Find a Therapist for Gender Issues

by Harley Therapy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines gender as 'the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, attributes and opportunities that any society considers appropriate for girls and boys, and women and men. Gender interacts with, but is different from, the binary categories of biological sex.'

A counsellor or psychotherapist can help you to discuss and understand your thoughts around gender. They can help you learn how to cope and manage difficult situations and disagreements. Giving you the best chance to improve your relationships with your partner and family and find the best resolutions to any problems you may be having.

What is gender dysphoria?

Gender dysphoria occurs when an individual feels that their gender identity does not completely match the sex they were assigned at birth. Some individuals may feel that they do not identify with any gender.

Individuals who feel this way about their gender may identify as transgender. They may also identify as non-binary, meaning that they do not feel simply male or female but rather a combination of both or neither. However, it is important to remember many individuals experiencing gender dysphoria can self-identify in a number of ways and may not choose to use transgender or non-binary labels.

Some individuals may experience gender dysphoria from a young age, expressing a desire to wear clothes typically worn by the opposite sex or insisting that they are the opposite sex and that their genitals may change with time. Many children can grow out of these behaviours, but if these feelings of gender dysphoria continue through puberty and into adulthood then it may signal that increased support is required. Other people may not experience these feelings as early as childhood or may have suppressed their dysphoria until adulthood to avoid conflict.

Individuals may decide to undergo a ‘transition’ in order to present themselves in line with their gender identity. This can involve changing their appearance through new clothes or a new hairstyle and the decision to change their name. However, the transition process is unique to every individual and can be approached differently from person to person. Feelings of gender dysphoria and the seriousness of its effects on an individual’s emotional and psychological wellbeing are just as valid for those who choose not to transition.

How can therapy help with issues surrounding gender and gender dysphoria?

Therapy can be beneficial to individuals who are experiencing gender dysphoria, also known as gender identity disorder (GID).

It is important to recognise gender dysphoria is not a mental health problem in itself but can cause emotional and psychological distress. Individuals experiencing gender dysphoria may face discrimination, a lack of support from loved ones and colleagues, or feel like they have to hide their identity which can result in deep unhappiness.

Therapy can allow individuals experiencing gender dysphoria to discuss their feelings and any issues that their dysphoria may be causing them within a safe and confidential environment. A therapist can work with you to address the negative effects gender dysphoria may be having on your everyday life and assist you in taking the steps required on your journey to a happier life where you can feel truly yourself.

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What can you expect from counselling for gender issues?

Therapy or counselling for issues arising around gender aims to help you to understand who you are, embrace your own identity and live life on your own terms. The gender therapy process will, therefore, be different for every individual, as your therapist will aim to address issues and experiences that are unique to you.

A therapist with knowledge of the issues faced by individuals experiencing gender dysphoria will be able to understand your position and will have knowledge of the options available to you if you decide to undertake further treatment.

Therapists can assist you in treating any mental health problems that have arisen in combination with your gender dysphoria, including depression, low self-esteem, or anxiety. Your therapist can also develop tailor-made coping strategies to help you manage stressful or distressing situations, including hostility or discrimination from others. If you wish to ‘come out' and tell your friends and family about your gender identity, a therapist can also help you navigate this process and support you if it becomes difficult.

Individuals may decide that they would like to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Before this procedure can be conducted, the individual will usually be required to undertake ‘social gender role transition’ and live in their preferred gender identity for at least one year to ensure surgery is the correct choice for them. A therapist can also help you throughout this process.

Your therapist for gender identity issues

A qualified, professional therapist specialising in gender identity issues will understand the issues you may be facing and can highlight the options available to you in your therapy journey. You will build a relationship based on trust, giving you the confidence to share your feelings and emotions with them. Your therapist will listen to all that you have to share with empathy and openness. They will not judge you, nor force you into following a particular course of action.

There are a number of options to explore to find the therapist that is right for you. Using online resources, such as the Harley Therapy platform, to search for a qualified gender therapist can be a proactive first step. This can allow you to find a therapist with specialist experience in addressing issues surrounding gender identity, while also allowing you to refine your search by location, availability, and price per session.

We ensure that all therapists on the Harley Therapy platform are UK registered, insured, and professionally trained counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists and therapists. They will work with you to decide the pace of your treatment and how many sessions of therapy you might need.

How to find a 'gender therapist' or a therapist for gender dysphoria

A qualified, professional therapist will work with you to examine your thoughts and behaviours and improve how you feel. You will build a relationship based on trust, giving you the confidence to share your feelings and emotions with them. Your counsellor will listen to all that you have to share with empathy and openness.

An experienced therapist or counsellor like those listed on the Harley Therapy platform can help you to manage your symptoms and find your own way forward.

Filter our qualified, professional, and vetted therapists by cost, location, availability, and approach so you can find and book the best therapist or counsellor for you here. Or find a therapist to help with family problems below.

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