Transgender? Gender non-conforming? Gender fluid? Non-binary? What’s the difference? Is there a difference? Well, to a traditional therapist, these terms may seem foreign or interchangeable but to a gender specialist these terms are not only familiar but are important aspects of your identity.
What is a Gender Specialist?
A gender specialist is a psychotherapist with specific training in gender identity. With a gender specialist, you will be completely supported in where you are in your life now and in where you want to go regarding your gender identity. In addition, a gender specialist utilizes a gender affirmative treatment model, meaning you will be validated and supported in finding your authentic gender identity and gender expression.
For clients where transition is an option to explore, a gender identity specialist will work within the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) ethical guidelines, providing the support you need in order to move forward in your journey. And, although not all clients choose or need medical intervention, all clients will be helped in figuring out their own unique path.
What is a Session like?
So what’s a session like? Well it begins like any other session where the client and the therapist get to know each other a bit. The major focus however will be on gender and in exploring the discomforts of either the incongruence between how you feel and the body you were born into or the incongruence between the body you were born into and the gender role you feel society is expecting you to play.
In these sessions at IPG, the therapist will never determine your gender identity or expression for you. Rather, the therapist will be exploring it along with you.
Although there are many things that will need to be addressed and that takes time, in the first session, you will at least be able to put together an outline of your journey.
For some people the journey may be about how to expand their idea of gender roles and for others, the journey may be about how to access the medical system which would facilitate transition allowing the body to represent your true gender expression. In many cases the social aspect of gender identity is also explored
If a medical transition is part of the journey, the gender specialist may be asked to write a letter on behalf of the client allowing the client access to hormonal treatment and whatever surgeries may be needed. The good thing is that unlike regular therapists, a gender identity specialist will be able to inform you of the benefits and risks of your decisions and will be able to make referrals to reputable resources and physicians.
Your Gender Identity is Important to Who Your Are
Your gender identity and expression are an important part of who you are. You are unique, valuable and precious. If your gender or gender identity is not congruent to how you feel inside, don’t trust that to just anybody. Seek out a gender specialist at IPG Counseling. You’re worth it.