Being transgender is not something a person chooses. When you are young, this can feel very complicated and confusing. Gender is a construct of the brain, and when your brain and body are not congruent, it causes a lot of pain. Even though we know being transgender is a natural part of being human, others may disagree, and bullying and victimization can occur. Therapy is helpful to the youth and the family to help navigate, better educate and offer assessments when needed for transgender health care that is medically necessary.
Because of minority stress, a lack of support, and a general lack of safety, transgender youth are at a far higher risk for eating disorders, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and substance abuse. Whatâ€™s more, is that transgender youth are the most at-risk group for suicide. Therapy is not just something â€śto helpâ€ť it can literally save lives.Â Research shows that support from family and community can reduce that risk substantially. Thatâ€™s why at JCA Mental Health, we take a family approach to counseling transgender youth.
Having a transgender child or sibling can rock even the most supportive family systems. When a transgender youth is struggling, so is their family. Families of racial and gender privilege find themselves in a minority position that can be difficult to navigate and understand. Religion and family norms can also conflict with the love you feel for your transgender child. Therapy can help everyone in the family navigate the complex emotions associated with having a transgender family member and guide families towards the support that is necessary for guiding transgender youth toward health and happiness.
For some, being transgender is fixed in early childhood. In these cases, family members are rarely surprised when their child comes out. For others, this is a part of pubertal development and can come to light as the body begins the changes from youth to adulthood. In either case, youth of all ages will struggle and potentially have developmental delays in other domains while they try to understand their gender. Being transgender is not an illness or a problem; however, how society treats transgender individuals causes problems. The other aspect of being transgender that causes distress is gender dysphoria which is the painful sensation of oneâ€™s gender and body being incongruent. This is a natural feeling for transgender folks but one that can cause extreme pain and mental anguish.
This is different for each unique individual. Therapy gives us a way to navigate and come up with personalized solutions for each patient. Whether the plan is a medical transition or social transition, JCA Mental Health has WPATH-educated staff to guide your family through safely and positively.
Get your family the support that you deserve by calling us at 630-276-7922 or booking an appointment online.
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