What is Gender Dysphoria and can counselling help?
Gender Dysphoria (also previously referred to as Gender Identity Disorder) is a term used to describe the distress trans people may feel when their inner sense of self (gender identity) does not match what they see on the outside.
“you may have experienced moments of feeling a complete lack of fit between your body and yourself, almost as if you and your body, or parts of it, are complete strangers “ – Meg-John Barker & Alex Lantaffi.
You may experience fleeting moments of unease in your own body to a feeling of deep disconnect. This can make it extremely difficult, or maybe even impossible, to continue as you currently are.
A safe space to discover yourself.
My counselling practice is based in Hall Green, Birmingham near Solihull.
I am an experienced counsellor providing a safe space where you can explore and discover who you are and your feelings around this without judgement.
Gender Affirmative Approach.
It is not unusual for your gender experiences, identity and expression to change over time.
I believe that gender is diverse and fluid. I work from a position that does not validate any form of gender identity, expression or experience as superior or “normal”.
Counselling can help you explore your feelings and emotions in relation to these changes. This allows you to move towards a more comfortable and self accepting place.
What might bring you to counselling?
You might not be sure what gender is all about for you, and that’s ok. Counselling can offer you a safe space to explore this and increase your understanding of yourself.
Gender identity can be defined as an inner sense of who we are, however, we do not live in isolation. Our inner sense of self is influenced by the world around us and shaped by:
- The language we use – he or she; being told that you are a boy or a girl and not being given any other options.
- Media – negative messages which add to a sense of shame or confusion.
- Culture – what it means to be male – big boys don’t cry. And female – girls should be kind and gentle, not show anger or assertiveness.
- How others react and interact with us –Young boys may be prevented from playing with dolls. Or young girls are stopped from playing rugby as it is seen as a male sport.
You may have been lucky enough to be allowed to play with whatever toys you wanted as a child. But, when a boy wants to wear a dress to school, or you want to change your name and the pronouns used to describe yourself (he,she,they), this is met with apprehension or dismissed as a phase.
Therefore, our gender identity becomes a combination of a sense of who we are in relation to how the people around us view gender.
How problems manifest.
Children quickly learn how they are supposed to behave in respect to their gender. This also informs them what is safe to express and what isn’t.
This can lead to parts of the self being shut down, suppressed and hidden. Internal conversations about your gender may be critical and judgemental.
Problems for trans people often arise as a result of transphobia, discrimination and violence.
Young trans people often experience bullying. It is no surprise that the rates of mental health issues, self harm and suicide are high among trans people.
You may be experiencing difficulties with relationships with people in your life who struggle to accept your trans status.
Your trans status may be irrelevant to the struggles you are experiencing. It may be that you seek out therapy as a safe and non-judgemental space. Here you can explore your choices around gender identity and expression or social and medical transition.
Feel free to give me a call or send me an email. We can discuss how gender identity counselling can help you.