from Gender Identity Disorders
In Lin Fraser's essay, "Therapy with Transgender People Across the Life-Span," she proposes that a new "trans-affirming," non-pathological model be constructed for providing therapy for individuals who are gender non-conforming. These are individuals who believe they are actually the opposite sex and seek sex change operations.
According to Fraser, "If we remove the explicit or implicit psychopathology from trans identity, psychodynamic theory can be very useful in understanding and helping the trans person in psychotherapy."
Fraser believes that Jungian therapy is the most effective in creating a trans-affirming therapeutic model. She notes that Jungian psychology "is not particularly concerned with cultural rules and conformity and is more interested in developing who one uniquely is in the larger world. It is not culture bound and can be contextual and relational, thus opening a wider frame in which to connect with the Self. Jungians are also not especially concerned with pathology."
The author observes that a transgendered person is seeking his or her own "authentic gendered self" and it is the role of the therapist to see this and to mirror it. The therapist is to help the transgendered person find this authentic self and to help him or her "come out."
The therapist's office is to be a holding environment and a place of safety. He is to support the transgendered client no matter where this person may land on the gender spectrum-or even if the person maintains "fluidity" on this spectrum.
The therapist still has a role in the client's life even after sexual surgery. "Shifting sexual orientation can still be a surprise, and some find partners within the trans community.... Issues of meaning become paramount in this phase. People wrestle with the issue of authenticity and feelings of fraudulence."
Fraser observes that, for the transgender person, "... the lifelong task is coming to terms with and accepting their reality and to have pride in truly living a life of individuation, becoming who they were meant to be."