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The Psychotherapist Association for
Gender & Sexual Diversity

How Is a Gender THERAPIST DifferENT From a Transgender/Gender Friendly Therapist?

Transgender/Gender Friendly Therapist:

A licensed therapist who is open to working with transgender and gender diverse clients
A licensed therapist who has already worked with some transgender, non binary, intersex, agender and/or gender diverse clients in their practice and who stays open to continuing to do so.


A licensed therapist who has a vast amount of knowledge about gender dysphoria, gender euphoria, gender identity, gender nonconformity, transphobia (and how it works in real life) and how to help clients with making gender changes (in their variety of forms).  They typically have experience with people who identify as transgender, trans feminine, trans masculine, non binary, agender, gender fluid, intersex, questioning, as well as people who may be detransitioning.  

The Gender Therapist has been and is currently so well-versed in gender identity issues that they could potentially teach a CE course on gender identity to other health care professionals, as well as a college-level course on gender identity.  They regularly attend educational conferences or trainings about gender affirming care, keeping their skills and understanding of the field current.

They know and consult with other gender therapists and/or gender affirming healthcare providers, and may belong to an ongoing consultation group with other gender therapists.

The Gender Therapist is aware of current research in the field of transgender mental health. They have an understanding of the basics related to trans-related healthcare including understanding the options available to people who seek medical interventions.  

The Gender Therapist may be a member of WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health), be aware of the WPATH Standards of Care, or be involved with other trans-health focused professional organizations like The Protecting Affirming Care for Trans Youth (PACT) Coalition. The Gender Therapist keeps updated on what their organization is working on,  controversies in the field, and understands how the political landscape impacts trans and non binary people.

Questions Clients Should Ask a Potential Therapist:

A Gender Therapist should be able to answer “yes” to ALL or MOST of these questions.

  • Do you have sound guidance and know how to help me talk to my family and friends about transitioning? Do you have educational materials you can provide me to provide my loved ones about gender diverse people and how to be an ally?
  • Do you have access to updated and relevant resources for me in my local region?
  • Can you speak to me knowledgeably about hormones? What is reversible and irreversible? The different types of delivery options? Puberty blockers? All the options? The pros and cons of going on hormones as a non binary person or trans person? 
  • Can you speak to me knowledgeably about different types of surgeries? The pros and cons of each? The different techniques for each type of surgery at a basic level? What I need to be aware of to have a successful recovery process?
  • Can you speak to me knowledgeably about different types of known gender affirming surgeons? Can you provide ideas about what to ask during my surgery consultations?
  • Are you knowledgeable about the different types of laws with regards to changing documents, insurance policies, and anti-discrimination? 
  • Do you know how to help me maneuver the healthcare system? (E.g., writing letters for surgery, talking to doctors, working with uninformed insurance companies, dealing with insensitive and sometimes hostile staff, as well as anyone associated with the healthcare system.)
  • Are you willing to meet my family members, educate them and deal with their potentially strong negative reactions (and possibly having such negative reactions projected on to you)? Have you done this before?
  • Do you know how to educate me on specific tools to help keep myself as safe as possible from violence within the dangers of the transphobic world?
  • Can you speak to me knowledgeably about employment issues and steps to take to have a successful transition at work?

Written by Koen Baum, LMFT and updated by Lisette Lahana, LCSW, Both Gender Therapists with over 20 years in the field