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.
How can counseling for gender issues and questions help me?
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.
There are so many issues involving gender! These include:
Your gender expression (clothing, hairstyle, etc)
Your gender congruence (how much your expression matches how you feel)
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. (That’s actually why I created the Transgender Road Map consultation).
These people want to talk to an expert in gender identity issues “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?”
Therapy for gender dysphoria in adults and teenagers
If you are struggling with gender dysphoria, having a gender dysphoria expert therapist can help. People wanting therapy for gender dysphoria often prefer to work with a gender therapist for a longer period of time.
Gender therapy can cover so many topics!
You can get support during social transitions, plan to come out to loved ones, or gain more confidence in your 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.
I live in North Carolina. What will you tell my parents about our gender therapy sessions?
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. Gender doesn’t fall into any of these categories!
Your thoughts and feelings about gender identity are not required to be shared with anyone.
I live in Texas. What will you tell my parents about my therapy for gender dysphoria?
The law in Texas is a little different. Parents may legally know about what goes on in therapy.
I believe that it’s hard to feel safe talking about personal issues if you know whatever you say will go back to your parents.
Before we start therapy, I talk to the parents of any teenager starting gender therapy. We will figure out a way for the teenager to feel respected and the parent to feel connected to the process. (Usually, this is done by having the teenager share things themselves).
The most important thing I can do is give my transgender and questioning clients a safe space.
If a parent is adamant that they must know every detail of what is said in therapy, I’m probably not the right therapist for them. (And that’s okay!) So far, I’ve been able to figure out a middle ground with all my clients - where both the parents and their teen feel safe and included.
Counseling, support, and resources for gender issues
Want more support? Vered Counseling is a counseling clinic for transgender and LGBTQIA individuals.
Vered Counseling offers in-person and online counseling for transgender and gender nonconforming folx. Read more about our therapy for transgender teens or counseling for transgender adults.
Want straightforward education and problem-solving? see if a transgender road map session would be right for you. We also provide support for parents of transgender adults and teens.
To get started with our counseling and education services, contact Vered Counseling today!