Our Holistic Therapy is led by Caroline Gibbs, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor, nationally and internationally recognized as an educator, advocate and provider for this population. Her goal and the goal of her staff is to assist patients in their journey towards self-acceptance and to help guide them on their path.
Our highly dedicated, compassionate and respectful team serves trans patients globally. Well over 1,000 patients have been helped in the past 16 years.
Gender therapy can be difficult not only because it takes tremendous courage to make the first appointment, but because it takes deep introspection of oneself to fully realize self-acceptance.
Our job is to assist you on your path. We understand that gender is a wide spectrum and what may be applicable to one trans person, may not be suitable for another. We are here to work with you to determine if transition, whatever that may mean for you, is the right course of action, and then assist you through that process.
While some trans individuals realize their true gender identity at a very early age, others take a different path of fully accepting themselves later in life. There are many factors and variables that can affect this decision and each journey is different. However, there is one constant – a deep seated and constant distress in the realization that one’s inner gender identity is opposite their biological sex.
In fact, it is important to note that gender dysphoria is not a mental illness or condition. Clinical research has revealed a strong biological connection which explains why trans individuals experience this discomfort at a very early age which continues throughout their life. If left untreated, it can become chronic leading to severe depression, anxiety and even suicide.
Antonio Guillamon‘s team at the National University of Distance Education in Madrid, Spain, ran MRI scans on the brains of 18 female-to-male transsexual people who’d had no treatment and compared them with those of 24 males and 19 females.
They found significant differences between male and female brains in four regions of white matter – and the female-to-male transsexual people had white matter in these regions that resembled a male brain (Journal of Psychiatric Research, DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.05.006). “It’s the first time it has been shown that the brains of female-to-male transsexual people are masculinised,” Guillamon says.
This is one of numerous studies that have shown significant differences in the brain’s white matter that clash with a person’s genetic sex. This is important not only for identifying transsexual people before puberty to ensure better results but also to help validate a transgender person’s experience – that the root cause is biological in nature and is not by choice.
What is Holistic Therapy?
Simply put, holistic therapy is treatment which aims to treat the patient as a whole, rather than as a being separated into different parts which do not interconnect. In other words, it’s treating our patients with a multi-faceted approach of mind, body and cognitive behavioral therapies.
Historically speaking, resources for trans people and anyone who questioned their gender was sparsely available at best. Fortunately, we’ve moved forward into a clearer understanding of the science and art of gender. This involves taking a broad, or holistic approach to care that addresses various aspects that can cause dysphoria for a trans person. Since each trans person’s experience is unique unto themselves, the core form of any effective therapy is determining what is best for the individual
Therapy is a catch-all term for numerous approaches to mental healthcare. People commonly picture individual therapy when the word comes up. While individual therapy is the most common, group and family therapy may be needed. Each type of therapy has specific benefits that patients realize and there is no “one fits all” type of approach. Our core mission is to help and guide you on your path. We will work with you to determine if transition is the right course of action, then assist you through that process.
This is the most traditional form of therapy. It involves one-on-one appointments with one of our specialists, to discuss a patient’s needs in general. The goal is to help the patient to find a centered view of themselves with a clear and actualized picture of their goals and how to approach them. This is of particular importance for trans people as, contrary to popular belief, transition is not necessarily a Point A to Point B affair that involves a full binary shift. Each trans person has different needs and different aspects of their life that are unique to them. Some may decide that they need a social transition or partial medical transition while others decide to fully transition.
We use this personal approach to determine what services are required by an individual trans person. This involves strict adherence to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) standards of care. These standards help us to properly evaluate patients for the services they require and to ensure the best possible outcome.
Treating transgender children is still a relatively new field and has its own particular issues within the medical community. Children may express things slightly different than their adult counterparts or require a different approach in their treatment due to medical guidelines surrounding options outside of therapy. Because of these important issues, we focus on the child’s particular issues as a trans person and provide guidance for their families going forward on treatment options. The goal here is to be especially careful to match WPATH and other professional standards to ensure trans children receive the care they need as it becomes available. This may include other proven forms of therapy as well as medical referrals to specialists for treatment like puberty blockers that safely delay the formation of secondary sex characteristic until they are able to determine the treatment best for them.
Community is very important for the broader LGBTQ population, but it is perhaps the most vital for the transgender community. There is often a strong sense of isolation associated with being transgender as many cis (non-trans) people may have trouble coming to an understanding that there is a trans person in their life. Group therapy is designed to educate families and loved ones on what it means to be transgender and how best to support and encourage the trans person in their lives. Simply coming out can place a great deal of strain on a trans person’s family. As a result, we provide a safe and caring atmosphere to discuss these important changes and to reach a common ground between all involved.
Sadly, strained and broken families are sometimes a common result of a trans person coming out. This is typically from the difficulties inherent in trying to learn to adjust to the large changes in their trans person’s life. Sometimes, there may be a sense of betrayal at the idea the trans person kept this secret from them. However, studies continually show that a supportive family is one of the keys to long term wellness for trans people. As a result, we try to provide a safe space to help a trans person and their family discuss these concerns in a neutral location while listening to the needs of all involved.
Depending on the kind of hormone replacement therapy, a trans person may seek additional help in adjusting their voice to align with their gender presentation. While trans-feminine people most commonly seek this service, trans-masculine people may also seek voice coaching to help aid in the effects of testosterone therapy. Voice coaching may also provide tips on how to use language and posture oneself in a conversation to better present in a particular gendered way. We also work with non-binary trans people to help them develop a more neutral voice that is consistent with how they present and feel.
Dealing with gender conflicts can be a very difficult and lonely struggle. Holistic therapy recognizes that a diagnosis is not a person. It also means recognizing that there is no “one size fits all” treatment. Our goal is to assist our patients on their path with the goal in mind of leading happy and fulfilled lives. This involves an intense focus on therapy which provides a stable and strong foundation in determining the next course of appropriate action.
If you would like to work with us to find relief from your gender conflicts, please reach out to us or call us at 816-305-0943.
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