Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Transgender people-Mental health services, Social work with transgender people, Transgender people-Identity, Transgender people-Attitudes, Gender identity disorders, Psychotherapist and patient, Transgender, Queergender, Mental health therapy


This qualitative, exploratory study sought to explore the experiences of transgender and genderqueer clients with the mental health system. Its purpose is to introduce the voices of the clients themselves into a body of literature that is currently largely dominated by professionals outside the trans community. Twelve people who self-identify as trans or genderqueer were recruited through postings on mailing lists and in queer-friendly spaces in Massachusetts and agreed to participate in hour-long interviews detailing their experiences in therapy as well as their feelings about their gender identities. Questions addressed quality of care received, length of time spent in therapy, suggestions for improved care, and participants' feelings about the gatekeeper role played by therapists in relation to surgical letters and about the inclusion of gender identity disorder as a diagnosis in the DSM. Participants reported mixed experiences in therapy, suggesting qualities that determined their assessment of a given therapist. Many took issue with current standards of care and suggested future changes to the existing system.




iii, 106 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 89-93)