Behavioral Health

Individual and Group Trauma-informed Mental Health Support

NOTE: Case management services are offered in-person M,W,F 12-6pm at the DC Center. Therapy sessions will remain offered as telehealth via Zoom only at this time.  Due to continued COVID-19 safety concerns and the challenges of masked and socially distanced in-person counseling in the community spaces of the DC Center, our individual and group counseling services are continued telehealth, utilizing HIPAA-compliant Zoom. When we can evaluate the safety and therapeutic efficacy of the logistics more confidently, we will offer a hybrid model of remote/in-person counseling services.

The DC Center for the LGBT Community is OVSJG* grant funded to offer crisis and/or short-term individual and group mental health counseling, case management and advocacy services for adult LGBTQ+ survivors of violence, abuse and trauma in the District of Columbia. Examples include types of victimization such as intimate partner violence/domestic violence, stalking, sexual and/or physical assault, hate crime (racial, religious, gender, sexual orientation, and/or other type of hate crime), bullying, physical abuse/neglect, dating victimization, elder abuse, family violence among other types of primary and secondary traumatization.

Three trauma-informed licensed mental health clinicians offer these services: therapists Christina Cappelletti, LICSW, Michele Johns, LGSW, (bilingual in Spanish), and Case Management & Advocacy Specialist Matty Beard, LGSW.

These services are intended for crisis counseling and/or short-term supportive care, to assist LGBTQ+ folks to stabilize an immediate crisis and mobilize or build their own natural supports. Please review the eligibility guidelines below and if we seem to be a good option for your situation, contact us at

For those seeking longer term ongoing therapy, please see the DC Center website business directory for a number of mental health providers who list with us so that LGBTQ+ clients can find them more easily. If you look at their posts, you can learn about the issues they cover, their costs, etc. If you need assistance with this, please let us know.

*DCAVP crisis, short-term and group counseling, case management and advocacy services are made possible under Grant #2023-MDCC-01, awarded by the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, Executive Office of the Mayor, District of Columbia.

Eligibility Guidelines

Please review these guidelines about the scope of our services and let us know if we can assist you.

Identity Eligibility

Identify as LGBQIA/TGNC+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, transgender, gender nonconforming +) survivor of traumatic victimization, not limited to, but could include physical, sexual, psychological, spiritual assault, aggression, intimidation and abuse, one-time or ongoing, interpersonal or systemic, the symptoms of which cause significant dysfunction in home or work life.

Age Eligibility

Services are appropriate for adult clients, ages 18 and above; Ages under 18 will be referred to LGBTQ+ youth services, such as SMYAL, WWH Youth & Family Services, Wanda Alston Foundation, etc.

Geographical Eligibility

Clients live in one of the DC Quadrants or “DMV area” (DC/VA/MD) 

If requests for services come from LGBTQ+ clients outside the area, we can assist with services if the trauma, abuse or violence occurred in the DC area. Otherwise, we can assist with info & referral to help get survivors connected to appropriate assistance.

Financial Eligibility

Our support services are grant-funded and are offered at no cost to help LGBTQ+ survivors in acute crisis and/or LGBTQ+ survivors who are struggling to find LGBTQ+ trauma-informed services within their ability to pay or in their insurance networks.

Ideally, for LGBTQ+ survivors who have sufficient income and insurance, we will work to responsibly refer you to non-DCAVP LGBTQ+ competent providers either immediately or as soon as possible (crisis or short-term support may be provided if other options are unavailable).

We do recognize, however, that it can be very difficult, even with resources, to find appropriate and affordable LGBTQ+ competent providers with immediate or reasonable availability. We do our best to assist everyone who seeks help with us with support and with referrals.

Time-limits, Frequency and Type of Support Sessions

  1. Crisis: 30-90 minute sessions, as determined by circumstances, as needed for up to 2 weeks until getting crisis triaged and/or connected to appropriate ongoing care
  2. Individual: 45-minute sessions once weekly or every other week, depending on availability, remote and/or in-person (when available), for 3-6 months, to assist with acute to trauma-history response management (establishing safety, symptom management, and plan for future recovery needs); re-assessment will occur to determine progress, any continued type of need and make plan for next steps 
  3. Working Through Trauma Groups: 10-week 90-minute sessions, closed membership, remote and/or in-person (when available), offered a few times each year (see details of these groups here)
  4. Case Management & Advocacy sessions: 30-120 minute sessions as needed to assist in connecting with providers and services related to the client’s needs.

Trauma-informed Standards of Care

  • Crisis Care: Primary/Secondary Trauma Abbreviated Intake/Triage, Immediate Safety/Needs Assessment, Crisis Stabilization, Crisis Counseling, Crisis Referral and Connection to Any Appropriate Additional Services, Crisis Response Accompaniment (if needed), Assessment for Continued Therapeutic Trauma Symptom Care
  • Therapeutic Trauma Symptom Care (Individual and Group Therapy): Full Intake, Safety Assessment, Symptom Review, Psychoeducation, Strengths-based Counseling, Management Development and Application of Skills, Resiliency Planning
  • Termination and/or Continuity of Care: DC Center has mental health staff capacity to offer short-term counseling to address a waiting list of LGBTQ+ trauma survivors and acute crisis clients. Clients who are stabilized and actively practicing resiliency skills can be moved into one of our groups, or referred to continue individual or group therapy with a non-DCAVP therapist in the LGBTQ+ competent clinicians network.
  • Not offered: Long-term Therapy, Couples Therapy, Psychiatric or Pain Medication Management

Individual Psychotherapy Duration Guideline: 

  1. Phase 1: 3 to 6 months, acute to trauma-response management (safety, symptom management, plan for future recovery needs) 
  2. Phase 2: Re-assessment to after Phase 1 for termination or referral. Continue treatment if still/new acute for 3 more months (if trouble with ADL’s, getting to work, etc), or 2. Terminate and/or Refer, if appropriate (to DCAVP therapy groups, other relevant groups, and/or outside LGBTQ+ competent therapist)
  3. Phase 3: For those still assessed as acute, re-assessment at 3 more months to determine next steps

LGBTQ+ Trauma-informed Individual and Group Therapy Referrals

Client Reading Resources 

  • Transforming The Living Legacy of Trauma: A Workbook for Survivors and Therapists, by Dr. Janina Fisher
  • Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self-Alienation, by Janina Fisher 
  • Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy, by Dr. Francine Shapiro 
  • Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body, by Dr. Peter Levine

Behavioral Health Events

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