sort of gender identity issues might bring you into therapy? You might
feel like your gender expression is different than what others around
you have expected. You may feel like you were born the wrong
sex/gender. You may identify as transgender or transsexual and want a
therapist who already gets what that means. You might want to explore
psychological and medical options for changing your sex/gender. Or you
might want a place to talk about what it means to be gender
non-conforming or variant in a culture that sees gender as only a
binary (feminine women and masculine men).
Transgender and gender variant people seek treatment for all the issues people in general do! Additional
reasons for seeking therapy may include (but are not limited to):
1. Gender identity questioning: Some liken the process of questioning one's assigned at
birth sex/gender to a coming out process of sorts. Where do you start?
How do you understand yourself in terms of gender? Who will you tell and how? It may help to have
professional support as you question what it means to you to feel
gender variant or to experience your sex differently than others around
you dictate. 2. Support
regarding coping with the impact of societal stigma: therapy can
provide a safe space to recover from damage done in the rest of the
world. your therapist can also help link you to local support systems
and transgender related resources.
3. Gender variance and trauma:
Have you experienced job, housing or workplace discrimination due to
your gender? Have you been bullied, harassed or physically harmed? Have
you experienced abuse or rejection within your family? All of these are
traumatic experiences. In addition, some studies suggest that as many
as 1 in 2 transgender individuals have experienced some form of sexual
assault. You deserve to get help healing from these experiences; a
transgender and trauma informed therapist is optimal.
4. Transition planning and education: You may want to discuss, with an informed and
understanding professional, how to transition with friends, family
and/or in the workplace. You may want to seek information about
transitioning options. These include information and support regarding
legal steps such as a name change and medical steps such as
cross-gender hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery options. Some
doctors require assessment and/or therapy by a qualified therapist
prior to starting hormone treatment or surgical procedures. This puts
the therapist is a gatekeeper role, a situation that can be
uncomfortable for you. Some doctors operate from an informed consent
approach is to work with you to meet the requirements necessary for
your transition goals. What counts is that
you receive the support you need.
5. Post-transitioning issues:
You may want to have support on an ongoing basis, as you get used to
living in your new sex/gender.
dressing issues: Is cross dressing related to your gender identity? Not everyone who cross dresses is transgender. Sorting
this out and addressing the role cross dressing plays in your life is a
reason some seek therapy.
7. Significant Other, Partner and Family
Therapy: Partners/families of transgender people may also seek therapy
services for education and support. Parents of gender variant
children need information and resources to guide them in supporting
their children. You may want to utilize therapy to help you educate your family about your gender and transition plans. As a
partner of someone undergoing transition, you may question what this
will mean for the relationship or even your own identity.
Orientation Issues: Some people experiences changes in their sexual
orientation upon transitioning. Some fear that they will. As a partner
of a transgender person, you may wonder what it means about your own
sexual orientation as your partner changes genders.
I have many
years of experience with transgender issues and communities. I have
walked with many clients through the process of questioning gender,
coming out and choosing a transition path that works for them. I have
worked with gender variant and gender non-conforming clients who have
no wish to medically transition but want a place to address their lives
and struggles without having to first educate a therapist. I have
provided education and training to organizations and agencies regarding
understanding transgender issues and becoming more trans-inclusive.
In addition to office visits, I believe in providing online therapy services
because I am keenly aware that not every transgender or gender variant
person lives in an area where they can easily access culturally
competent therapy. You do not have to deal with these issues alone.