A Safe Bet? Transgender and Gender Diverse Experiences With Inclusive Therapists

Annie Snow, Julie Cerel, Laura Frey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Historically, the global mental health system has pathologized transgender and gender diverse (TGD) identities, imposing spurious diagnoses and nocuous “cures.” Recently, the World Health Organization declassified “transgender” as a mental health disorder, and psychological organizations have acknowledged the harmful practice of conversion therapy and other culturally inept interventions. Some practitioners have begun to advertise their therapeutic services as “trans-affirming” or “trans-competent,” but to date, there are no published studies delineating their efficacy. The following content analysis addresses this gap by considering the open-ended responses of 1,567 participants in the Trans Mental Health Survey.While inclusive mental health care is clearly needed, this study suggests that affirming providers are not axiomatically adroit: some providers inflate their expertise, conflate TGD experiences with sexual minority experiences, and manipulate their clients. Conversely, competent providers are identified by their helpfulness, trustworthiness, and understanding of TGD issues. In addition to promulgating best practices, this content analysis also acknowledges systemic barriers to quality care. The solutions to these macroissues include free or affordable mental health care and increased access to services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-158
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 23 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice


  • Affirming mental health care
  • Content analysis
  • Gender diverse
  • Trans-competent providers
  • Transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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