Meet David Hutsell, Psy.D. (he/him & they/them)
Licensed Psychologist (Please feel free to use either pronoun when referring to me.)
Welcome! As a queer, nonbinary psychologist, I am passionate about helping LGBTQ clients find empowerment through identity, slow down to become more attuned to their bodies and minds, foster a greater sense of self-compassion, and examine the impacts of relationships and cultural context. I invite you to read further to see if I may be a good fit for what you’re looking for in a therapist.
My Approach to Therapy
You probably don’t need me to tell you that without a safe, trusting relationship, it’s quite difficult to express vulnerability with anyone – even a therapist. With this in mind, our early work together will involve us building connection and establishing safety. This includes creating plenty of space for you to ask questions about me, my style, and therapy itself. We’ll also likely talk about similarities and differences between our sets of identities so we can acknowledge differences in power and privilege between us. By doing so, my goal is for us both to be more aware of how these components may influence our work together and also help me better understand your unique constellation of life experiences and perspectives.
Aside from core values of trust and safety, I tend to emphasize curiosity about three key areas, with the first being how we relate to others in our lives (e.g., friends and family, experiences of marginalization and stigma, etc.) and how these relationships shape how we feel and move through the world. Next, I like to explore how we relate to ourselves, including how aware we are of our inner experience (e.g., emotions) and how much compassion and care we give ourselves. Finally, I also focus on the therapeutic relationship or what happens “in the room” during sessions. I will actively check in to see what’s coming up for you as we talk, routinely ask for feedback about how well (or not) we’re working together, and also share my own thoughts and reactions to make sure I’m hearing you accurately.
As you gain more knowledge and insight about these three areas, my hope is that you can harness that information to make confident, informed decisions about how you want the rest of your story to unfold. To further boost that confidence, we may also integrate techniques from other styles of therapy. For example, we might discuss different coping skills from more behavior-oriented approaches (e.g., Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) or perhaps how concepts from mindfulness may facilitate a greater sense of peace. Regardless of the specific blend of techniques we’ll use together, we’ll discuss the rationale for each and make changes (incorporating your feedback) as needed to best ensure our sessions honor your story and meet your needs.
Areas of Focus
I think of my areas of expertise and skill as falling into two categories:
- First, I deeply enjoy being able to provide a safe, inclusive atmosphere for LGBTQ folks to discuss their concerns. Some clients seek me out to focus on: exploring their identity and its various intersections, developing plans for coming out, cultivating more gender euphoria and healing from gender dysphoria, and/or gain extra help coping with discrimination or non-affirming environments/people. Additionally, I am able to write referral letters for individuals seeking gender-affirming medical care. All that said, it’s also just as likely that queer and trans clients seek me out to have their identity recognized and affirmed while getting help with something unrelated to being LGBTQ.
- The other category is far more broad, as I am a generalist, which means I am comfortable working with folks from various backgrounds and presenting concerns. Some of the more frequently reported reasons that bring my clients to therapy (regardless of their identity) include: depression, anxiety, partner and relationship concerns (including relationships that incorporate kink or non-monogamy), adjusting to change/transitions, and trauma. My comfort working with a wide range of people and issues comes from training and work experience that span a variety of treatment settings, including community mental health, jails and courts, psychiatric inpatient units, schools, college counseling centers, and private practice.
More About Me
I was born and raised in a small rural community in east Tennessee, where I spent many weekends and summers helping out on my family’s small cattle farm. While I enjoyed farm work (especially driving tractors), I eventually discovered my queer identity and noted how my region was sometimes scary and unsafe for those like me. I wanted more safety and agency, and I decided the best way to do this was through higher education. This decision led me to get my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from East Tennessee State University. I then obtained my Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati, and earned my Doctor of Psychology degree from Spalding University (after completing my APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship at the University at Buffalo’s counseling center).
The personal and educational journey I outlined above naturally led me to develop a specialty providing affirming therapy to LGBTQ folks and other marginalized communities. That decision was further reinforced by my observation that far too often instances of discrimination and marginalization force us to make an unfortunate choice of living authentically versus our emotional and/or physical safety. My hope is that therapy doesn’t demand this of anyone so my clients can more comfortably harness their time and energy to reach their goals and cultivate joy. To best ensure that’s the outcome of therapy, I’ve also sought out additional resources, training, and perspectives. Some of these endeavors have included conducting research with folks from the queer community (e.g., exploring how queer men of color navigate racism on dating apps and investigating how biphobia is expressed within the LGBTQ community), receiving mentorship from like-minded supervisors and elders, and maintaining membership in professional organizations that similarly focus on LGBTQ and social justice issues.
If you’d like to learn more about my educational and professional qualifications, please feel free to browse my curriculum vita (CV) here.
Finally, when I’m not working you can often find me playing video games. Depending on my mood, I may gravitate towards games that allow for a lot of freedom and personal choice (like my all-time favorite game, Fallout: New Vegas), those that are more relaxing/chill, or something a bit more heart-pounding/action-oriented. I also enjoy tinkering with new cooking recipes, exploring the East Coast with my partner, and visiting zoos that have red pandas.
Payment & Insurance
I am an in-network provider with BCBS PPO plans, which also include Anthem, Highmark, Horizon, and other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. I also work with clients using private pay, sliding scale, or out-of-network benefits. My services are available to folks living in any of 39+ states across the country.