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4 min read

How a Gender Therapist Can Help You, and How to Find One in Your Area

Woman in Therapy

Emerging generations are more and more questioning what gender means to them, and how they fit into a world outside a gender binary. In this article, we'll explore what can a gender therapist help with, who may benefit from gender therapy, and how to find a gender therapist near you.

Who can benefit from gender therapy?

Gender therapy is for anyone who may be questioning their gender identity, are feeling uncomfortable with stereotypes of gender, or are experiencing gender dysphoria. A gender therapist is trained to meet the mental, emotional, social, and physical needs of a person who doesn't exclusively identify with their designated sex assigned at birth.

However, gender therapy is not only for those who aren't cisgender. Gender therapists can also treat the mental health concerns of anyone who is interested in forming a stronger connection to their body, feels confined by traditional gender roles, or wants to develop a stronger understanding of their own identity in general.

What Are the Benefits of Gender Therapy?

Gender therapy offers a deeper understanding of diversity in gender roles. A traditional mental health professional receives basic training in diversity, gender therapists continue training and education in very specific aspects of:

  • Transgender health
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • Gender transition
  • Gender affirming interventions
  • Gender diversity
  • Gender dysphoria

Therapy with a gender specialist can offer a level of therapeutic alliance that may not be reached by traditional mental health professionals. Gender affirming therapy offers a safe and supportive space to explore gender identity issues for those with questions, or those seeking gender affirming interventions.

How Can Gender Therapy Help?

Gender therapy sessions may look very different, depending on the person. Gender therapy is a person-centered form of therapy, and gender identity is an individual experience. For some, there is more of a psychotherapy aspect, talking through feelings around gender expression, and focusing on mental health.

Others may be interested in gender transition, and in these cases, a gender specialist may take on an advocacy role, and work in a team dynamic with other professionals and medical providers to offer emotional support, education, and case management services.

Mental health therapists who specialize in gender identity issues are not there to offer diagnoses based on gender identity, or to try to change your mind about gender transition. Gender therapists will address mental health concerns, but mental health may not even come into play for some individuals.

And not only is a gender therapist for gender diverse people, but gender therapy can provide emotional support to other groups as well. They may provide relationship counseling to gender non-conforming individuals, offer a safe space for those who are exploring sexual orientation, those questioning gender issues, and offer mental health care to either an individual exploring their gender identity, or family members who want to be better advocates and supporters.

Emotional Support

Very often, those who are questioning their gender identity or exploring gender expression do not have the support of their family or their community as a whole. Gender therapy can provide the support that these individuals need, as well as guide them toward support groups of like-minded individuals.

Gender diverse individuals may develop feelings of depression or anxiety, or develop a substance abuse problem. This is not always necessarily directly connected to gender identity issues, but to the reactions of a society that doesn't offer much in the way of gender diversity. Family members and friends may also have difficulty in understanding how to best support the mental health of those who are exploring gender identity

Coping with Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria can be used as both a medical term and as an informal way to reference certain feelings experienced by those who feel conflicted about their gender assigned at birth. As with any diagnosis found in the DSM 5, a person may meet all criteria for diagnosis, or they may not. If not, they can still experience certain aspects of the disorder.

Experiencing gender dysphoria can look completely different from person to person, and therefore, how a gender therapist helps can look different too. Some people may undergo hormone therapy, others may undergo medical interventions, and some may do neither.

Very often, exploring gender identity issues with a gender therapy can include education. The gender therapist may work directly with the individual experiencing gender identity issues, or they may meet with family members to help them understand how to best support them. They can help the individual find access to gender affirming interventions, such as hormone therapy, work on exploring their gender identity, and help them manage general mental health concerns.

How to Find a Gender Therapist

If you are interested in exploring gender therapy for any reason, a gender therapist can offer specialized support in transgender health, mental health disorders experienced by those who are gender nonconforming, or gender questioning, and can guide gender affirming care. Mental health services are specialized to provide adequate support to diverse populations. If you are someone who falls under any of these categories, a qualified gender therapist can be the right mental health provider to meet your needs.

Gender therapy may not be available in your area locally if you aren't close to a metropolitan area. If you are in a city, google "gender therapist near me" to find a list of providers. Your health insurance should also be able to help with a list of in-network providers (although this may not always be available). Fortunately, with the advent of telehealth, you can get gender online therapy.

Look for gender therapists that work remotely from qualified mental health clinics. These therapists should have online profiles so that you can check that they have certification through the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. You may also wish to have an initial consultation in which you ask them questions about their experience with gender questioning clients, and other issues related to gender.

Gender Affirming Therapy in Austin, TX

Finding a mental health provider for someone who is gender questioning isn't always easy. And yet, it is important to work with a licensed therapist who understands questions related to gender congruence and accepts the spectrum of gender.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, we offer a range of online and in-person appointments with doctoral level gender affirming therapists that can support your mental health needs.

Give us a call today, and our patient coordinator will help you find the right Austin gender therapist to offer advocacy, education, and care in a safe and supportive space.

Book a Therapy Session in Austin Today

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