Gender has become a very complex issue in the 21st-century. Postmodern philosophers and queer theorists have created a field in which all of us dwell, at times benefiting and at times creating challenge. A social construction at its core, gender is rooted in the sexual differences between men and women, expressed differently in different cultures. Some of those differences are utterly innate and unchangeable, many are amenable to alteration through gender non-conforming behaviors or hormone treatments and surgeries, while others have been used as tools for people to discriminate against one another.
When it comes to gender-related treatment, my approach is tailored to several different factors that each client brings, including their age and the goals they have for themselves. In terms of age, when I am dealing with people under the age of 18, the treatment is client-centered, but it is not client-led. That means that we need to listen very carefully with thoughtfulness and compassion to young adults, but it also means that, as was the case for all of us, in our youth we often do not have the depth of experience or the tools to investigate our world to the same degree as would serve us. That is when my training and professional experience can be of great benefit.
People embarking on gender transition often feel good about their decision to transition, but perhaps they or their families also have questions, uncertainties, and doubts. Unfortunately, social media and popular culture tend to focus on one side of the equation of gender, exploration, and transgenderism. What tends to be left out are the stories of those who have chosen to desist from their trans identity, and those whose lives have been forever altered in negative ways through the medicalization of their identity challenges. My goal is to minimize long-term harm (including unnecessary medical harms), increase self-awareness and understanding, and help my clients achieve success in their interpersonal relationships and careers with whatever steps they decide to make in their lives outside the therapeutic relationship.
My methods are science-based, and I continually work to ensure that interventions are rooted in science, which is frequently different from merely being rooted in published “evidence.” As someone who has taught Research methods to graduate students for over a decade, I understand that it is easy to create evidence that tells the story the researcher is motivated to tell instead of what is actually happening.
In keeping with the treatment strategy of Lisa Marchiano, I utilize a psychological approach to treat a challenge rooted in psychological distress. Many people have not taken a deep dive into the issues related to gender roles, gender conformity and nonconformity, transgenderism, transsexualism, and more nuanced and less well-known areas, such as AGP. I have done and continue to do my homework in these areas and am ready to serve my clients with a thorough and compassionate understanding of them.
For a deeper exploration of my approach, please read the Gender Exploratory Therapy Association’s (GETA) Clinical Guide. I am a member of GETA.