What is a gender therapist? (A complete guide)

What is a gender therapist? (A complete guide)

In this blog post, we talk about the role of a gender therapist, the gender perspective in psychology and what does it mean to be non-binary.

What is the role of a gender therapist?

A gender therapist is a mental health professional with a broad knowledge of gender identity. To have gender knowledge is to have a broad, egalitarian perspective, to understand all the forms of suffering that still exist today in this patriarchal and oppressive world. 

It is fundamentally having respect for the others, conceiving an endless number of intermediate options in a non-binary world. It is not to blame a person who is the victim of some type of violence, it is not to ask ourselves (or worse, ask them) what they did to make that happen.

What is a gender therapist? (A complete guide)

It is knowing the rights of our patients and our obligations as mental health professionals. It is respecting the pain of others, without judging absolutely nothing.

What does the Gender Perspective mean in psychological treatments?

Human Area implements the gender perspective in its advanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy treatments, attending to the similarities and differences associated with this dimension of personality and psychosocial factors that play a relevant role in psychological, physical and social health; thus achieving enhance the optimal development of people.

The gender approach applied to Clinical Psychology involves taking into account throughout the process of psychological treatment the differential conditions that affect men and women, both socially and culturally as a product of male and female gender roles.

The gender approach in Psychology, therefore, constitutes a fundamental complementary analysis model to understand human behaviour, which allows us to see difficulties that would otherwise go unnoticed. This involves the development of instruments and techniques for the study and subsequent application to therapies. The objective is to achieve higher quality and efficacy in psychological treatments.

What is a gender therapist? (A complete guide)

What is the Gender Perspective or Gender Approach in Psychology?

In this sense, it is necessary to differentiate the concepts of sex and gender, since “sex” refers to biological, anatomical and physiological characteristics, while “gender” refers to psychosocial components and cultural constructions through linked norms and social roles to each sex (World Health Organization, 2006).

In general, we do not question our beliefs and sometimes they play an important role in the origin and maintenance of some difficulties. For example, it has been said that “men do not cry” or at least that it is not their own and that if they do they will think of them as weak and vulnerable, or in the case of women, that “they are emotional”, as opposed to the rationality necessary for solving problems.

The gender analysis seeks to know how different sociocultural and subjective factors of being a man or a woman differentially affect the physical, psychological and social health processes.

Incorporating the gender perspective in clinical practice implies taking into account the differential etiological mechanisms underlying different psychopathologies of biological origin (linked to sex) and psychosocial while making it possible to implement therapeutic strategies adapted to the different vital and psychological circumstances of women and men.

What is a gender therapist? (A complete guide)

Who needs a gender therapist?

It doesn’t matter if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, intersex or queer, you should know that you have the option to find a gender therapist who will understand what you are going through and are willing to help you without wanting to change you.

You can choose from:

  • Individual Therapy – Be proud and enjoy being who you are, always. Talk about your problems without the risk of being judged or changed by someone. Your therapist will be with you to help you find new perspectives, develop skills, and find solutions.
  • Couple therapy – Love does not discriminate or know gender. If you have problems with your partner, no matter what type of friction it is, your therapist will always be ready to assist you regardless of whether they are of the same gender, a partner with trans members, zero discordant or heterosexual.
  • Family therapy – Family is everything. Families of the same gender, families with trans members and families who have a gay, lesbian, trans or queer child and want to improve their family dynamics and live happily together – there are therapy options for everyone.

What does it mean to be non-binary?

The term non-binary is used by individuals who do not identify as men or women. In other words, they find themselves on a fluid spectrum between the terms man and woman. 

Non-binary, in essence, is the term used for those who do not identify with the gender to which they were assigned at birth. For this reason, many non-binary people consider themselves part of the trans or LGBT community.

Someone who is not binary does not see himself as a man or a woman specifically. This is a very broad way of saying that these people do not see themselves in the way society said they should be.

A non-binary person may also struggle with sexual orientation and may even consider it transgender so that their body reflects what is most closely identified with sex.

Living as a non-binary person

As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, being non-binary can come with its challenges. Many people do not understand exactly what it is and some even refuse to acknowledge that it exists.

For these reasons, non-binaries can change your whole life. Once you realize exactly what it means, you will be faced with challenges that other people will never think of. 

Truth is, in the beginning, people don’t believe in it. This changes your life for many different reasons. For one, people who don’t believe you when you say you’re not a man or a woman will only make it hard for you and make you feel bad.

They usually raise their eyebrows in confusion and give their day as if you were just excusing the nonsense of not identifying either sex. This will make you feel upset and you will avoid telling people – which suffocates your need to be understood.

People will think you just want attention. This is one of the most annoying things about society today. They believe that anyone who claims not to be binary is just looking for attention because it is a hot topic in today’s world of controversy.

Some people think it’s just a phase. This is another thing that will stop you to the end. People will more or less ignore you when you try to tell them that they are non-binary because they will think that it is just something you are going through now and not a serious problem.

Some may have the courage to tell you that it is just a phase and you will get out of it. Those people don’t have to be in your life. Therefore, you may end up cutting some people in your life who choose not to recognize who you are.

You will feel misunderstood. This is the biggest challenge. If all your life you have managed to reach people and talk to them about everything and be understood and then come out as non-binary, suddenly no one really understands you.

Being non-binary can be very difficult because for the rest of your life you have been dropped into a certain category and you can’t even choose any of the categories as one “because it’s not what you feel”.

This can make you feel like you don’t belong, and that’s a little life-changing because when you don’t feel like you’re included in life, you feel alone and left out. It can make you withdrawn and less likely to engage with other people.

However, being non-binary is not something that someone chooses, but rather it is at a deeper level. It has the ability to change your life in many ways!

What is a gender therapist? (A complete guide)

FAQ about Gender therapist

What is a gender therapist?

A gender therapist is a mental health professional who has a broad knowledge of gender identities and gender transition. 

How long do you have to see a gender therapist?

There is no timeline for how long you have to see a gender therapist, however, most people see a gender therapist at least one year, especially if they had a gender transition that required surgery.

What do they ask you in gender therapy?

In gender therapy, you are asked to recall significant events from your childhood related to your gender identity, trauma, social support, mental health, substance abuse history, and other important factors. 

What is the difference between binary and Nonbinary?

Binary means having two-parts/identities/genders (male and female). Non- binary tends to be used as more of a catchall for people who do not identify with the binary categories of male and female.

What is a pansexual person?

A pansexual person, or pansexuality, is sexual attraction or desire, romantic love or emotional attraction to people of all kinds, regardless of gender, nationality, social status or religion.

How many genders are there now?

There are 5 genders now: male, female, hermaphrodite, female pseudohermaphroditism and male pseudohermaphroditism. 

Conclusions

In this blog post, we talked about the role of a gender therapist, the gender perspective in psychology and what does it mean to be non-binary.

A gender therapist is a mental health professional who has a broad knowledge of gender identities and gender transition. 

Remember that it is fundamentally having respect for the others, conceiving an endless number of intermediate options in a non-binary world. It is not to blame a person who is the victim of some type of violence, it is not to ask ourselves (or worse, ask them) what they did to make that happen.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know!

Further reading

Exploring the Dimensions of Human Sexuality, by  Jerrold S. Greenberg

Diversity in Couple and Family Therapy: Ethnicities, Sexualities, and Socioeconomics, by Shalonda Kelly

Identities and Inequalities: Exploring the Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, & Sexuality (B&b Sociology) by David Newman 

Just Your Type: Create the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted Using the Secrets of Personality Type, by Paul D. Tieger 

References

Alloy, L. B., Abramson, L. Y., Whitehouse, W. G., Hogan, M. E., Panzarella, C., & Rose, D. T. (2006). Prospective incidence of first onsets and recurrences of depression in individuals at high and low cognitive risk for depression. Journal of abnormal psychology, 115 (1), 145. 

Clark, D.A., & Beck, A.T. (2010). Cognitive theory and therapy of anxiety and depression: convergence with neurobiological findings. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14, 9, 418–424 

Hankin, B. L., & Abramson, L. Y. (2001). Development of gender differences in depression: an elaborated cognitive vulnerability-transactional stress theory. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 6, 773-796. 

Hyde, J.S., Mezulis, A.H. & Abramson, L.Y. (2008). The ABC´s of Depression: Integrating affective, biological, and cognitive models to explain the emergence of the gender differences in depression. Psychological Review, 115 (2), 291-313 

Ingram, R.E., Miranda, J. & Segal, Z. (2006). Cognitive Vulnerability to Depression. In L.B. Alloy and J.H. Riskind (Eds), Cognitive Vulnerability to Emotional Disorders. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.