Do Your Gender, Your Own Way
My job is to provide gender therapy which supports you on your journey, whatever that looks like. It's not my job to be the gender police. Whether you identify as a man, woman, transgender, genderqueer, nonbinary, genderfluid, or agender, I know that you are the expert on you and you know what's right for you.
Sometimes I see clients who aren't yet sure what's right for them-- that's a normal part of self-awareness. There is still a myth that all trans and queer folks know from a young age that their true gender does not match their assigned gender. Or, equally pernicious, a myth that gender non-conforming folks experience a moment of revelation in which their true gender to shown to them by their deeper selves. While people do have such histories and experiences, there are lots and lots of folks who did not struggle with gender identity issues as children, and lots and lots of other folks who find themselves questioning their gender. If you fit into the later categories I want to reassure you that you are normal.
Why I Do Gender Therapy
I spent an early chunk of my adult life identifying as a lesbian and an even larger chunk identifying as queer. Before I got my Master of Social Work degree, I did undergraduate and graduate work in gender studies. I was particularly interested in how individuals and communities constructed different boundaries and therefore different definitions of lesbian, queer, masculine, and feminine. Then, about 15 years ago (still before I was even working as a therapist) I had a partner who came out as a transman during our relationship. I supported him and participated in his therapy and medical process as much as he wanted me to. Dismayed by the few choices he had for gender therapy, and even more dismayed that none of those choices were queer friendly, it became important to me to support others who wanted to do their gender in their own way.
We Will Work Together
I do not want to be a gatekeeper and I am not the expert on your gender. I do follow WPATH recommendations. However, there's a great deal of flexibility in those guidelines. Here's WPATH talking about flexibility in the Standards of Care:
The SOC are intended to be flexible in order to meet the diverse health care needs of transsexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming people. (SOC, p. 2)
There's no minimum amount of time that you have to be in therapy in order to get hormones or have surgery.
The Role of Gender Therapy in Gender Affirmation and Gender Transition
WPATH guidelines and my clinical experience inform my gender therapy process. Below is a brief overview of what you can expect. (For more about how I do individual counseling, click here). I will work with you to adapt this process to your own wishes and needs.
- Provide you with additional emotional support
- Discuss options for including your family and friends in your therapy, if you'd like. There are a number of ways we can do this if it would be helpful to your process.
- Gather information about your history and current situation to assess for gender dysphoria
- Encourage you to explore and evaluate your options for gender identity, expression, and medical treatments.
- Assess and, as needed, diagnose and provide treatment options mental health concerns
- It's not unusual for people seeking gender therapy to also have mental health issues that are sufficiently distinct from their gender concerns that I recommend psychotherapy for these issues.
- If this is your situation, this does not necessarily mean that your transition plans need to change. Even WPATH writes: "The presence of co-existing mental health concerns does not necessarily preclude possible changes in gender role or access to feminizing/masculinizing hormones or surgery; rather, these concerns need to be optimally managed prior to or concurrent with treatment of gender dysphoria."
- If you're interested in hormone therapy-- assess the appropriateness, facilitate informed consent, and then refer you to a medical professional who can provide that treatment.
- If you're interested in surgery-- assess the appropriateness, facilitate informed consent, and then refer you to a medical professional who can provide that treatment.
Again, I really want to reassure you that this is a flexible process that you and I will tailor to your needs.
Get A Free Consultation
If you'd like to get started with personal growth counseling, give me a call at 614-398-2051. We'll find time for your free 15 minute consultation. During the consultation, you can ask your questions and we will explore if we'd be a good match. Call or email anytime to talk with me and find out more.