organization’s goal, which begins with their name. “The word ‘flourish’ describes how something grows when it’s allowed to become what it is meant to be,” Tensmeyer Hansen says.
“Services that assume a spectrum of valid identities can help clients feel safe in addressing their issues in therapy.”
Regarding Flourish Therapy’s LGBTQ+ focus, Tensmeyer Hansen says, “Services that assume a spectrum of valid identities can help clients feel safe in addressing their issues in therapy.” Feeling isolated can be common when someone doesn’t conform to traditional gender identity, sexuality and/or orientation. Additionally, the act of having to explain and/or justify one’s experience to a therapist in what is purportedly a safe space can be detrimental to a client’s well-being. At Flourish Therapy, clients don’t have to go through the enervating task of explaining their LGBTQ+ experience, as Flourish therapists already empathize.
“Finding a therapist who understands your identity may be as simple as finding a therapist who shares your identity,” Tensmeyer Hansen says. Where other therapeutic institutions may only list two or three gender identities on their intake forms, Flourish Therapy gives clients the freedom to express themselves in any way that suits them, rather than checking a box.
“Finding a therapist who understands your identity may be as simple as finding a therapist who shares your identity.”
Kelly Page, M.A., ACMHC, is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a therapist at Flourish Therapy. “Having a trauma-informed lens I think is critical first and foremost,” Page says. Without this lens, providers can’t give their clients the tools they need to view their traumas in a different light in order to better themselves. Trauma can refer to a negative self-worth, familial rejection, internalized homophobia or chronic shame, for example. Knowing the real impact and extent of these traumas is what allows providers at Flourish Therapy to aid their clients to survive, grow and thrive.
Kimberly Anderson, MFA, M.A., AMFT, is one of the many experienced therapists providing care at Flourish Therapy. Anderson is a transgender woman and was raised in an orthodox Mormon home, living as a boy on a horse-farm in rural Northern Utah. “When my clients see me, they know who I am and my particular path through life,” she says. “Because I am an openly queer and transgender woman, there is an immediate environment of safety, trust and commonality of experience when I meet with my trans and nonbinary clients. They know they don’t have to explain [or justify] anything … They know my experience is very similar to theirs, and connections are made nearly immediately.”
Although Flourish Therapy doesn’t offer direct access to gender-affirming medical treatments such as hormone treatment or surgery, they crucially help patients be affirmed in their identity. For instance, they write letters of recommendation for gender-affirming surgeries. No client is ever pushed to accept one identity or another, and therapists aid clients in deciding for themselves which unique path is best for an individual in order to live authentically as their true selves. This is to say that all identities and genders are viewed as central at Flourish.
Flourish Therapy partners with Utah institutions and care providers that help them in their efforts. Partners include The OUT Foundation (comprising LGBTQ+ BYU alumni) to provide free therapy to LGBTQ+ BYU students. They also receive support through the Bastian Foundation, which is located in Orem and provides funding and grants to LGBTQ+ institutions.
Flourish Therapy is a nonprofit organization, and as such, the center relies heavily on donations. The average cost of one session is about $52, and most of the sessions cost less than $50 with over 100 free sessions of therapy given out each month to those who cannot afford it. Every donation goes toward helping to care for and save the life of one of Flourish Therapy’s many clients. With the demand for more therapy growing, at over 70 patient applications received a month, so, too, does the need for therapists as the pandemic lingers. “We need more therapists who identify as queer and genderqueer to offer evidence-based mental health services to these young people,” Tensmeyer Hansen says.
Throughout the pandemic, Flourish Therapy has been providing HIPAA-compliant teletherapy for all its patients, many of whom have found comfort and support in the safe, virtual-therapy space. Additionally, after renovating during the pandemic, Flourish Therapy will be adding eight new therapy rooms at the Orem location and several more in the Salt Lake Valley to help meet the demand for more in-person sessions.
“We need more therapists who identify as queer and genderqueer to offer evidence-based mental health services to these young people.”
Saving and improving lives is Flourish Therapy’s mission. Each time a person can receive the care they need, the mission is fulfilled. Should anyone think they may need what Flourish has to provide or wish to make a donation, go to flourishtherapy.org. Page says, “I often say that this is the craziest job in the world because the lows are so low, but the highs are so high, and it’s true. There is no better feeling than the feeling that you are making some kind of positive impact with your day—no matter how small.”