Here are some of the topics my clients and I discuss in counseling sessions, before and while in medical transition (hormone therapy, and surgery) and social transition (name change, coming out, etc.). How you feel about your honest answers gives you a sense of what you need to strengthen or deal with, so that your future is successful.
- Do I have realistic expectations of gender transition, including the social and medical (hormone therapy and surgery)? At times when I’m “read” do I see myself as a failure? Or can I gracefully keep my dignity? How will I respond to verbal attacks, ambiguous comments from family? From strangers? From coworkers and employers? (hint: “ I don’t care what other people think” is not an answer.)
- What are my commitments? To whom do I owe financial and/or emotional support? Have I thought about how to honor my commitments while transitioning? Can I refrain from co-dependent behavior while accepting responsibility for the consequences to others of my gender transition?
- What meaningful work will I be able to find if I lose my current job or profession? (ENDA does not guarantee smooth transition on the job, and it cannot change people’s behavior toward others.)
- If love doesn’t come my way after everything I’ve done in transition, will I be glad I did it anyway? Can I be happy within myself?
- Do I know this is who I am and need to be, in order to live? Will I be satisfied? OR are there additional issues that I need to bring into therapy? What must I also change about myself in order to be content with who I am?
- Have I made peace with those who will not accept me, or who I must ‘set free’ because their goals in life and mine no longer match? What is more important: my spouse or my marriage? What is more important to my spouse: me or our marriage? Can I tolerate the idea of him/her remarrying and us still being close friends? Do I have the skills to manage that?
- Have I settled any important questions my religious faith poses about gender transition? Is my relationship with God/Higher Power/Spirit or atheism meeting my spiritual needs around transition?
- How will I handle my former life? Can my parents keep my high school trophies on display, along with current pictures of me? Will I tell a new romantic partner about me, and when?
Before your first appointment, please complete the following form: