Out On The Couch
Gender pronouns are essential parts of understanding how individuals identify and addressing them appropriately. Using the correct gender pronouns in therapy will elevate your practice and help clients feel seen and heard. Here are the key things therapists should know about gender pronouns.
Allow Your Client To Set the Tone
Allowing your client to set the tone for gender pronoun usage is a key thing to know as a therapist. Avoiding assumptions and prejudices in therapeutic practices is important. For example, you should never assume someone’s pronoun based on their appearance or your own personal bias. Instead, give your client the opportunity to lead discussions on how they identify and how they would prefer you to address them. Letting your client set the tone will create an environment in which they can feel open to discuss their needs. Following the tone and pace your client sets is essential to giving them the best possible help and treatment.
Use the Pronouns Your Client Is Comfortable With
The next thing therapists should know about pronouns is the importance of simply using the pronouns with which your client is comfortable in terms of how they identify. There are several different pronouns and ways of addressing individuals who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, many of whom have dealt with people using incorrect pronouns when communicating. Addressing someone in an incorrect manner can be viewed as disrespectful, and it’s important to avoid any form of disrespect within a therapeutic practice. Open up a discussion with your client to discover what pronouns they’re most comfortable with when you communicate with them, and then utilize the appropriate pronouns throughout their appointments.
Create a Safe Space in Therapy
The last thing to know about gender pronouns is how they create a safe space in therapy. The LGBTQ+ community deals with an immense amount of judgment and oppression from society, so in spaces of therapy, it’s crucial that members of this community feel safe and accepted. Using an individual’s correct gender pronouns allows them to feel seen, heard, and understood. Creating this feeling of safety will enable you to focus on an individual’s effective treatment and therapy. You want your client to feel comfortable opening up about their identity and struggles so that you can provide them with the necessary help to improve their life and overall mental health.
Now that you’re aware of the key things therapists should know about gender pronouns, you can begin implementing these strategies into your therapeutic practice to better serve your clients. The Affirmative Couch offers LGBTQ training for therapists to improve overall practices and client satisfaction.