Are you experiencing gender dysphoria? Do you struggle to interact with family and friends due to your gender identity? Or are you afraid to start a gender transition journey?
Well, we feel your struggles. Fortunately, you can navigate through difficult times with the help of a gender therapist. A gender therapist helps transgender persons or those with non-cisgender identity understand themselves, their gender and provide adequate support to move forward with their lives.
But how do you find a gender therapist who will understand your struggles and offer professional advice? This article explores everything you need to know about gender therapists and how to get a professional consultation.
What is Gender Therapy?
Gender therapy is a professional intervention that focuses on the mental, emotional, and psychological needs of persons with gender identity issues. If you are questioning your gender and experience gender dysphoria, gender therapy is for you.
People who seek affirmation interventions or are uncomfortable with some aspects of their bodies or assigned gender roles can also undergo therapy. Gender therapy also differentiates gender diversity from mental illness.
Every person is different, and their needs vary. So, gender therapy aims at offering specific treatment and a subsequent treatment plan. In other words, the therapists provide personalized care.
Why is Gender Therapy Necessary?
Going through gender dysphoria or other forms of gender transition is a very personal experience. Some people choose surgery, while others take hormonal pills. Whichever way, the process is complex enough, and no one deserves to get through it alone.
Transgender people and other gender non-conforming persons undergo severe mental health problems and gender identity issues. Unfortunately, some go through severe bullying or rejection from friends and family who have limited knowledge of gender dysphoria.
Gender therapy provides the much-needed solution to these conflicts through education on transgender health and mental health care. Gender therapists help one understand their gender identity and feel comfortable in their gender expression.
Gender therapists are mental health professionals who address dysphoria and necessitate diagnosis for persons seeking gender-affirming interventions. Mental health care is paramount as it plays a vital part in achieving gender identity goals.
How Can You Find a Gender Therapist?
How can a person find a gender therapist if they live in a small town that isn’t trans-inclusive? There are several ways of meeting therapists who offer mental health care and respect all forms of gender presentation.
Online Therapist Directories
Today, therapists are available on online directories for increased accessibility and to find new clients. So, if you want to start therapy with the right therapist, all you need is an internet connection.
Some of the highly-rated directories that offer LGBT mental health professionals include psychology today, the American psychological association (APA), the world professional association for transgender health, etc. You can also visit the psychotherapy association for gender and sexual diversity.
Online Therapy Services
Technological advancement has changed the way we do things. Now, you can find gender therapists who offer the best mental health care from the comfort of your home. All you need is a computer and the internet.
In addition, the worry of your sensitive data landing in the wrong hands is long gone. Online therapy providers guarantee data protection by implementing end-to-end encryption.
Local LGBTQ+ Organizations
Check if LGBTQ+ organizations near you offer mental health services. You can also ask for help from support groups dealing with gender issues. One of them may likely know a good gender specialist and recommend them to you.
Medical providers network and keep lists of specialists in different areas. So, your provider might be the link you need to find a gender therapist. Similarly, your non-binary or transgender friends or family might know of an excellent therapist.
What Should I Look for When Choosing a Gender Therapist?
When looking for a therapist, the goal is to find adequate support and help when dealing with gender identity issues. We appreciate the excellent work general therapists and other clinicians do; however, they don’t usually offer the tailored gender-affirming care that you need.
So, the right therapist should possess the right qualities and expertise. Here are some things you should look for before making your choice.
Transgender people go through emotional, physical, and mental traumas. They seek protection and gender-affirming interventions. They also look for professional help in dealing when gender questions and personal issues without being judged or condemned.
In such a case, a reputable gender-affirming therapist should fit your preference. But how can one determine the therapist’s reputation? By reading reviews from transgender people who have received care before.
Inquire if the therapeutic approach offered was adequate and the overall experience. The information will go a long way in making an informed decision.
Dealing with gender transition is a serious issue that can lead to mental health conditions if not handled with care. So, you need a therapist who understands your position to walk with you. Talk to them about their professional training and hold an informational session to gauge their views.
You can take it a step further and do some research to check the validity of their certification. Seeing the certificate will give you more confidence and protect you from being targeted.
Also, choose a therapist who undertakes education training regularly. Continuing education equips one with new skills and is always up-to-date.
When seeking gender-affirming interventions, you have one thing in mind. To find someone to hold your hand and help you navigate the difficult situation. But, you can only be at ease if that therapist has handled similar cases.
Gender therapy involves dealing with mental health concerns. Note that the trauma most trans people go through leads to substance abuse, anxiety, and mental illness. In some cases, these people disconnect from real life.
So, inquire if they have handled such cases before and the success rate. A therapist who has limited knowledge may not know how to handle your gender expression and do more harm than good.
A licensed gender therapist gets a permit from the local authority to operate and offer the services. A license is a strong proof of dedication to providing assistance and commitment to deliver. But before trusting the therapist’s words, check the license authenticity with the licensing body.
Which Questions Should I Ask During our First Meeting?
After selecting several gender therapists, it is time to dig deeper. You should book an appointment with each one to get to know them better and subsequently choose the most ideal.
Here are some of the questions you should ask. The answers you get will give you a better sense of who the therapist is and help you form the basis of your final decision.
- Have you ever handled transgender with severe mental health conditions?
- Have you met gender nonconforming clients? How was the experience?
- Do you offer medical treatment? What are their pros and cons?
- Does your treatment address gender dysphoria? What therapeutic approach do you take?
- Do you offer letters after hormone treatment and puberty blockers?
- How many years have you been serving, and what is your success rate?
- Have you published informative articles on mental health?
- What are your rates per session, and what are your payment plans?
If the therapists struggle to answer your questions, take it as a red alert. Move to the next until you meet your perfect match.
Should I Be Concerned About the Gender of The Therapist?
Yes, you should be worried about the gender of your therapist. Gender therapy means starting a new and, hopefully, lasting relationship. So, it is vital to choose someone you feel connected to at all times. Someone who can relate to the gender issues you are going through.
Imagine walking the journey with someone who has also transitioned. It can be promising, right? Most importantly, they are extra careful on sensitive topics as they have had first-hand experience. So, their every move aims at protecting their clients from unnecessary suffering.
However, a well-trained therapist understands your struggles even if you do not share the same experience. So, do not limit yourself as finding a specific gender can at times be impossible. A good therapist may not be like you but may have a lot to offer.
How Much Does a Gender Therapist Cost?
The cost largely depends on the therapist you choose. Experienced and well-trained therapists charge higher as compared to those starting their careers. Their success rates are also higher.
Similarly, the charges also depend on the number of sessions you take. The more time you take to transition, the more you will pay. But, according to research, the average cost per week is $40-$90.
In addition, check with your insurance company if they cover gender therapy; every company has different insurance policies. Most companies do not cover gender therapy and treatment, so you should plan your finances well.
The Bottom Line
Everyone is beautiful, no matter their gender identity or mental health. No one should feel ostracized because of their gender presentation. There is hope, and the gender identity issues you are facing should not hold you back. If you feel overwhelmed, seek the services of mental health professionals.
Love yourself and put your interests first. Do not be afraid to push your therapist out if you are feeling uncomfortable with their approaches. After all, you are the boss and deserve the best. Choose a different therapist and walk towards a happy and fulfilling life.
Continue discovering and affirming yourself because you deserve it.