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Publication Date


First Advisor

Joyce Everett

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School for Social Work


Transgender, Non-binary, People of color, Transcare, Gender variant, Psychotherapy


There are no known published empirical research studies exploring and describing the psychotherapy experiences of Trans/Gender Variant (TGV) People of Color (POC). TGV POC experience deeper and higher rates of racism, discrimination, trauma, and greater health disparities overall. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore, understand and describe the experiences of 27 TGV POC in psychotherapy by conducting semi-structured interviews using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analytical (IPA) framework. Data analysis generated six master themes: experiences seeking psychotherapy, experiences receiving psychotherapy, intersectionality of gender and racial identity in psychotherapy, recommendations to other TGV POC and recommendations to providers. The findings on racial identity and psychotherapeutic experience reveal that working with trans-competent therapists of color is preferred by the TGV POC population even though the saliency of race and racism varies from person to person.


©2021 Silvia L. Sandoval. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




150 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 128-135)