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Guidelines for Therapists Working With Transgender Clients

  • Therapists working with transgender clients must have a thorough understanding of gender identity issues, including information on the differences between gender and sexual identity, and the social construction of gender dimorphism.  Therapists must be knowledgeable about the current DSM diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder, and the most recent Standards of Care developed by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (formerly the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association).  

  • Therapists must be aware of the issues being raised within the Trans Liberation movement regarding the socio-political forces in the construction of gender identity and the limitations of a bipolar gender system, as well as the diversity of gender expressions. 

  • Therapists must have a general knowledge of mental health issues, human development and training in eclectic psychotherapeutic techniques.  Therapists must be able to assess for mental illness, as well as addictions and trauma related symptomatology.

  • Therapists must be cognizant of the impact of stress on gender dysphoria and not pathologize the clients' stress related symptoms.  Therapists must have a humanistic perspective that supports the empowerment of client self-identification.

  • Therapists should be knowledgeable about issues related to gender identity, sexuality, sexual identity and gender role development, and be comfortable talking about these issues.

  • Therapists should be sensitive to the impact of family systems concerns including family of origin, and current partners and children, and able to provide services or referrals for family members.

  • Therapists should have resources available for clients, including referrals to endocrinologists and/or psychiatrists, gender clinics, and support groups, as well as recommendations for bibliotherapy and Internet sites.



Choices Counseling and Consulting
523 Western Avenue
Suite 2A
Albany, New York 12203
518-438-2222 (phone)
518-438-7777 (fax)