“Finding a good gender therapist for your child can be a daunting task” writes Darlene Tando, author of the Gender Blog. Finding a good gender therapist for adults is equally as daunting and overwhelming. As Tando says, just because therapists say that they are gender experts, it does not mean that they really are. The points highlighted in Tando’s article are applicable for adults who are on the quest of finding an effective sex positive gender therapist, as well. Here are some other red flags to look out for when searching for a gender therapist.
Your therapist is not the priest; no need to feel obligated to share every detail of your life and the therapist is NEVER there to reprimand you or judge you. Share whatever you feel comfortable with and what you think will be necessary for the productivity of the therapy session. You are the master of your own life and the best source of information; trust yourself. If you sense the therapist is not honoring what you share and seems to overlook facts that are important to you, do not be afraid to ask the therapist why they are overlooking these issues. If you do not feel comfortable with the answer, it is time to start your search again for a sex positive gender therapist.
Some therapists have the need to blame all life problems on the client’s gender non-conforming or sexual preferences. If you get the sense your therapist is blaming all your struggles on your sexuality and gender identity, see this as a red flag and perhaps not the best fit for someone who is exploring their gender identity.
If part of your desire for gender-focused therapy is to transition in an emotionally healthy way, it is important to find a therapist sensitive to that. Deciding to start the transition process is a slow journey. If your therapist seems to be in a rush, ask him/her to slow down. This works the other way as well, if you have been in therapy before and are ready with your decision, but your therapist is rehashing topics/issues/concerns that you have all ready been through, let your therapist know. If you find your therapist is not willing to meet you where you are at, see that as a red flag. However frustrating it is, terminate with your therapist and start your quest again.
Sara Schapiro-Halberstam, LMHC,CASAC