Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Transgender people-Counseling of, Transgender people-Psychology, Transsexualism, Psychoanalytic intervention, Psychoanalysis, Compromise formation, Gender identity, Queer theory, Psychoanalytic theory, Transgender, Transsexuality, Theoretical


This theoretical study explores the utility of psychoanalytic theory as a tool for working with trans* identified clients. Acknowledging the deeply problematic history of psychoanalytic theory and practice with trans*clients, the study nevertheless contends that a radical rereading of the psychoanalytic canon can provide a theory of gender as compromise formation and a conceptual toolkit that can allow for anti-oppressive clinical work around gender identity from a psychodynamic perspective. Using conceptual history and conceptual analysis as a methodological frame, the study delineates five concepts in contemporary psychoanalytic theorizing that support the depathologizing of trans* identity and the denormalization of cisgender identity. In so doing, this study draws on the long tradition of psychoanalytic interest in identity formation to help social workers doing psychodynamic work with clients reframe theories of normality and pathology around gender identity for themselves, for their clients, and in combating systemic oppression around gender normativity.




ii, 105 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 98-105)