Out On The Couch
LGBTQIA+ youth have a higher susceptibility to developing mental health disorders than people not in this group, along with a higher rate of body dysmorphia and gender dysphoria (Huerta, 2019). Struggles with body image can complicate symptoms and treatment. These higher risks are related to discrimination and mistreatment at home and in society (Trevor Project, [...]
Traumatic invalidation carries significant implications for therapists working with LGBTQIA+ clients. It is crucial to understand what traumatic invalidation is, its discernible effects on LGBTQIA+ people, and how society contributes to an invalidating environment for historically marginalized communities. For mental health professionals, understanding and addressing traumatic invalidation within the context of working with LGBTQIA+ communities [...]
A Rise in Self-Diagnosis
Some DSM-trained clinicians may bristle when a patient identifies with a mental health diagnosis they have come to informally. In recent months, a common concern voiced in supervision and among mental health providers is the increase in patients and clients questioning if they embody characteristics of Autism.
Self-reflection is arguably a [...]
Gender Dysphoria disproportionately affects transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) communities, and can impact mental health in many ways. For many TGNB individuals, affirmative therapists offer a space—perhaps the first space—to pursue therapy that accepts them for who they are. One of the key elements of affirmative therapy is combining affirmation with exploration, but always in the [...]
How It Begins
Any life transition is hard. The human condition is a complicated one at best. It is riddled with pain, sorrow, confusion, darkness, and the unknown. However, that also comes with the gift of growth, beauty, love, happiness, peace and of course courage to live the life each of us deserves. As these [...]
Relationships between therapists and clients can involve vulnerability. Exploring topics related to identity is delicate work. Both client and therapist may be impacted by their education, knowledge, and preconceptions. Moreover, therapy often requires discomfort. None of this is news but: but managing conflict while centering your client’s experiences takes skill and experience.
Affirmative therapy requires [...]
Gender pronouns are an essential part of understanding how an individual identifies and communicating with them appropriately. As a therapist, using the correct gender pronouns for your clients will elevate your practice by helping them feel both seen and heard. If you don’t identify as trans or gender non-binary (TGNB) yourself, it can be hard [...]
The fight for LGBTQ+ rights has come a long way, but the battle for acceptance is far from over. Therapists working with clients who are members of the LGBTQ+ community commonly see elevated rates of mental health challenges in this population, including anxiety, depression, trauma, disordered eating, and even suicidal ideation (Young & Fisher-Borne, 2018). Many [...]
Approximately 1.9 million youth across the United States between the ages of 13 and 17 identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (Williams Institute, 2020). Nearly 70 percent of homeless transgender teens are homeless due to family exclusion (Williams Institute, 2020). Even when LGBTQIA+ youth have stable housing and family life, there are unique stressors [...]
Over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, community relationships have shifted to a location primarily online. The centrality and importance of technology-mediated relationships is now an established interest within the fields of social work and psychology (Trepte et al., 2017, Okdie et al., 2018) along with social and relational conflicts like cancel [...]
Self-Disclosure and Community Building
We know that LGBTQIA+ community members are resourceful and resilient. We also know about startling disparities in the mental health of queer and trans individuals v. that of cisgender and heterosexual ones. As a queer femme clinical social worker who has spoken openly and published about my own lived experience of [...]
COVID-19 & (Re)claiming Gender
As a non-binary, genderqueer, and trans femme therapist myself, I have encountered my own fair share of microaggressions related to gender identity. During the pandemic, I have witnessed many people for the first time in their lives take a break from performing gender in a way society deems acceptable. As [...]
Clinics, treatment centers, and group practices play an important role in the communities they serve. Power flows through every relationship from the individual dyad in treatment to a community clinic’s relationship with federal policy (Hess & Schultz, 2008). Moreover, these dynamics can be seen as both a commodity and resource (Peterson & Zimmerman, 2004) in [...]
Gerald Caplan is seminal in developing some of the early theories of consulting work (Caplan, 1960). Caplan worked in Israel after World War II providing mental health support to 16,000 displaced and orphaned teens in overwhelmed residential and refugee facilities (Mendoza, 1993). Caplan’s resources were limited, and his team had no way of serving the [...]
(Re)imagining gender through stories
In my first article in this two-part series, I explored and reviewed works created by queer and trans clinicians who approached internalized transphobia from a clinical perspective, and offered actionable steps to dismantle it in the therapeutic space with clients. In this second and final installment, I explore memoirs from [...]
As a reminder, my goal in writing this two-part series is to reflect on the ways in which TGNB-affirming* clinicians contribute to colonization (Part 1), while also offering, in this article, actionable ways of moving toward decolonization and gender liberation.
You may be familiar with what is now called the Multicultural & Social Justice [...]
Ask Us Anything: How to navigate moments of rupture and repair in the therapeutic relationship when a therapist missteps re: a client’s gender identity or expression? Important to acknowledge and apologize to the client and strive to do better – other things to keep in mind if/when this happens?
Wonderful question! You are definitely on [...]
With the global COVID-19 pandemic continuing into its second year, the conversation around access to healthcare has never been more relevant. For many people, going to a doctor for an annual physical was not feasible before the pandemic, whether due to lack of insurance coverage, financial cost, taking time off from work, transportation issues, or [...]
Moving Towards Trans and Nonbinary-Affirmative Therapy Practice
As psychotherapists, we know that transphobia’s pervasive social impact affects our clients and our own internal worlds. This results in transgender and gender nonbinary (TGNB) folx internalizing society’s gender-normative attitudes and lays the groundwork for them to develop negative attitudes about themselves and their communities, which can ultimately [...]
13 Signs You Need to Decolonize Your Practice with Trans Clients: Paying Attention to Your Colonization-Connected Behaviors
This two-part series is intended to first reflect on the ways in which transgender and gender nonbinary (TGNB)-affirming clinicians perpetuate harm connected to colonization, then to present actionable ways of moving toward decolonization and gender liberation. I am a queer, white, able-bodied, and “cis-ish” person (i.e., I do not feel discomfort in my [...]
Ask Us Anything: How should I handle the pronouns of and name for adolescent trans clients when their parents refuse to use the correct ones? Obviously I want to support my client by using their pronouns and name, but I also feel like it is a fine line between that and making parents angry so [...]