Deciding to see a therapist about gender questions can be very intimidating.
Will they try to talk me into being a certain gender? Will they try to talk me out of being a certain gender? Will they tell my parents everything I say?
Gender therapy (with a caring, affirming therapist) can provide a touchstone and support as you wrestle with questions of identity.
One of the benefits of gender therapy is that you don’t have to figure everything out by yourself. Your therapist will ask you questions and provide you space to talk about things that might be difficult to bring up with others.
Your gender therapist will get a sense of where you are at the moment in regards to many issues involving gender, such as your gender expression (clothing, hairstyle, etc), your gender congruence (how much your expression matches how you feel), and your internal sense of what your gender is.
We’ll talk about your history, things you like about yourself, and what you wish would be different.
This therapy is not directive, but is a chance for you to take a step back and look at all of the pieces that make you who you are.
What if I’m not sure if I’m trans?
That’s okay! You don’t have to pick a gender or even be a gender other than the one you were assigned at birth. Gender therapy is all about finding a place to talk with an expert to help you sort through all kinds of messy feelings.
The goal of gender therapy isn’t to become a different gender, but to help you feel more confident in whomever you are. If you’re transgender, great! If you’re cisgender, great! If you decide that none of the labels apply to you, that’s still great!
If you decide that you’d like you make changes, either socially (i.e. ways of dressing, pronouns) or physically (such as cross-sex hormones/HRT), your gender therapist can help point you to resources.
They’re also someone you can talk to while you go through the normal trial-and-error processes of exploring your identity.
The greatest benefit of gender therapy is that you don’t have to figure this out alone - you have an expert you can rely on to work with you through it all.
How long does gender therapy take?
Every person is different, and the length of time we might decide to work together depends on where you are starting and what your goals are.
Some people just want to have one session with a gender therapist, often “to make sure I’m trans.” While I can’t tell you if you are or aren’t (only you can really know!), many people find it helpful to talk with a specialist. I’m able to ask a lot of questions that other clinicians may not know are important. You can also ask me a lot of specific questions, including the all-important “is this normal?” concerns.
Other people prefer to work with a gender therapist for a longer period of time. They may want support during social transitions, coming out to loved ones, or to gain more confidence in their gender expression.
Many people also like to work with their gender therapist on other issues, such as anxiety or trauma, because their therapist understands how gender issues intersect with other struggles. I currently work with transgender patients who are learning to manage depression, anxiety, PTSD, and/or numbing behaviors. If you find a gender therapist who you trust and is also skilled in other modalities, you don’t automatically have to find a different therapist.
What will you tell my parents?
If you are a resident of North Carolina, I don’t have to tell your parents any details. I have all of my clients consent to their own treatment (along with a parental consent).
According to the law, this means you are the boss and determine what I can and cannot share.
The only exception to this is if you or someone else is being abused, exploited, or at risk of serious harm. All therapists are mandated reporters and required to report any of these issues.
Thoughts and feelings about gender do not fall into these categories and are not required to be shared with anyone.
If you’re interested in working with me about questions you or your child have about gender, let’s schedule a time to talk! Visit my client portal to pick a time that works for you.