Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person’s gender identity does not match their biological sex.
It can cause distress, anxiety, and depression for those who experience it. Unfortunately, many myths and misunderstandings about gender dysphoria can lead to further confusion and stigma for those affected by it.
The Online Mental Health Reviews team is qualified to write about transgender health and gender dysphoria therapists due to our comprehensive research, experience, and dedication to providing accurate, empathetic information on various mental health services and approaches.
If we are misinformed, please leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to research more in-depth. Our goal is to ensure our readers receive well-rounded guidance and support in their journey toward improved mental health.
What Are the Benefits of Gender Therapy?
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health led a 2015 study that is pretty conclusive:
- The study looked at data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Of the nearly 20,000 people who took the survey, 38.8% said they were transgender women, 32.5% said they were transgender men, and 26.6% said they didn’t fit into either category.
- The results showed that transgender and gender-diverse people who had gender-affirming surgeries had 42% less psychological pain
- 44% fewer suicidal thoughts than transgender and gender-diverse people who wanted gender-affirming surgery but hadn’t had it yet.
- The study also found that people who had surgeries to change their gender were 35% less likely to smoke.
• Gender therapy for gender therapists is a form of counseling that helps gender non-conforming, gender-questioning, and transgender people explore their gender identity and expression.
• Working with an experienced gender therapist can provide individuals with the support they need to explore their gender identity and transition in a safe space.
• Benefits of gender-affirming care include access to puberty blockers and hormone therapy to mitigate negative mental health outcomes such as depression and anxiety, as well as lower rates of psychological distress and suicidal ideation associated with gender-affirming surgeries.
However, it’s also important to consider issues of social contagion as well, especially before age 18.
Myth 1: Children Aren’t Old Enough To Know Their Gender Identity
One of the most common myths about gender dysphoria is that children aren’t old enough to know their own gender identity. This is simply not true; research has shown that children as young as three years old can express a strong sense of their own gender identity.
It is important for parents to listen to children when they express their feelings about their gender identity and respect their wishes if they choose to transition or express themselves in ways that do not conform to traditional gender roles.
The Mayo Clinic says simply deviating from traditional gender role behavior is not the same as experiencing gender dysphoria. It involves distressing emotions brought on by a strong, pervasive yearning to be of a different gender.
Myth 2: Sexual Orientation Is The Same As Gender Identity
Many people mistakenly believe that sexual orientation and gender identity are the same thing, but this isn’t true either.
Sexual orientation refers to who someone is attracted to, while gender identity refers to how someone identifies themselves in terms of their gender or secondary sex characteristics. They are two separate things and ideally, should not be confused with one another.
Myth 3: Transitioning Will Make Someone Mentally Ill
There have been some concerns raised about whether transitioning will make someone mentally ill, but this has been disproven by medical organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
Transitioning can often help reduce mental health issues such as depression and anxiety in people who experience gender dysphoria.
It is important to remember that transitioning should always be done under the guidance of trained professionals for it to be safe and effective.
Also, it’s important to take into consideration cultural factors such as social contagion when considering transitioning, especially if the transition is being requested by a teen under the age of 18.
Myth 4: All Transgender People Need Surgery To Transition
This myth implies that all transgender people need surgery to transition, which isn’t true either.
While some people may choose surgery as part of their transition process, others may opt for hormone therapy or other forms of treatment instead.
Each person needs to decide what form of medical treatment works best for them based on their own needs and preferences.
Of course, it’s ok to remain as you are, as well, if that’s what you choose.
Why Therapy Can Be So Important For People Struggling With Gender Dysphoria
Therapy can be an invaluable tool for those struggling with gender dysphoria as it provides a safe space where individuals can explore their feelings without fear of judgment or criticism from others.
- A therapist can help individuals understand why they feel the way they do and provide support throughout the transition process if needed.
- Therapy also facilitates individuals to connect with other members of the LGBTQ+ community who may have similar experiences which can help them feel less alone during this difficult time in their lives with the help of a licensed clinical social worker.
- Finally, therapy helps individuals learn coping strategies that can help them manage stress or anxiety associated with transitioning or coming out as transgender which can make all the difference when it comes to mental health and well-being overall.
Statistics and Research
In a major 2022 study, numerous research reports 1.4 million people in the U.S. and 25 million people around the world say they are transgender, and 0.6% of people in the U.S. have gender dysphoria.
Importantly for therapy, the authors state “anxiety and depression are the two most common comorbid diagnoses and may be the reason for presentation to medical care”.
In other words, therapy is a good option before transitioning because sometimes anxiety and depression are the causes behind seeking medical care.
What kind of Doctor can Diagnose Gender Dysphoria?
If you are looking for a doctor to diagnose gender dysphoria, it is important to find one who is knowledgeable and experienced in this area.
- Generally, a psychiatrist or psychologist can diagnose gender dysphoria, but many are out of date.
- Additionally, some endocrinologists specialize in hormone therapy for individuals with gender dysphoria and can provide medical care related to transitioning.
- Other specialists such as plastic surgeons may also be involved in treatment plans for those with gender dysphoria.
It is important to research doctors in your area who specialize in gender dysphoria and have experience treating similar patients.
Can a Normal Therapist Diagnose You with Gender Dysphoria?
Yes, a normal, licensed therapist can diagnose gender dysphoria. To do so, they will need to assess your feelings and experiences related to your particular gender or identity. They may ask questions about how long you have felt this way if there is a mismatch between your gender identity and the sex you were assigned at birth and any distress or impairment that has been caused by this mismatch. Your therapist may also ask about your family history and any other mental health issues that might be present. Once they have gathered all of the necessary information, they can make an accurate diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
Can a Psychiatrist Help with Gender Dysphoria?
Yes, a psychiatrist can help with gender dysphoria. A psychiatrist is a mental health professional who is trained to diagnose and treat mental health issues. They can provide support for people with gender dysphoria by exploring their feelings and experiences of gender identity and expression.
How do You Counsel Gender Dysphoria?
Counseling gender dysphoria is a complex and multi-faceted issue that requires a comprehensive approach.
It is important to recognize that gender dysphoria is not a mental illness, but rather an expression of distress related to the incongruence between one’s gender identity and assigned sex at birth.
- Counselors can help individuals with gender dysphoria by providing support, helping them explore their feelings, and assisting them in making informed decisions about their gender identity.
- Counselors should also be aware of the potential risks associated with hormone therapy and other medical interventions, as treatment options as well as the need for ongoing monitoring and support.
- Additionally, counselors should be knowledgeable about the various resources available to those who are exploring their gender identity, gay couples counseling resources for relationships, or transitioning.
What is the Goal of Gender Dysphoria Therapy Treatment?
The goal of gender dysphoria therapy treatment is to help the individual overcome the distress they may feel due to differences between their appearance and gender identity, according to the NHS in the UK.
This can be achieved through psychosocial therapy and counseling, hormone therapy, voice therapy, psychological support, and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
Hormone therapy can help individuals achieve a more preferred gender identity. DBT helps the individual understand that their emotions are normal and provides them with coping skills. Ultimately, gender dysphoria treatment aims to help individuals live fulfilling life by their gender identity.
Does CBT Work for Gender Dysphoria?
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is effective in addressing emotional distress and other mental health concerns and challenges associated with gender dysphoria.
While CBT may not directly resolve gender dysphoria itself, it can help individuals manage and cope with the psychological struggles that often accompany the condition.
Here are some ways CBT can support those experiencing gender dysphoria:
- Reducing Anxiety and Depression: CBT can help clients identify and challenge negative thought patterns related to their gender identity, ultimately reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Developing Coping Strategies: CBT equips individuals with practical coping skills to manage the emotional challenges of living with gender dysphorias, such as stress management and problem-solving techniques.
- Enhancing Self-Esteem: By addressing negative self-perceptions and promoting self-acceptance, CBT can help improve an individual’s self-esteem and overall sense of well-being.
- Building Resilience: Through CBT, clients can develop resilience and adaptability, enabling them to better navigate the challenges they may face due to their gender dysphoria.
It’s important to remember that therapy is a highly individualized process, and the effectiveness of CBT for gender dysphoria may vary from person to person.
Working with a qualified mental health professional, or gender-culture-women’s specialist, such as a gender dysphoria therapist, can help determine the most appropriate therapeutic approach based on an individual’s unique needs and circumstances.
How to Deal with Gender Dysphoria When You Can’t Transition?
Dealing with gender dysphoria when you cannot transition can be challenging, but there are various strategies and resources available to help manage the emotional distress and improve your overall well-being. Here are some suggestions on how to cope with gender dysphoria without transitioning:
- Seek Professional Support: Reach out to a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor experienced in working with individuals with gender dysphoria. They can provide guidance, emotional support, and coping strategies tailored to your situation.
- Build a Support Network: Surround yourself with understanding friends, family, or support groups who can empathize with your experiences and offer encouragement during difficult times.
- Explore Gender Expression: Experiment with different ways to express your gender identities, such as clothing, hairstyles, or preferred names and pronouns, even if only in private or online spaces.
- Practice Self-Care: Prioritize your physical and emotional well-being by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, engaging in regular exercise, practicing relaxation techniques, and focusing on activities that bring joy and fulfillment.
- Educate Yourself and Others: Learn more about gender dysphoria and the diverse experiences of those who live with it. Share this knowledge with others to help foster understanding and acceptance. Mind-Bar has a library of non-binary self-care resources.
- Stay Connected: Engage with free online counseling communities or even gay therapy or local support groups where you can connect with others who share similar experiences and offer mutual support.
Remember that coping with gender dysphoria is a personal journey, and what works for one person may not be suitable for another.
It’s essential to explore different coping strategies and resources to find the best approach for your unique circumstances, and don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help when needed. There is also free online listening and therapy at 7 Cups.
7 Steps Find a Gender Dysphoria Therapist Near You
Finding a gender dysphoria therapist near you can be an intimidating process, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 7 steps to help you find the right therapist for your needs:
- Research therapists in your area who specialize in gender dysphoria. You can search online or ask friends and family for recommendations. We bought, used, and reviewed Zocdoc and now believe this convenient service is great to see healthcare reviews and quickly book an appropriate doctor/clinician nearby.
- Make sure the therapist is licensed and certified in your state and has experience working with gender dysphoria patients.
- Ask about their approach to treatment and any specialties they may have related to gender dysphoria.
- Check out their website or social media accounts to get a better understanding of their practice and philosophy.
- Schedule an initial consultation with the therapist to discuss your goals and expectations for treatment.
- Ask questions during the consultation to make sure you feel comfortable with the therapist before committing to ongoing sessions.
- Follow up with the therapist after each session to ensure that you’re making progress toward your goals and that the therapy is meeting your needs.
By taking these steps, you can find a gender dysphoria therapist near you who is qualified, experienced, and supportive of your individual needs and goals for therapy.
What Type of Therapy is Best for Gender Dysphoria?
When it comes to treating gender dysphoria, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Different types of therapy may be used depending on the individual’s unique needs and goals.
- Psychosocial therapy can help individuals explore their identity and develop coping skills to manage distress.
- Hormone therapy may be used to induce physical changes that align with a person’s gender identity. Gender-affirming therapy focuses on affirming a patient’s gender identity rather than trying to “repair” it.
- Finally, surgery may be an option for some individuals, although this is not always necessary or desired.
- Ultimately, the best type of therapy for gender dysphoria will depend on the individual’s needs and goals.
How to Help Someone with Gender Dysphoria?
Helping someone with gender dysphoria can be a difficult and sensitive task.
- It is important to remember that everyone’s experience of gender dysphoria is different, so it is important to be respectful and understanding of the individual’s needs.
- Some ways to help someone with gender dysphoria include expressing your feelings, being a good friend, engaging compassionately and validating their experience, providing fun distractions, using compliments and descriptors that reflect their gender identity, and seeking professional help if needed.
- Additionally, it may be helpful to provide resources such as support groups or online forums for people who are struggling with gender dysphoria.
Who Can I Talk to About Gender Dysphoria?
If you are struggling with gender dysphoria, it is important to know that you are not alone.
Many people can provide support and understanding.
Talking to a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist can be beneficial in helping to understand your feelings and develop strategies for coping.
Support groups can also help connect with other transgender or gender-diverse people who may have similar experiences.
Importantly, there are hotlines available such as Trans Lifeline’s Hotline (https://translifeline.org/hotline/) or call (877) 565-8860, which provide peer support for trans people for trans and questioning peers.
Gender Dysphoria Therapist Conclusion
Gender dysphoria is a complex issue that unfortunately still carries a lot of stigma due to myths and misunderstandings surrounding it within society today. We still have a lot to learn as well.
However, we all need to educate ourselves on this topic so we can better understand what it means for those affected by it and provide support where needed without judgment or prejudice towards them or anyone else within the gender diversity or LGBTQ+ community more generally speaking too!
Do you have any questions about finding a non-binary therapist near you? Resources are available for finding non-binary therapists, body dysmorphia therapists, gender dysphoria, gay couples therapy, and gay relationship counseling services.
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- Anderson, D., Wijetunge, H., Moore, P., Provenzano, D., Li, N., Hasoon, J., Viswanath, O., Kaye, A. D., & Urits, I. (2022, September 23). Gender Dysphoria and Its Non-Surgical and Surgical Treatments. Health Psychology Research, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.52965/001c.38358
- Turban, J. L., Beckwith, N., Reisner, S. L., & Keuroghlian, A. S. (2020). Association between recalled exposure to gender identity conversion efforts and psychological distress and suicide attempts among transgender adults. JAMA Psychiatry, 77(1), 68-76.
- Mental health benefits associated with gender-affirming surgery. (2021, May 6). News. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/mental-health-benefits-associated-with-gender-affirming-surgery/
If You Are In Crisis
In an emergency, waiting for an online therapy session might not be the safest option. If immediate assistance is needed, please dial 911, especially if there’s a risk of harm to yourself or others. For those experiencing thoughts of self-harm, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is accessible by calling 988, offering round-the-clock support.
Additionally, the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can be reached at 800-662-HELP (4357). This free and confidential helpline operates 24/7, 365 days a year, providing information and assistance in finding treatment for people struggling with mental health or substance abuse disorders.