How Can Gender-Affirming Therapy Help You?

Keeping your thoughts and feelings bottled up can lead to depression, withdrawal, and other negative consequences. Therapy is a safe place to talk through many issues, including questions you may have about gender identity and presentation. Fortunately, there are therapists who specialize in these topics. Here are some ways that a gender-affirming therapist can help people who are transgender, gender-nonconforming, or questioning:

1. Understand your feelings of gender dysphoria

Many people begin their exploration of gender due to feelings of discomfort regarding their assigned gender at birth. Some people may feel like they were born in the wrong body. They may feel discomfort when referred to using words pertaining to their assigned gender. These feelings are known as dysphoria, and they may be a sign that you are transgender. A therapist can help you understand and investigate your feelings of dysphoria so you can begin to work toward alleviating them.

2. Receive support and guidance

Acknowledging your gender dysphoria doesn't necessarily mean that you are transgender or that you must transition. People express their genders in a variety of ways, and your gender-affirming therapist's job is to help you choose a path that feels authentic and affirming to you. Your therapist can help you explore options like social and medical transition. They may encourage you to wear clothing and use terms that alleviate your dysphoria and help you feel more like your authentic self. You will be in control of the process every step of the way as your therapist provides support and affirmation.

3. Obtain letters of referral

Some people ultimately decide to pursue medical transition, which may include hormone replacement therapy and surgery. Some doctors require letters of referral from psychologists before patients can begin these procedures. Working with a gender-affirming therapist is a great way to get the letters of referral that you need for medical treatment. Your therapist will help you make sure that you're ready for transition and all the changes, both good and bad, that it may bring.

4. Explore your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment

Gender-affirming therapists help their clients discover and affirm their genders, but that's not all they do. Therapy sessions are a safe place to talk about anything that's bothering you, from your relationships to your job. It can be difficult to open up to a therapist when you're worried about being misgendered or invalidated. When you choose to see a gender-affirming therapist, you can rest assured that your therapist will respect you as the person you are so you can delve deep into difficult topics.

If you need gender-affirming therapy, reach out to a local clinic, such as Tim Bracaglia Counseling.