How To Find A Gender Therapist (2023)

How do you find a gender therapist? Now, more than ever, therapists are specializing in working with transgender and non-binary clients and they receive additional training for affirming and supporting their client’s gender transition.

Organizations like WPATH (The World Professional Organization of Transgender Health) and The National Institute for Transgender Equality are training clinicians on best practices for working with transgender and non-binary clients.

Finding a gender therapist can be daunting for members of the LGBTQ community because there is a lot of fear that the new therapist will not be well trained in working with transgender clients or they may try to persuade you not to transition or promote untrue statements about transitioning or even be considered a gatekeeper for transitioning. A gatekeeper is someone, particularly a therapist or doctor that creates unnecessary barriers for someone to begin a gender transition.

There are several places to search for a gender therapist online including Psychology Today and Therapy Den and Good Therapy which are directory listings of profiles of therapist that you can search via zip code.

In these directories, you can filter by categories such as transgender and nonbinary or LGBTQ affirming and the directories have areas where therapists can introduce themselves in paragraph form so you can get a sense of their therapeutic style and who they most enjoy working with and how they are trained to provide therapy.

If you use one of these directory profiles, I recommend filtering by the words transgender or LGBTQ and then taking the time to read each therapists profile to make sure they specifically mention working with transgender clients in their written statement. It’s important your potential therapist really has experience working with clients who are transgender and are not just checking off a list of specialties, which can happen.

Another way to find a gender therapist is to search the internet for search terms such as “gender therapist near me” or “LGBTQ affirming therapist near me”.

Like the directories, a therapist who could be considered a gender therapist or specialist should have a section of their website that is dedicated to or at least speaks about working with transgender and non-binary clients. You can look for words such as “affirming”, “competent”, “knowledgeable” and “experienced”.

A gender therapist should never try to change your mind about who you are as a person and what your identity is, so if you sense that your potential therapist will not be supportive, it’s best to look for another therapist. That is not to say that a gender therapist will not gently challenge you, but they should not actively be working against you either.

(Video) How To Get a Gender Therapist

Part of finding a gender therapist is knowing that you are not just your gender identity. Among gender therapist, there’s a current conversation that gender therapists aren’t really gender therapists at all. They are therapists that work with a whole person and every intersection of identity that the person has, and your gender identity is one piece of the puzzle that is you as a whole person and not just your gender identity.

When looking for a gender therapist, look for someone that recognizes that you have many different identities and perhaps challenges that are working together to make up your identity and each of these intersections should be honored.

To find a gender therapist that is well trained in working with transgender clients, it would be best to ask about their continuing education experiences.

Because there are few, if any educational programs that are widely recognized as certifications for working with transgender clients, mental health clients further their learning with working with transgender clients through a day long and multiple day conferences.

Some of these conferences include The Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference and gender Odyssey as well as conferences by Fenway Health in Boston that are held each year. While it’s not required for a therapist to attend one of these conferences to be transgender affirming, attending a conference can show a level of dedication to stay up to date on best practices and research in working with transgender and non-binary clients.

Word of mouth from other people who are transgender is another good way to find an affirming therapist.

If you know someone in the LGBTQ or transgender community, asking them about their experiences with their therapists can be a good indicator of their therapist is affirming or knowledgeable. You can often ask for therapist recommendations in support groups or contact your local PFLAG group and ask for a list of local recommendations.

The Campaign for Southern Equality publishes a local guide for all the southern states called Trans in the South and the most recent guide was published in January of 2019. It can be found here.

This is a list of mental health therapists and practitioners in the southern states that includes whether or not they write letters for hormones and if they are affirming of a gender transition as well as if they can write prescriptions for medication or offer a reduced rate for sessions and take insurance.

(Video) How to Find a Gender Therapist for Transitioning (FTM/MTF) | Casey Blake

There are other organizations throughout the United States that have resource guides for gender-affirming therapists.

The WPATH website has a member directory of members that includes mental health therapists that you can search for via state or country. To become a member of WPATH, there is an application process and therapists need to submit that they have had experience working with transgender clients.

Please keep in in mind that not all members of WPATH possess the same level of affirmation to transgender clients so it’s still best to have a conversation with a potential therapist.

When you do narrow down your list of a potential gender therapist, most therapists will offer a free brief phone or email consultation to see if you are a good fit with one another. This is a good time to ask questions of the therapist about their belief systems of working with transgender clients, including how long they would ask you to be in therapy before they write you a gender letter of affirmation if you need one to start hormones or have surgery.

WPATH no longer requires either ongoing gender therapy or a written letter to begin hormones, although some therapists still use past requirements. The consultation call is a time you can ask about these requirements if they exist with your new therapist.

You can also use this time to ask your new mental health therapist what theoretical modalities they use during therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectic behavioral therapy as well as many others. Often therapists use an eclectic array of therapeutic interventions, so they may be trained on one or more modalities.

Some other questions you could ask a potential gender therapist could include how often they work with transgender clients, what training they have had and if they follow current WPATH standards.

You can also ask them if they support informed consent, which is the level of consent that allows people to access care such as gender affirming hormones without having a letter from a therapist first. Not every area of the nation has informed consent clinics for hormones, but most areas are moving towards this model.

It’s good to know if your therapist supports this model. If you are looking for a letter from a therapist for gender-affirming surgery, it’s fine to ask your therapist if they have written letters for clients to have gender confirmation surgery before and if so what specific surgeries they have written letters for and if their letters follow WPATH Standards of Care version 7.

(Video) How to Find a Gender Therapist (2014)

Anytime you are looking for ongoing therapy, finances may become an issue or concern and you may have questions if your therapist accepts your insurance or offers a sliding fee scale or reduced rate for sessions. A lot of therapists publish their rates for therapy sessions on their websites, which are generally 45-55 minutes in length.

The therapist’s directories previously mentioned in this article such as Psychology Today allow you to filter your search results by the insurance companies that the therapists accept, but more often therapists no longer accepting insurance and are instead offering a receipt for payments of sessions that you can submit for reimbursement from your insurance company.

By the time you meet for your first session with your new potential therapist, you should have an idea through their website or their directory listing whether or not they specialize in working with clients who are transgender and non-binary or if they are at least affirming of a gender transition.

Please don’t feel like you are required to continue therapy with the first or even third gender therapist you find. Finding a good fit with a gender therapist is an important step during your gender transition and therapy works best if you have support from your therapist and if you feel supported, listened to and heard by your therapist.

Therapy is an ongoing process and you need to have confidence in your gender therapist so you can succeed in your goals for therapy.

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(Video) How to Find a "Gender" Therapist


Where can I find a gender therapist near me? ›

Online directories like Psychology Today, the American Psychological Association (APA), and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) offer directories of LGBTQ+-friendly mental health providers in the United States.

Which therapy is most preferred for gender dysphoria? ›

Hormone therapy for adults

It's important to remember that hormone therapy is only one of the treatments for gender dysphoria. Others include voice therapy and psychological support. The decision to have hormone therapy will be taken after a discussion between you and your clinic team.

Does it matter what gender a therapist is? ›

The gender of the therapist is not key, but it is based on the client's own preference. If you are seeking a therapist and are not sure if their gender would interfere in your therapeutic experience, it is a good idea to explore their qualifications and work experience to know their expertise.

Who can I talk to about my gender identity? ›

Who can help me? If you're experiencing discomfort or uncertainty about your gender identity, and it's causing you distress, it's important to talk to an adult you can trust. You might want to talk to a parent or family member, or someone at your school or college.

How much does gender dysphoria cost? ›

Different studies have arrived at different conclusions about the prevalence of gender dysphoria. The DSM-5 estimates that about 0.005% to 0.014% of people assigned male at birth and 0.002% to 0.003% of people assigned female at birth are diagnosable with gender dysphoria.

How much does it cost to switch to male to female? ›

Its price list mentions estimates of $140,450 to transition from male to female, and $124,400 to transition from female to male.

At what age is gender dysphoria most common? ›

Transgender Men

Gender dysphoria history: Of the 55 TM patients included in our study, 41 (75%) reported feeling GD for the first time by age 7, and 53 (96%) reported first experiencing GD by age 13 (Table 2). A total of 80% of patients reported that feelings of GD were among their earliest childhood memories.

Can gender dysphoria be overcome? ›

For some people, treatment may just involve acceptance and affirmation or confirmation of their identity. For others, it may involve bigger changes, such as changes to their voice, hormone treatment or surgery. Read more about treatments for gender dysphoria.

Is there a pill for gender dysphoria? ›

Gender Dysphoria Medication: Progestins, Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Agonists, Aldosterone Antagonists, Selective, Antineoplastics, Antiandrogens, Oral Contraceptives, Estrogen Derivatives, Androgens.

Do males prefer male therapists? ›

While the majority of men reported no gender preference for their therapist, for those who do, the underpinnings and implications warrant consideration and discussion. Limitations and clinical and research implications are discussed. KEYWORDS: Men's mental health.

Can a guy see a girl therapist? ›

Fortunately, there's nothing wrong with men seeing female therapists. But there are a few potential complications that can come up. One concern is transference, a common phenomenon in which a patient projects feelings about another person onto their therapist.

Do men respond better to male or female therapists? ›

The Gender of Your Counselor Might Not Matter

It depends on the person and what their needs are and their perception of who a counselor is to them. The most important thing when choosing a counselor is finding someone a man feels comfortable talking to.

At what age is gender identity fixed? ›

Gender identity typically develops in stages: Around age two: Children become conscious of the physical differences between boys and girls. Before their third birthday: Most children can easily label themselves as either a boy or a girl. By age four: Most children have a stable sense of their gender identity.

How do I know if I'm non-binary? ›

What does it mean when a person is nonbinary? Being nonbinary is identifying gender as not 100% male or 100% female. Someone who has a nonbinary gender could describe themselves as having no gender, multiple genders, a masculine or feminine gender, or any other gender that is not fully male or fully female.

Do you need to see a therapist before transitioning? ›

According to the commentary, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) advises mental health screenings and recommends psychotherapy before any body modifications are made.

Can you self diagnose gender dysphoria? ›

While you can "self-test" yourself or your child for gender dysphoria, this should only be considered the first step toward a diagnosis. Even as adults, people can have difficulty articulating their true feelings or identifying the sources of those feelings.

How hard is it to get diagnosed with gender dysphoria? ›

To be diagnosed with gender dysphoria as a teenager or adult, you must have experienced significant distress for at least six months due to at least two of the following: marked incongruence between your experienced and expressed gender and your primary or secondary sex characteristics.

What are the 4 genders? ›

In English, the four genders of noun are masculine, feminine, common, and neuter.

How much is bottom surgery for FTM? ›

You may also have to pay for medications and supplies to care for your surgical wounds while you recover. In general, you can expect total costs of $6,400 to $24,900 for FTM bottom surgery and around $25,000 for MTF bottom surgery (Leis, 2022-a; Leis, 2022-b).

How do people afford bottom surgery? ›

The best-case scenario is for health insurance to cover surgery costs.
Consider these options to pay for gender-affirming surgery and care:
  1. Online personal loan.
  2. Credit union personal loan.
  3. Credit card.
  4. CareCredit.
  5. Home equity line of credit.
  6. Family loan.
21 Jun 2022

Can female to male transition? ›

For individuals transitioning from female to male (transgender men), medical treatment includes hormonal therapy with testosterone. Gender-affirming surgery includes "chest" surgery, such as mastectomy, and "genital" or "bottom" surgery, such as hysterectomy, oophorectomy, vaginectomy, metoidioplasty, and phalloplasty.

Can gender dysphoria go away after puberty? ›

Gender dysphoria that starts in childhood and worsens with the start of puberty rarely goes away. For children who have gender dysphoria, suppressing puberty might: Improve mental well-being. Reduce depression and anxiety.

Can gender dysphoria be caused by trauma? ›

Gender dysphoria currently exists as a mental health diagnosis, perpetuating stigma as well as pathologizing gender variance. Clinical social workers have preserved a harmful formulation that gender dysphoria is a disorder caused by trauma.

Can you develop gender dysphoria after puberty? ›

While symptoms of gender dysphoria often appear in early childhood, it's not uncommon for them to first appear during adolescence or, in some cases, even adulthood.

What are the signs of gender dysphoria? ›

You may feel: certain that your gender identity conflicts with your biological sex. comfortable only when in the gender role of your preferred gender identity (may include non-binary) a strong desire to hide or be rid of physical signs of your biological sex, such as breasts or facial hair.

What age can you start hormone therapy? ›

In order to receive gender affirming hormone therapy services you need to be over 18 (or 16-17 with parental consent) and capable of providing consent for services. There are special consents for these services.

Why do I want a female therapist? ›

Reasons for preference of a female therapist included feeling more comfortable talking with a woman, wanting someone similar to themselves (in terms of gender) so the therapist would understand them better (e.g., ability to be more empathic), wanting a therapist with stereotypically female qualities (e.g., “warmer”), ...

Why is it so hard for men to go to therapy? ›

Seeking help may be viewed as a “weakness,” leading men to be hesitant about seeking psychiatric help. Difficulty expressing emotions. Men may struggle to verbalize their feelings or share them with others, coupled with the ingrained belief that they should “man up” and deal with it themselves.

Do therapists find clients attractive? ›

Most therapists (71 percent) said they, either sometimes or regularly, found a client sexually attractive. Approximately 23 percent had fantasized about being in a romantic relationship and 27 percent about having sexual contact with a patient.

Is a therapist allowed to touch you? ›

Touch in therapy is not inherently unethical. None of the professional organizations code of ethics (i.e., APA, ApA, ACA, NASW, CAMFT) view touch as unethical. Touch should be employed in therapy when it is likely to have positive therapeutic effect. Practicing risk management by rigidly avoiding touch is unethical.

Is a therapist allowed to hug you? ›

Can your therapist initiate a hug? A therapist can hug a client if they think it may be productive to the treatment. A therapist initiating a hug in therapy depends on your therapist's ethics, values, and assessment of whether an individual client feels it will help them.

Can a therapist fall in love with a client? ›

The reality is that many therapists have experienced occasional sexual or romantic feelings toward their clients—but only a small percentage do anything to act on them. Indeed, this is what a recent study of mental health professionals in Belgium, by Vesentini et al., has found.

Are attractive therapists more successful? ›

Specifically, attractive therapists received more positive ratings than unattractive therapists. Treatment setting was found to have a significant effect on subjects' perceptions of therapist personal characteristics.

What do you do if your daughter wants to be a boy? ›

Support Your Daughter's Gender Style

Some children are more masculine or feminine in style, so be respectful of who your daughter is and do not try to change her. I encourage you and your husband to support her clothing choices, hairstyle, and even her gestures and mannerisms.

Can a child be non-binary? ›

Children who do continue to feel they are a different gender from the one assigned at birth could develop in different ways. Some may feel they do not belong to any gender and may identify as agender. Others will feel their gender is outside of male and female and may identify as non-binary.

What are the 6 gender identities? ›

Gender Identity Terms
  • Agender. Not having a gender or identifying with a gender. ...
  • Bigender. A person who fluctuates between traditionally “male” and “female” gender-based behaviours and identities.
  • Cisgender. ...
  • Gender Expression. ...
  • Gender Fluid. ...
  • Genderqueer. ...
  • Gender Variant. ...
  • Mx.

What is a good genderless name? ›

According to Yau, these are the most typically unisex names:
  • Jessie.
  • Marion.
  • Jackie.
  • Alva.
  • Ollie.
  • Jodie.
  • Cleo.
  • Kerry.
23 Jun 2022

What does fluid mean in gender? ›

Gender fluidity refers to change over time in a person's gender expression or gender identity, or both. That change might be in expression, but not identity, or in identity, but not expression. Or both expression and identity might change together.

How many genders are there in the world? ›

There are many different gender identities, including male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender, genderqueer, two-spirit, third gender, and all, none or a combination of these.

How do you deal with gender dysphoria without transitioning? ›

Other ways to ease gender dysphoria might include use of:
  1. Peer support groups.
  2. Voice and communication therapy to develop vocal characteristics matching your experienced or expressed gender.
  3. Hair removal or transplantation.
  4. Genital tucking.
  5. Breast binding.
  6. Breast padding.
  7. Packing.
26 Feb 2022

What do therapists ask on the first visit? ›

The therapist will ask questions about your presenting concerns, as well as your history and background. Most likely, you'll find yourself talking about your current symptoms or struggles, as well saying a bit about your relationships, your interests, your strengths, and your goals.

When should you turn a therapist on? ›

If your sleeping or eating habits have changed and you're having difficult doing either of those things, or if your stress is causing you problems at work, in your relationships, or at home and you're feeling like you're drowning in your stress, it is likely that talking to a trained professional will help you make ...

Do you need therapy before changing genders? ›

According to the commentary, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) advises mental health screenings and recommends psychotherapy before any body modifications are made.

Is gender dysphoria covered by insurance? ›

Gender Dysphoria / Gender Reassignment

Virtually all major insurance companies recognize that transgender-related medical care is medically necessary and have a written policy describing their criteria for when plans they administer will cover it.

Is it better to have a therapist with the same gender as you? ›

There is some research that indicates that, similar to race, gender matching makes no significant difference in terms of treatment outcomes. However, there is research that indicates that women tend to stay in treatment longer when matched with women therapists.

What does a gender specialist do? ›

A licensed therapist who has a VAST amount of knowledge about gender dysphoria, gender identity, gender nonconformity, transphobia (and how it works in real life) and how to help clients with transition (in its variety of forms).

What happens if you don't treat gender dysphoria? ›

Although gender dysphoria is not a mental illness, when not addressed, it may lead to worsening mood issues, depression and anxiety, and may further complicate the issues the individuals may be having. Insurance may cover some illnesses associated with gender dysphoria and gender dysphoria care.

How long does gender dysphoria take? ›

To be diagnosed with gender dysphoria as a teenager or adult, you must have experienced significant distress for at least six months due to at least two of the following: marked incongruence between your experienced and expressed gender and your primary or secondary sex characteristics.

How do I know if I am gender dysphoria? ›

You may feel: certain that your gender identity conflicts with your biological sex. comfortable only when in the gender role of your preferred gender identity (may include non-binary) a strong desire to hide or be rid of physical signs of your biological sex, such as breasts or facial hair.

How long does it take to transition from female to male? ›

Guidelines recommend people spend 12 months on hormone therapy before they get genital reassignment surgery (GRS). This operation involves recreating a person's genitals to that of the opposite sex. Removal of the gonads may be done as well.

Why do people prefer female therapists? ›

Some saw men as less trustworthy than women or noted that they felt more comfortable and secure with women. A few women indicated that they were afraid of male therapists and of how they might be treated.

What do gender therapists talk about? ›

Gender therapy focuses on the social, mental, emotional, and physical needs of those who: are questioning gender. are uncomfortable with aspects of their gender or body. are experiencing gender dysphoria.

Is it OK for a female to have a male doctor? ›

If you're one of the 46% of women who prefer a female doctor or 23% of men who prefer a male doctor, that's ok. What's important is that you completely trust your doctor, so that they can provide the best care possible for you. Don't hinder your own care by sticking with a doctor you don't completely trust.

How do you deal with gender issues? ›

10 ways to promote gender equality in daily life
20 Dec 2018

What is a gender focal point? ›

The work of a gender focal point is to support gender mainstreaming by advocating, advising and supporting professional staff and monitoring and reporting on progress - if necessary through the use of / support from consultants or external specialists.


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4. 4 Gender Therapy Questions with Devin Pinkston
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