Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Transgender people, Psychotherapists, Self-disclosure, Self-disclosure-Psychological aspects, Psychotherapist and patient, Transgender, Transsexual, Gender non-conformity, Therapist self-disclosure, Disclosure, Gender-variant


Transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people face numerous challenges and disparities as members of a marginalized and stigmatized group (Grant, et al., 2011). With the increased visibility of the transgender and gender non-conforming community, there are also more TGNC people becoming professionally trained therapists, and there is a lack of guidance on navigating this particular experience. Four focus groups were conducted in the northeastern part of the United States with 19 total participants who are all Master's level or above mental health clinicians who identify as TGNC. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory study was to examine the experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) therapists related to disclosure about their gender identity and how it impacts both the therapeutic relationship and the practitioner's own sense of efficacy, safety and well-being. Findings were divided into three main domains of: the therapeutic relationship; supervision and workplace; and self-care and community. All three sub-sections revealed issues of burdens, stresses and challenges related to disclosure, as well as ways in which being out or visible have been beneficial and strengthening for the clinical relationship and internal resources for the individual. Relational Cultural Theory (RCT) (Jordan, 2011) provides a theoretical lens with which to clinically address these challenges in the context of social and cultural oppression for empowerment. This project addresses a current gap in the literature on this emerging, timely topic and provides guidance for training and supervision in the field of clinical social work and counseling.




iii, 100 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 79-91)