A psychotherapeutic exploration of children and adolescents presenting as transgender

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Bradley, Sinead
Issue Date
MA in Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The aim of the research was to carry out a psychotherapeutic exploration of the issues brought to therapy by young transgender clients. In doing so, this qualitative study explores the experience of the psychotherapists that work with these clients and the impact of the issues brought. Four semi-structured interviews were carried out with psychotherapists who work with this cohort of clients. The issues brought to therapy by young transgender clients centre on fitting in, belonging and support. These issues are similar for any other clients attending therapy, however they are magnified by the transgender issue and accompanied by other challenging concerns these clients experience as a result of their gender non conformity. The work with these clients is challenging however the participants of this research were slow to recognise the challenges in the work. The difficulties emerged as the participants expressed the rewarding aspects of the work. This current research explored the dynamic of the therapeutic relationship, the transference and countertransference and the journey of the therapist from saviour to enemy. It highlighted an element of advocacy in the psychotherapeutic work with these clients and how the therapists are motivated to contribute to fight against the struggles and injustices experienced by their clients.