Mental health problems can affect anyone but for LGBT identifying individuals, the sources of mental distress can be greater. Therapy can be beneficial to individuals who are experiencing gender dysphoria, also known as gender identity disorder (GID). It is important to recognise that gender dysphoria is not a mental health problem in itself, but can cause emotional and psychological distress. Our gender therapists have knowledge of the issues faced by individuals experiencing gender dysphoria and can help.
1. Mental ill health and the LGBT community
2. How can therapy help with issues surrounding gender?
3. What can you expect from a gender therapy session?
5. Find a gender therapist through the Harley Therapy platform
Mental ill health and the LGBT community
Mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem can affect anyone, regardless of how they identify. However, for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) identifying individuals, the sources of mental distress can be greater. Facing discrimination, coming to terms with your identity, and experiencing rejection from loved ones are issues that may lead to emotional and psychological distress. These issues can affect an individual’s health and happiness. From low self-worth and strained relationships to difficult occupation and career choices, experiencing these issues may feel isolating and individuals may feel trapped in a spiral of distress and misery.
How can therapy help with issues surrounding gender?
Therapy can be beneficial to individuals who are experiencing gender dysphoria, also known as gender identity disorder (GID). Gender dysphoria occurs when an individual feels that their gender identity does not completely match with 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 affects on an individual’s emotional and psychological wellbeing are just as valid for those who choose not to transition.
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.
What can you expect from a gender therapy session?
Therapy or counselling for issues arising around gender aims to help you 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 from 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.
Children are referred to a child and adolescent gender identity clinic to undergo assessment and help establish what support they may need. This may involve sessions with a child psychologist, a family therapist, or individual therapy for parents. Adults are referred to an adult gender identity clinic and are also assessed to determine what support may be required. This may involve individual counselling sessions or participation in group therapy.
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 individuals throughout this process.
Your gender therapist
A qualified, professional gender therapist 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.
Word of mouth may also be a useful way to find a qualified, trusted therapist. If you know others who identify as transgender or non-binary and have gone through the process of gender therapy, asking for their recommendation can point you in the direction of an experienced therapist.
Find a gender therapist through the Harley Therapy platform
Whenever you’re ready, we’re here to help you book gender therapy online with qualified, professional counsellors and psychotherapists easily and quickly, at the times and prices that suit you, wherever you are.
At Harley Therapy, we vet our therapists to ensure that they are registered and insured to practice as a therapist in the UK. We check that they are registered members of UK professional bodies, to ensure that all of our therapists have completed the professional training necessary to work as a licensed practitioner. You can filter our qualified, professional and vetted therapists by location, cost, availability, approach so that you can find and book your best match simply and quickly.
Scroll below to view gender therapists who are available: