Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Transgender people-Counseling of, Transgender people-Psychology, Sexual minorities-Counseling of, Sexual minorities-Psychology, Gender identity, Qualitative research, Trans*, Transgender, Theories, Techniques, Practice


This original qualitative study identifies the theories and techniques therapists have found supportive in their work with Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming clients. Twelve clinicians currently in practice in the New York City area and one clinician from Virginia who had experience working with Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming clients were interviewed. The questions posed to them were intended to guide them to reflect on their practice considering what theories arose as themes in their work and what techniques or approaches arose as supportive in their work with this population. Their responses were in line with the current body of literature reflecting an ongoing struggle to apply developmental theory to gender development where some clinicians find use in these theories while others do not. Other major findings indicate the use of empathy, validation, and acceptance for this population may do more therapeutic than just developing a working alliance but also provide a reparative experience for members of this population who may have had little to no empathy, validation and acceptance from their families of origin, surrounding communities, and society at large. Overall this study indicates that clinicians in the field draw upon their training and continuing education to select the specific theory and skills to meet the needs of each individual client as those needs present themselves. The findings also indicate that in general, clinicians feel that treatment approaches that work for most clients will also work for most TGNC clients. Lastly, this study contains implications for the education of theory and practice in social work settings regarding the treatment of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming clients.




ii, 46 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 38-39)