Realizing you’re transgender can be exhilarating and frustrating
Things make sense! Instead of wishing you were a girl, you can just be a girl. Instead of feeling like no gender really fits, you don’t have to have a gender. Moving from what you were assigned at birth to who you really are is a fantastic experience.
At the same time, it can be frustrating when other people don’t get it. Family members might act like they’ve lost a child, when you’ve been the same person this whole time. Teachers and doctors might act weird. And society - yeah, there's some issues there.
If you’re transgender, genderqueer, or haven’t found a identity that feels right, please reach out. I’d love to help you be more fully who you are.
I’ve learned something in all my time working with teens:
the way out is to be more - not less - of you.
What do we do in therapy?
Therapy involves investigating, reflecting, and doing. How are you feeling? What affects your mood? What expectations are you holding? What do you connect with? What makes you come alive? In therapy, we work together to parse and understand your feelings. We turn this miasma into something manageable - even usable.
Therapy happens in person. Video therapy is offered in cases of inclement weather or illness.
You deserve competent providers.
My wife realized she was transgender a few months into our marriage. As we started looking into doctors and therapists who could support her, I realized how few providers were skilled in dealing with these issues. Transgender and non-binary people shouldn’t have to know more than their doctors or therapists in order to receive adequate care. I can't claim to understand what it's like to be another person. What I can promise is that I will try to be as competent and well-equipped as I can in order to navigate this together.
Therapy supports both teens AND their families
I find that teenagers benefit when their parents are also supported. While there's more information out there now, many parents grew up without an understanding of gender identity issues. They want to know more about what their teen is going through. Parents often feel more confident when they understand what it means to be transgender.
Change impacts the entire family. No matter how supportive family members are, they still have to adapt. They have to adjust their internal image of their child, possibly including new pronouns and a different name. They will have to say let go of old expectations of their teen. New hopes and fears - of different likelhoods - will take their place.
Families can find their social circle changed. Just like transgender and non-binary teens, parents can face social stigma. "How much do I want to tell acquaintances who are good running buddies but not the most sensitive people? If my boss's boss says something transphobic, what should I do? If I say nothing, am I betraying my child? If I say something, will I get a reputation for being insubordinate?" I find that parents benefit from a space to process all of this stress. Otherwise, they might end up directing it at their teen.
According to the state of North Carolina, teens are the boss. They can consent to mental health treatment without needing their parent’s consent. Their mental health information is also confidential, except in severe situations (where “notification is essential to the life or health of the minor” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90‐21.4). I encourage all teens collaborate with their families to the extent that they feel comfortable.
Therapy isn’t one-size-fits-all. Some benefit in a few sessions, while others create huge changes over several sessions.
50-minute sessions are $175.
The initial 80-minute session is $280. This involves a comprehensive assessment, including history and current functioning. Often, multiple family members will provide their perspectives and concerns.
Kimberly Vered Shashoua is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, able to provide therapy in the states of North Carolina (#C011412) and Texas (#59797). Online therapy is available for people who are unable to attend therapy in-person.
I do not take insurance, but I can provide a superbill that you can send to your insurance.
Every teen is unique and has different needs. If after the initial consultation, it seems like we might not be a match, I am happy to provide referrals. Asheville has a robust network of therapists, and I would be glad to help your family find the best person for your needs.
Parents, ready to start?
Schedule your free 15-minute phone consultation today.
Let's see how we can work together to help bring your child into a better life.