Support for Gender Identity Needs - Counseling & Therapy Services - The Juniper Center

Physical Sex vs. Gender Identity

Even before birth, almost everyone wonders if the baby will be a boy or a girl. “What are you having?” is a commonly heard question. On the surface, knowing someone’s gender seems like a basic, simple way to begin understanding that person; or is it?

While gender has predominantly been thought of as an either/or, boy or girl phenomenon, the world is evolving and inviting scientific and laypeople to re-think their understanding of what gender means. Sex and gender are not the same. The sex of a person is based on physical characteristics present at birth. A person’s gender is considered to be based on that person’s perceived or felt identity.

Gender Non-Conformity & Transgender

Gender Non-Conformity (GNC) or Gender Variance refers to a person’s desire to express their gender in ways that do not fit the typical male/female understanding. Transgender refers to a process by which an individual changes their gender identity, and perhaps expression, to be other than that with which they were born. Sometimes this expression is through clothing, haircut, name, and pronoun desires. Some may accomplish this through hormones to prevent puberty, or, in adults, they may take testosterone or estrogen to begin developing physical characteristics of the gender with which they identify. For a small minority, some people have sexual reassignment surgery. These procedures, augmented by hormones and voice therapy, help the person’s body and overall presentation to match their felt identity.

Gender Identity Therapy

Since being Gender Non-Conforming or Transgender is not a mental illness or a condition requiring treatment, there are no therapies to cure gender identities. However, depression, suicidal thinking, anxiety, and traumatic stress are all too common, since being different in these ways can result in rejection, bullying, violence, and general misunderstanding by others. Depression therapy, anxiety therapy, and trauma therapies can help members of the LGBTQ+ community and their families.

Letter Writing

While not required by law, some physicians require an evaluation and letter from a licensed therapist to accompany a person for whom they will administer hormones or for whom they will perform sexual reassignment surgery. The letter writing process typically involves a single appointment with a gender specialist who will check for understanding about the procedures and provide further information when requested. A letter is then crafted. The gender specialist is available to speak with the physician whenever it is deemed to be helpful.

Support for Gender Identity Transitions

Being with others who understand and who have similar experiences is invaluable. Group therapy is designed to provide support and assistance for individuals working through the complexities of a gender non-conforming life. These group therapies can dramatically decrease feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety.

Parent Support Around Gender Identity Concerns

Most parents are unprepared to know how to help their child navigate gender non-conformity or becoming transgender. Parents need to work through their own shock, loss, shame, and other complex emotions so they can best help their children. Parent support through individual, couple, family, or group therapy can reduce the parent’s feelings of isolation and shame, and can equip them with tools to meet their child’s and their family’s needs.

If you would like to speak with someone about the various ways that The Juniper Center can provide support to you, a friend, or a relative, we’re here to help. Our contact information can be found on the contact page, and we would be happy to provide any information that would be helpful to you.

Compassionate Care for Growth and Development

What matters to you matters to us. At The Juniper Center, we understand it takes courage to ask for help, and you don’t have to face your fear alone. With the right tools, solutions, and guidance, you can enhance the relationships in your life. Using a combination of techniques at the forefront of neurological science and compassionate care, we empower our clients to live their best lives.

Our team of mental health professionals leverages their extensive experience and training to create individualized treatment plans to help our clients reach their professional, personal, and mental health goals.

Search The Juniper Center:

Just Checking In.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed right now, sign up for Tension Tamers, our newsletter with tips for taming tension, self-care and links to live and recorded calming exercises to do at home.