The Importance Of Finding A Gender Affirming Therapist

Transgender people first received formal recognition in the psychology field in 1992. Before then, many people didn't want to address the psychological needs of transgender people. "Gender identity disorder" was listed in the DSM III, the book of recognized psychological disorders. In 2012, the psychology community began recognizing people who only recently had "gender identity disorder" as sane transgender people with unique needs. Despite the progress made in the last couple of decades, transgender people still experience disproportionate discrimination and emotional distress. They also need help throughout their transition. Learn more about why it's so important to find a gender affirming therapist for your LGBTQ+ therapy sessions.

Psychological Clearance For Transition

Some transgender people decide to transition to the gender they self-identify as, which involves a life-changing, invasive surgery. They will learn that the transition is a long and expensive process. 

Requirements for gender reassignment surgery include:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Living as the opposite gender for 12 months
  • Hormone therapy for 12 months
  • Long-standing gender dysphoria
  • Referral letters from a mental health professional

On top of these requirements, transgender people generally pay for their reassignment surgery since, despite the mental anguish of living in the wrong body, most insurance companies don't consider the surgery medically necessary.

Your therapist can provide a referral for you. Keep in mind that at least one referral must come from a medical doctor and not simply a therapist.


Unfortunately, not everyone receives transgender people as warmly as others. Many transgender people experience issues coming out to friends and family. In some instances, familial disapproval can bring down a person's self-esteem. 

It doesn't help that strangers whisper and the media often pokes fun at transgender people.

A gender affirming therapist works to improve self-esteem in transgender patients. This self-love will allow transgender patients to move forward in the most healthy way possible in their relationships and learn to ignore disrespectful portrayals of transgender people in the media.

Crisis Management 

Transgender people are four times more likely to experience violence than cis people. In some tragic cases, these instances of violence turn fatal. A therapist can help you in the case of a traumatic experience. Most gender affirming therapists have substantial training in PTSD and trauma therapy.

While we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go. Not all therapists learn about the unique needs of transgender people. Get yourself one that does. 

For more information, contact a local clinic like Tim Bracaglia Counseling.