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CAPS hosts ‘self-love’ workshop for OUTober

Long Beach State’s Counseling and Psychological Services held a workshop for LGBTQ+ students to discuss “self-love” and “queer shame,” at the University Student Union, Thursday.

According to psychologist Lauren Jensen, the workshop was based on a student survey taken during Week of Welcome earlier this semester. The results of the survey showed students preferred to have a discussion along with arts and crafts. 

“In being human shame is uncomfortable…we have to find a way to cope with it,” Jensen said. 

She described the different ways people respond to feeling shame. Some withdraw, some seek the approval of others and some seek power over others, she said. 

“To me [being a part of LBGTQ+ community] means having a history of resilience,” said Caleb Aparicio, a fourth-year psychology major. “Being part of this community is kind of like being part of just like a really big family. Sometimes, there’s disagreements in everything, but a lot of it is like support for each other.” 

Aparicio said that he engaged in self-harm growing up and struggled with his faith in God because of his identity. 

“I think the biggest struggle with me has been reconciling my identity with my faith,” Aparicio said. “But now, I’m at a point that I have my faith and I have my identity and I’m happy about it all.”

During the workshop, Jensen had students fold a piece of paper in half and write down their thoughts based on a series of questions. She told the students to write down what came to mind first. 

“We pick up things from the external that get transferred to us,” Jensen said. “You have to work through [the shame] to get rid of it, but [shame] was never yours to begin with. What are the indicators to you [of shame]?” 

Students wrote their internalized beliefs about themselves and how they feel they are perceived by others. They also wrote how they wished to be perceived by those around them. Jensen then opened a forum for students to discuss what they wrote. 

Some students talked about how painful it is when their family doesn’t use correct pronouns. Others talked about how they did not want to be mischaracterized.

“[Self-hatred has] never really been from external sources,” said Kylie Lindsey, a third-year psychology major. “It’s always just been my own experience and getting down on myself and feeling like I’m too much and that feeling of ‘well, why do I have to be this way?’ We’re allowed to be different.’”

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