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What did you get out of therapy?


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I’ve had a couple sessions now and I’m not sure what I’ve gotten out of the sessions. But it seems like a lot of people really benefit from it. So now I’m wondering what I’m missing and whether I should find a different person to talk with. 
 

What did your therapist do to help you? What did you get out of it?

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  • Forum Moderator

As i reviewed my past history, being open and honest with my therapist, i saw my gender issues had always been with me.   Knowing they were not going away helped me move forward.  My therapist said little at first but what she said as well as the resources she mentioned were critical.  Perhaps it is more a matter of how we are guided to opening up, or our willingness to do so, than the actual work the therapist does.  Mine was there as a guide but i had to be willing to take the journey.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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  • Forum Moderator

Therapy is vital, no doubt about it. It takes time to establish a baseline with the therapist and them to ask questions that will help them focus on your needs. Not every session will yield a revelation. After a period of time if you just don't build a relationship with the therapist, like any doctor or dentist, if you don't feel they are helping, look elsewhere.

It took me nearly a lifetime to find the right therapist for me. Is she perfect - no - but who among us is? 

It has made the biggest difference in my life. I've been with my current therapist for 2 years and it has been a long, difficult road, but that is what it takes sometimes to dig deep enough to help someone. I have had to really face myself and be honest with myself and LISTEN. It is a lot of work but well worth the effort, in my opinion.

Hugs,

Heather

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I recently started therapy, only 2 sessions so far.  But the councilor is the person that facilitates my VA support group, so she's not a complete stranger to me.  So far it's mostly me talking which is what I expected anyway.  She does suggest questions.  I think it will be a long process for me to work through my issues (which are not necessary trans related).

It takes time to get to really know someone.

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Good afternoon @Fly2188

 

I think what helps me the most when I'm in therapy is: I get to verbalize the things in my head and heart. It seems like saying them, and hearing them to a real person, in person, lifts a huge burden off my being. It also helps me understand and hopefully build the proper context to explain to my family what's really going on with me. I've also received additional information about support groups, and activities where I can be me, in a non judgemental setting.

 

Best wishes, stay positive, and motivated.

 

Mindy🐛🏳️‍⚧️🦋

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2 hours ago, Fly2188 said:

I’ve had a couple sessions now and I’m not sure what I’ve gotten out of the sessions.

Hi @Fly2188what do you want to get out of therapy? 

That question should have been asked in your first session when the boundaries and expectations are set.

In the UK counselling is offered as part of the GIC services when folk are questioning, but we still also need an approved psychologist's seal of approval before we can start HRT, so for my counsellor I worked through my own issues and concerns until she told me I'd gone way past the point that she could justify meeting with me, for the psychologist I just summed up my journey so far as well as my hopes and dreams for the future and she signed me off for HRT after a few visits.

What you get out will be proportionate to what you put in, but the othes are right sometimes it can come down to personalities just not clicking.

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Hiya all. Just a couple quick thoughts about therapy. First, I agree with y'all that it's vital. I would add that finding the right therapist is equally important because this becomes an intimate relationship--you are sharing your deepest thoughts and emotions, after all. It's also vital to keep in mind that it is a lengthy and ongoing process. For example, it took almost three years work for me to come to grips with my gender identity.

 

As to what my therapist did for me, well, it was a process of gaining mutual trust and then digging deep into my childhood issues and unlocking buried memories and suppressed ideals. Bottom line--be patient and remember that each session builds upon the last one.

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I have been in therapy for about 6 weeks (6 sessions) and it is a remote option; just a phone call. Firstly, I think one has to enter it with a willingness to be open and honest. I connected with my therapist at the very first session and was able to voice feelings I had never told anyone before. That connection is important and like any other relationship needs to fit your needs.

 

For me, she has helped me to be more honest with myself and has identified some issues that I hadn't acknowledged before. I've also been given some techniques to accept difficult and painful feelings that lessens their impacts. It has been a great relief to acknowledge I had problems and needed help with them.

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Thanks everyone. 
 

I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. I just knew I wanted help working through my feelings and thoughts surrounding gender identity. Filling out the intake paperwork was the most challenging and it was very emotional to be faced with questions like “what do you want us to call you”, “what is your gender”, “what pronouns should we use”. 
 

The first session was decent and I was asked about my background, my family situation, my interests, why I was there, why I was having these thoughts, etc. I got some homework from that and did a lot of research on my own before the next session. The second session left me wanting, but wanting for what I’m not sure. 
 

I’m 95% sure now that I’m somewhere other than strictly male. That leaves the question of “ok, now what?” I think it became clear as we discussed that, that my primary concern is this leading to the end of my marriage and distance from my (very young) children.
 

We essentially ended with, “were it not for family I’d likely start to transition” and I need to decide if I’m willing take that leap with whatever impact that has on my spouse and kids. 

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11 hours ago, Fly2188 said:

I need to decide if I’m willing take that leap with whatever impact that has on my spouse and kids. 

This is definitely one of the scarier things to come to grips with, while my marriage was over before I started asking the question, I was terrified about how it would impact my kids who were just about to become teens. They're both very supportive and it has put me in a unique position to support my youngest who has started questioning their identity too, because they know I get it. If anything we are closer than we were.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/4/2022 at 2:45 PM, miz miranda said:

I have been in therapy for about 6 weeks (6 sessions) and it is a remote option; just a phone call. Firstly, I think one has to enter it with a willingness to be open and honest. I connected with my therapist at the very first session and was able to voice feelings I had never told anyone before. That connection is important and like any other relationship needs to fit your needs.

 

For me, she has helped me to be more honest with myself and has identified some issues that I hadn't acknowledged before. I've also been given some techniques to accept difficult and painful feelings that lessens their impacts. It has been a great relief to acknowledge I had problems and needed help with them.

Well stated and so true

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On 6/4/2022 at 7:25 PM, Fly2188 said:

 
 

I’m 95% sure now that I’m somewhere other than strictly male. 
 

We essentially ended with, “were it not for family I’d likely start to transition” and I need to decide if I’m willing take that leap with whatever impact that has on my spouse and kids. 

This topic is important and I am glad you posted it. A lot of people have similar questions.

First addressing the quote.  You are 95% sure ....  but what exactly? Gender fluid, transfeminine? Non binary, agender.  I ask because it is relevant to the next question. How can you start to "transition" if you don't know what your end goal is?

Therapy is what helps you figure that out.  Honestly, it's hard to even come out to people if your answer is, "I'm pretty sure I am not a man". Friends/family will jump on that 5% thing to tell you how wrong you are.

As for what did I get out of it: Confirmation of my fears at the time, I was trans.  I was pretty sure but there was a sliver of hope I was wrong. (life would have been much simpler if I was just "depressed" or confused.  I knew that once I admitted to myself and got a professional opinion I could never "not transition". My therapists helps me figure out what all that meant, the process, requirements etc etc. Since I'm in Kaiser Health Plan, the therapist is the point person for almost everything in my trans-related care.  They are the ones who give you the diagnosis. I got my referral to endocrinology and recommendation for HRT from him. He helped me craft strategies for coming out as well as how to cope if things didn't go as well as hoped.  When my relationship started becoming challengings, he helped my process and deal with all the emotional trauma that became. If you decide to do any transitioning, you will be going through so many profound changes physically, emotionally, chemically, socially and other ways you will need help adjusting. If you decide not to transition, you are going to need help dealing with a lifetime of dysphoria or incongruence. You need 2 mental health providers to write letters for bottom surg and one for top related ones.  I had a very bad bout of depression and grief with my divorce and he helped me survive and actually get to the point where I am happier than before. I technically don't need one anymore since I have all my letters and stuff but I plan on continuing to use my therapy benefit forever.  I think we all need a good therapist, whether your trans or not.

As for your family situation, it will have an impact whatever way you decide to go.  There are 100s of threads about it here I'm sure. There are no guarantees how anyone will be impacted by coming out and transitioning.  While no guarantee, family that is open minded and had a very strong sense of respect for each other and good communication skills tend to do OK. Most kids today, unless they are raised to be intolerant are easy to come out to. If they were raised in the conservative moral christian right it can sometimes be challenging.  If your familial relationships are challenging already.....this just exposes that. But you are right, there are implications even if they are supportive. They are part of your transition. They will have to explain to friends, coworkers and other spheres of influence.

I do say this a lot on this forum. Don't let fear dictate your decisions. Most of the time, our fears are WAY overblown vs what actually happens and that fear can paralyze us so easily.

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On 6/4/2022 at 12:31 PM, Mmindy said:

Good afternoon @Fly2188

 

I think what helps me the most when I'm in therapy is: I get to verbalize the things in my head and heart. It seems like saying them, and hearing them to a real person, in person, lifts a huge burden off my being. It also helps me understand and hopefully build the proper context to explain to my family what's really going on with me. I've also received additional information about support groups, and activities where I can be me, in a non judgemental setting.

 

Best wishes, stay positive, and motivated.

 

Mindy🐛🏳️‍⚧️🦋

This is well-put and echoes my experience, too. I get help with the specific issues I ask about and it places my gender issues in their proper perspectives.

— Davie

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Thanks again for all the thoughts, especially the long thoughtful post from Bri. I know what you mean when you say that “once I admitted to myself and got a professional opinion I could never "not transition". I feel like in order to start therapy I already had to admit to myself that I’m likely transgender and that I want to be a woman. And that feeling keeps growing along with the desire to transition. 

 

For reasons outside of my control I met with someone new for my last appointment. I don’t know what was different, but this person’s approach felt different to me. It felt like they got me and like they understood where I am in life and how that impacts any decisions I make. I feel like she asked questions and told anecdotes that started to get to the root of how I feel. 
 

I’m trying to be as open as possible, but I think some shame prevented me from being fully open in this appointment. I’m determined to remedy that at our next discussion. 

 

It was a very different experience and I think my new therapist is a much better fit. 
 

 

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3 hours ago, Fly2188 said:

It was a very different experience and I think my new therapist is a much better fit.

Just out of curiosity, was the former therapist a man?

Personally, I find women to be more understanding of how and what I feel.  But that may just be my own prejudice.

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7 hours ago, Jandi said:

Just out of curiosity, was the former therapist a man?

Personally, I find women to be more understanding of how and what I feel.  But that may just be my own prejudice.


Both were women. For whatever reason I’m not sure I would be comfortable discussing this with a man. It’s probably a similar bias/prejudice to you. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/4/2022 at 9:31 AM, Mmindy said:

Good afternoon @Fly2188

 

I think what helps me the most when I'm in therapy is: I get to verbalize the things in my head and heart. It seems like saying them, and hearing them to a real person, in person, lifts a huge burden off my being. It also helps me understand and hopefully build the proper context to explain to my family what's really going on with me. I've also received additional information about support groups, and activities where I can be me, in a non judgemental setting.

 

Best wishes, stay positive, and motivated.

 

Mindy🐛🏳️‍⚧️🦋

Agreed. In just 1 session I was able to tell all essentially and she confirmed I truly am very trans and was prepared to assist me in whatever direction I chose. Unfortunately I am not prepared to transition even though it is my truest desire. Age does affect my decision as well as the immensely devastating it would be for myself as well as my family. I do find comfort that I am truly trans and not crazy!

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3 hours ago, SheenaT said:

Agreed. In just 1 session I was able to tell all essentially and she confirmed I truly am very trans and was prepared to assist me in whatever direction I chose. Unfortunately I am not prepared to transition even though it is my truest desire. Age does affect my decision as well as the immensely devastating it would be for myself as well as my family. I do find comfort that I am truly trans and not crazy!

Sheena I’m right there with you.   You’re right it is comforting to have someone you feel completely safe with that affirms what you’re feeling inside.   I started buying a few articles of clothing this week and wearing them in private during the day when e regime is gone.  Now I’m researching how to do simple make up.  Yesterday I had a moment when I was in Target buying my first bra where I was so happy to find a cute one that fit me.  For a second this voice said inside of me…..don’t look now but you’re embracing being a woman.  

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2 hours ago, Michelle_Anne said:

Sheena I’m right there with you.   You’re right it is comforting to have someone you feel completely safe with that affirms what you’re feeling inside.   I started buying a few articles of clothing this week and wearing them in private during the day when e regime is gone.  Now I’m researching how to do simple make up.  Yesterday I had a moment when I was in Target buying my first bra where I was so happy to find a cute one that fit me.  For a second this voice said inside of me…..don’t look now but you’re embracing being a woman.  

I agree about the affirmation. And, listen to your inner voice Michelle. 

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5 hours ago, SheenaT said:

I do find comfort that I am truly trans and not crazy!

Sheena, you are one of the sanest people I know. You've managed to keep your sanity and positive outlook despite the many challenges you've faced. To me, that takes courage, strength of character and a lot more. God bless you, girl.

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On 6/25/2022 at 10:31 AM, SheenaT said:

Agreed. In just 1 session I was able to tell all essentially and she confirmed I truly am very trans and was prepared to assist me in whatever direction I chose. Unfortunately I am not prepared to transition even though it is my truest desire. Age does affect my decision as well as the immensely devastating it would be for myself as well as my family. I do find comfort that I am truly trans and not crazy!


I have to admit that after talking with my therapist I know I am trans. I am also not prepared to transition, though I wish to. That said, I feel like I’ve been struggling more and more since I decided to explore this part of myself. 
 

I feel like every time I see a woman now I wish I were her or I wish I looked like her or I wish I could wear her clothing/jewelry/hair/etc. I feel like the more I open myself to this the more I want it and that just makes me try to close down this train of though. 

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13 hours ago, Fly2188 said:


I have to admit that after talking with my therapist I know I am trans. I am also not prepared to transition, though I wish to. That said, I feel like I’ve been struggling more and more since I decided to explore this part of myself. 
 

I feel like every time I see a woman now I wish I were her or I wish I looked like her or I wish I could wear her clothing/jewelry/hair/etc. I feel like the more I open myself to this the more I want it and that just makes me try to close down this train of though. 

I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND THOSE FEELINGS!🤗

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On 6/25/2022 at 1:33 PM, Marcie Jensen said:

Sheena, you are one of the sanest people I know. You've managed to keep your sanity and positive outlook despite the many challenges you've faced. To me, that takes courage, strength of character and a lot more. God bless you, girl.

Awe sis I'd hug you if I could! Thank you. You don't know what that means to me.

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On 6/25/2022 at 10:53 AM, Michelle_Anne said:

Sheena I’m right there with you.   You’re right it is comforting to have someone you feel completely safe with that affirms what you’re feeling inside.   I started buying a few articles of clothing this week and wearing them in private during the day when e regime is gone.  Now I’m researching how to do simple make up.  Yesterday I had a moment when I was in Target buying my first bra where I was so happy to find a cute one that fit me.  For a second this voice said inside of me…..don’t look now but you’re embracing being a woman.  

I threw out all my male undies. That one decision means so much and affirms alot. My wife accepts that part of me so far. There is just something about wearing panties!

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1 hour ago, SheenaT said:

I threw out all my male undies. That one decision means so much and affirms alot. My wife accepts that part of me so far. There is just something about wearing panties!

I agree.  It feels good internally and also female underwear and panties and just generally more comfortable.  Unlike mens boxers that constantly felt like they were riding up my thighs.

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