Dr. Rick Pimental-Habib arrived in Chattanooga almost a year ago and has quickly become a very positive addition to the Chattanooga GLBT community.

“Dr. Rick,” as everyone affectionately refers to him, set up his practice in Chattanooga following a year-long hiatus during which he became more familiar with Chattanooga and her people.

Born in Massachusetts, Dr. Rick attended college in California, where he opened his first practice in Los Angeles. That practice continued for 15 years, during which he aided in the establishment of HIV/AIDS clinics and led trainings on peer counseling for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Wanting to focus on a wider community, he moved to a small town near the Sequoyah National Forest where he finished his second book. 

Following that, he then moved to southern Florida where he practiced for five years. Also during this twenty-year time frame, Dr. Rick has been interviewed by and/or written columns for “The Advocate,” “POZ,” “Genre,” and “Pride and Equality” publications. He also previously had a weekly radio show as a relationship specialist for XM radio.

Dr. Rick wants our community to know that he is offering a “safe haven.” He used those two words many times as we spoke, stating that his main goal is to make his patients feel as if they are in a setting where they can open themselves up and become who they really are. He specializes in relationships, self-esteem, coming out, HIV/ AIDS, loss and grief counseling, childhood issues, parenting and alternative families, stress, depression, addiction and recovery, and, most importantly, mind/body wellness.

Learning about how some of his colleagues address the gay community in this area, Dr. Rick has been appalled on more than one occasion. He has heard horror stories of gay men and lesbians being told by professionals that their lifestyle is “unnatural” and that it deserves the usual “abomination” label. Dr. Rick is planning on contacting psychologists in the area to let them know that if they are not willing or capable of dealing with gay and lesbian patients, they can refer those patients to him. He offers his status as a gay man as evidence of that, in addition to his Ph.D.

Dr. Rick’s two books, “Empowering the Tribe,” a positive guide to gay and lesbian self-esteem, and “The Power of a Partner,” give insights into his expertise. He is also planning a gay men’s support group as well as hypnotherapy for wellness. It is hoped that the support group will contribute to additional social outlets for the community. People in the GLBT community often find it difficult to communicate which can have several consequences, including an inability to be comfortable with oneself, participation in risky behaviors, and lack of acceptance in the larger community, as well as within the gay community itself. These factors can cause a domino effect, escalating to unhealthy relationships and undermining self-value. The end result can ultimately be depression. Dr. Rick offers his “safe haven” to counter these forces.

For more information, visit Dr. Rick’s Web site at www.drrph.com, or call (561) 504-0450 (initial phone consult is free).
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