Helplines, Counselling and Clinics
Talk to a Helpline.
Knowledge is power. Talk to as many people as you can, and read as much as possible.
Believe half of what you hear and less of what you read.
At the end of the day, it your life, and it is your right to decide what you want to make of it, though it will almost always include consideration of those you care about.
A good helpline call has a beginning, a middle and an end. At the start, callers talk about the problems and emotions that are confusing and worrying them, in an atmosphere of safety and total acceptance. The helpliner may say very little, except for a few encouraging noises.
The next stage is for the helpliner to reflect back at least something of what the caller has being saying, perhaps clarifying a particular issue.
At length, the caller's thoughts may have reached a conclusion, and he, or she, may have come to a decision, even if it is only to feel better about things.
Having said that, there are many helplines around with their own agendas, and many books full of rubbish - and a good deal on the net - so keep your own counsel. Above all, don't be mislead by wishful thinking. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. But no one undertakes a course of powerful medication or considers major invasive surgery on a whim. One aim of this site is that more of those that claim to be caring agencies, show respect for their clients.
|Press for Change|
have done a great deal of work regarding the legal issues that transsexuals face. If you have problems are in this area, you are invited to write to: Press for Change, BM NETWORK, London WC1N 3XX
or you can find their website on our links page.
Starting the Real Life Test.
Psychiatrists and clinics.
The most well-known NHS gender confirmation clinic is, of course, at Charing Cross Hospital in London. It is known that there are many others around the country, and a number of psychiatrists working alone. However, they seem to keep a low profile, possibly to avoid difficulties with funding, or to avoid bigoted exposure in the local press.
This means that they don't talk to each other, and there may be little quality control through peer evaluation. It seems that, not withstanding the unrealistic attitudes and expectations of many clients, away from the centres of excellence, the experience of helplines is that professional knowledge is lacking, and surgery is not always as good as it should be. It is also unacceptable that the needs and rights of families should be ignored.
There are also private clinics, some very good, some simply exploitative. One has featured, in another context, in exposures by both 'Watchdog' and Roger Cook. Another imports medications of unknown value from the USA.
Since this page was first written the new version of the HBIGDA Standards of Care have been published. These are the internationally agreed ethical code of practice, which all those involved in gender dysphoria should be aware of.
British Association for
Directory of Chartered Psychologists
Living the Real Life Test.
In your search for gender confirmation, you are embarking on a long and difficult journey. What you are looking for is not someone that will try to 'cure' you, yet you don't want someone who will simply agree with everything you say. You certainly don't someone to push you in a direction that you do not feel totally comfortable with. What you are looking for is critical support in solving the many day-to-day-problems that occur.
Many groups are now providing lists of counsellors. You do not, of course, need to belong to a group to be "referred" to a counsellor.
These lists are often undiscerning. They may not include the qualifications of those listed, nor whether they are properly supervised.
Membership, as such, of the BAC does not imply any expertise. In fact, the BAC forbids its members from using the fact of membership in this way.
You may seek the help of an accredited BAC member, who, if he, or she, is a supervisor, may offer the name of a suitable person.
A Counselling Psychologist has a charter from the British Psychological Society.
Either way a competent counsellor is likely to have a post-graduate diploma from a recognised educational or therapeutic institution.
Many people, especially at first, feel that they cannot open themselves up fully to their friends and family. A counsellor has no preconceptions about you and no agenda, however unwitting, to preserve the status quo.
The new HBIGDA standards lay down certain preconditions for beginning a course of hormones. For many, beginning the real life test first is impractical. Yet the alternative of psychotherapy is not a 'get out'. If you are really clear about yourself and have an honest and practical view of your future life, your psychiatrist will have more confidence in your future success, and he, or she, may be expected to respect the judgement of a carefully chosen counsellor/psychotherapist.
||Copyright GENDYS Network. Last amended 18.05.07, 26.12.16|