In this week’s edition of the Ask a Gender Therapist Video Q&A Series I answer the question:
“How Do I Find a Gender Therapist?”
The transcript is below, if you’re more of a reader than a watcher.
Note: I created an updated version of this video in 2017, which you can watch here.
Ask a Gender Therapist: How to Find a Gender Therapist
Hi! This is Dara Hoffman-Fox, back again with another episode of Ask a Gender Therapist, where I do my best to answer your questions from my own personal experience as a gender therapist.
So, last week I answered questions that had to do with what to expect when visiting a therapist for the first time. And so right on the heels of that I have another question for you and it goes like this. It comes from Jessica, who gave me permission to use her name.
Hi! I’m a 16 year old transgender girl and I was wondering, how do I find a gender therapist or other trans-related resources in my area? I live in the Seattle area in Washington so if you know of anything helpful that would be fantastic. Thanks.
Well, this is definitely a complicated question, in that this can differ from state to state and of course from country to country. Because I am in the United States, and this is where I know most of the resources I am just going to focus on the United States. But, if you are out of the country and you have any ideas or suggestions, put them in the comments. That way other readers and myself will be able to discover this information.
But in the meantime, let’s go ahead and get started with how to find a gender therapist if you’re in the United States. Now forgive me because I have to read off my notes, because I’m a gender therapist, not an actor.
So what you can do is, right on the home screen there is a box and you can type in your zip code or your city and state and it pulls up all the therapists in your area who have a listing with Psychology Today (many, many therapists have a listing on this website because it’s used so often).
On the left side of the page you can look where it says you can specify what type of therapist you are looking for. And they do have a box where you can check “transsexual.” Go ahead and use that word for transgender as well, I think it says “transsexual issues.” You can also checkmark boxes like if you wanted them to take certain insurance, that kind of thing. That takes you to a list where it specifies those people in your area who say they work with “transsexual issues.”
Now the key is, at this point, you don’t know how much experience they really do have, but at the very least you have a running start. You can contact two or three of those therapists and ask them questions like we discussed in the first episode, making sure they are aware of how to work with someone who is transgender and have all the resources that you need.
That’s the first step, use Find a Therapist on the internet.
Next, I’m going to suggest you go check Susan’s Place. This is a website on the internet and the URL for that is susans.org. What you want to do is go to the section on the homepage that says Healthcare and underneath that it says Therapists and Counselors. Click on that and then you can click on whatever state that you live in and see who comes up under that list.
Another website you can go to is Dr. Becky’s website; that would be drbecky.com/therapists.html. That will take you to Dr. Becky’s page in which she has very similar categories of clicking on the state you live in and it will tell you the therapists in your area.
One thing that’s interesting that you can do is to cross-reference and see “Does this therapist show up on Find a Therapist and Dr. Becky and Susan’s Place?” For instance, I’ve made sure that my name appears on all three of those ways of finding a therapist. So that way, if somebody is checking for that they will know this isn’t just a person who says they are good at working with transgender clients. This is somebody who is also on other websites.
(Forgot to mention Laura’s Playground as another resource! The URL is http://www.lauras-playground.com/gender-therapists)
Of course, an easy way to (search for a gender therapist) is to go to your favorite search engine and type in “gender therapist in (whatever state you live in).”
For instance, if somebody was searching for me, let’s say they typed in “gender therapist in in Colorado” —I’m not the only gender therapist in Colorado by the way—when you type that in many therapists come up. The second link is for the Gender Identity Center of Colorado, of which I am listed on that, along with quite a few other therapists.So you can take a look and see which therapist is closest to your town, you can see if therapists on that list are on other lists.
But in Colorado we are very fortunate that we do have a Gender Identity Center. This might not be something that you have in your state, but certainly if you are searching for LGBT centers in your state you can find out from them if they have a list of gender therapists. That’s probably going to be the trickiest part of this; it’s hard to know if in your state you do have a good number of gender therapists to choose from. There might just be one and this person may be okay, and you might still have to go to them.
Word of mouth, this is another good way to find a therapist. Of course, that means you have to know other people who are transgender; maybe you know them in person or maybe they are people you know on the internet. But certainly ask other people, “Who is it that you used for gender therapy?”
Resources in general…again, sorry it’s so simplistic but for right now I tried to find specific sources that could get you to that information but I still just ended up typing into the search engine “transgender resources” and then, for instance, “Colorado” to see what comes up. If you want to type in “LGBT centers”—see if you have an LGBT center in your state that can help you. Type in “gender identity center” and the name of your state, see if that come up.
When it comes to finding a good gender therapist, you might have to get really resourceful. You might get super lucky and come up with quite a few that you can choose from. One thing that I am working on in Colorado to try to increase the chances of somebody finding a good gender therapist is I have created a group which includes mental health counselors in, right now, southern Colorado. Our intention is to educate and to bring everybody up to full awareness of how to work with transgender clients.
So at this point, even if you find just one gender therapist maybe you can talk to them and see if they would be willing to educate other therapists so you have more therapists to choose from in your state and in the future other people will have more therapists to choose from.
So, I hope that answer is helpful to you Jessica! Please, anybody viewing this video, if you have other ideas for Jessica, go ahead and put them in the comments, I will definitely be reading them. I love to find out about new resources.
For now, I invite you to go to my Facebook page for Conversations with a Gender Therapist, and give it a “like.”
In the meantime, if you have questions that you would like to ask me, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been a pleasure and as always, take care! See ya next time.