For the trans community, the idea of seeking out a counselor or therapist can be intimidating. This is understandable as many times therapists end up being the gatekeepers that are associated with getting the dreaded “letter” that can be required for surgery or hormone therapy. This can leave you feeling as though you’re at the mercy of a professional to continue on with your transition. A quality trans-affirming therapist will understand the recommendations for letter-writing, and will also advocate for you and your process, rather than stand in the way. This is not to say that this same therapist will encourage you to rush through the process either. A therapist with trans-affirming therapist will talk to you about things to consider, and help you make decisions for yourself, and give you a road map to reaching your goals. However, they won’t stand in the way and make the process unnecessarily drawn out either.
The benefits of therapy for trans individuals goes beyond writing letters and giving permission. Any transition that impacts you and others in your life can create personal shame, self-doubt, and self-loathing. This is where counseling can help. With the help of a therapist, you can learn ways to identify these feelings, and ways to move through them in a way that doesn’t completely eat away at your worth. You can learn how to navigate through circumstances where you might experience discrimination, and maintain your values and dignity in the process.
Therapy can also help with issues relating to self and body image as well. Many of the trans individuals who we have worked with talk about the idea of “passing”. Gender expression is an individual journey, yet there are some things that can’t physically be changed. Through engaging in therapy, people can learn ways to express themselves for themselves. For self-consciousness of parts of you that can’t be changed, such as size, height, etc, therapy can help you have self-compassion for yourself.
So if you’re a person who is in the need of gender care support, therapy can help. By going through the process of therapy, you’ll more likely to walk away with better self-image and self-esteem, tools to cope with shame, and help finding personal comfort in your life dreams and goals.
–For those who are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, feel free to contact Michael J. Salas or Ruby Bouie Johnson. Michael has experience providing counseling, case management, and advocacy to the trans community. Ruby provides counseling services to trans individuals and couples, as well as provides education regarding trans related issues to other therapists and counselors.[mc4wp_form]