Gender Dysphoria (Transgender)
What do you need to feel good about yourself?
The gender-affirmative approach often presumes that those expressing a desire to adopt a gender identity different from their assigned sex should automatically be classified as transgender, with the primary focus of therapy being to facilitate their transition.
At our center, we advocate for a more comprehensive and informed approach. We firmly believe that individuals contemplating gender transition, which entails significant and lasting changes, deserve a guided and expert-led process. After all, what is the value of seeking guidance from a therapist if they lack the specialized expertise to navigate this complex journey with you?
What is a therapy first approach?
"In the Re/DeTrans Canada study, study participants expressed the most support for individualized care...but they added that care should be offered from a neutral clinical position that embraces nonbinary identities, gender nonconformity, and non-medical interventions to address gender dysphoria. In the Detrans Discourses study some transitional-age young adults (e.g., 18) reported they accessed hormones at a gender clinic and were asked to sign an informed consent form which did not serve their needs given they felt they lacked support in making a decision. At the time, it felt like appropriate care, but in hindsight it was insufficient."
Due to a growing body of research the importance of a therapy first approach to gender dysphoria continues to grow. Numerous detransitioners speak about feeling sure at the time, but later recognizing that their dysphoria was based on something other than being trans. Therapy first allows for broader consideration of what a client needs beyond looking at risks/benefits of specific medication or procedures.
Therapy first sets aside the notion of a predetermined outcome, such as reverting to one's assigned birth sex, and instead centers on a patient-focused process. Its core objective is to delve into, comprehend, and address the multifaceted factors contributing to distress within an individual's life.
Treatment for gender dysphoria often encompasses three distinct domains:
1. **Exploration of Gender Perceptions:** This involves a deep dive into an individual's understanding of gender, its far-reaching effects, and the implications it carries.
2. **Gender Affirming Care (e.g., Hormone Therapy or Surgery):** We want to clarify that IncreMental Health Tips does not offer this aspect of treatment.
3. **Strategies for Distress Reduction:** Crafting techniques to alleviate the distress experienced is a vital part of the therapeutic process.
Therapy first extends over an extended duration, usually spanning a year or more, in order to sufficiently address the intricate issues that invariably punctuate the lives of young individuals grappling with gender dysphoria. These complexities are not easily discerned, let alone comprehended and resolved, in a mere handful of sessions. Furthermore, older individuals exploring their gender identity may confront a different set of questions or a heightened level of complexity.
When it comes to managing suicidality in individuals experiencing gender-related distress, we use the COLUMBIA-SUICIDE SEVERITY RATING SCALE and safety planning. It's important to note that there is limited evidence to suggest that transitioning significantly reduces the risk of completed suicide. This risk can persist even after affirmation and/or medical transition.
Accuracy of Information
Some young and vulnerable individuals may hold the belief that medical and surgical treatments can fully transform their biological sex, aligning it with their desired gender. It is crucial to embark on a thoughtful examination of the anticipated benefits of transitioning while concurrently engaging in age-appropriate discussions about the biological realities of biological sex. Moreover, it's essential to disentangle these biological realities from culturally constructed gender role stereotypes.
Training and Associations
Gender and Socioeconomic status
Over the Rainbow: Working with the LGBTQ Community
Recognizing and Overcoming Unconscious Bias for Employees and Supervisors in the Healthcare Industry
Gender Affirming Sex Therapy
Gender Affirming Surgeries: What is Helpful for Sex Therapists to Know by Women’s College Hospital Transition-Related Surgery (TRS) Program
Gender, Sexuality, Autism and Mental Health