Trans In The Valley – Part 3: Counseling

The sky was appropriately gray as I exited the university building that housed the Student Health Center which offers “LGBT Couseling.” I left disillusioned, a little angry and generally upset. Unfortunately, the entire experience had been entirely negative. To be fair though, it wasn’t the counselor’s fault that he did not have any experience with trans people. It would not take much convincing if someone told me I was the first transgender person to enter that building. It was also not his fault that the school’s website advertised LGBT counseling without having an actual LGBT counselor. It was a little his fault that he wasn’t even aware that the website offered that. Additionally, I don’t know how long he has been doing what he does but it surprised me the he hadn’t even heard the initialism “LGBT”.

I first got concerned less than five minutes after starting to talk with him when he stopped to Google the definition of transgender. So, then I explained what I meant, after he read the internet’s definition. After about a minute and a half, I wanted to leave. I realized that we were not going to  make any progress but I didn’t know how to leave politely and I hate being rude. We talked, for an excruciatingly long 45 minutes. His process seemed random. He asked me random questions about my life and then would switch back to asking questions about being transgender and then back again with no apparent structure. Now this was my first time talking to anyone like this, so I don’t know if that is a normal way to move the conversation. I remember one thing he said a couple times was that being transgender is “not normal.” Is that a thing? Is it typical for professionals to use the normal word?

When all was said and done, the only “help” he tried to provide was to recommend I get blood work to check for hormone imbalance. Then he regaled me with a story from his youth where a young man(or boy really), who he said was effeminate (though he did not specify if that was physically or socially), was treated by being given testosterone. That doesn’t seem like a way to help people, by using an anecdote from 50 years ago to come up with a “treatment.”

Finally, it was over and I was free to leave. “No, I would not like to schedule a follow up. K thanks, bye.” And so I stepped out under the gray sky. Luckily, I like gloomy weather and the windy walk across the bridge to my classroom helped me more than any conversation with that man.

There is, I believe, one therapist with some experience with trans people in the Valley that I hope to go to. I am hopeful that this horrible first experience can be put behind me and I can move on to a helpful counselor. I am, however, not looking forward to having to pay for therapy. I wanted the school’s free counseling to be helpful.

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4 responses to “Trans In The Valley – Part 3: Counseling

  1. No it is not a typical thing. And like he would even fucking know anyways, since he had to stop to google the subject. “Normal” is not a term in the current version of the DSM, and hasn’t been in the DSM for a while.

    Testosterone therapy is literally the worst possible recommendation and has no proven efficacy, and is generally shown to have negative repercussions. “Effiminacy” =/= transgenderism. If you have an LGBT club on campus, warn them about this crackpot therapist. If you can contact the school’s administration, complain about him. This is completely unacceptable, and it is grossly irresponsible for this man to make medical recommendations about a subject he clearly has no familiarity with as illustrated very clearly by his use of google.

    • There is no LGBT club on campus, that would have been great. There was last year but they morphed into a club called CHANGE that has LGBT people plus feminists and and anyone else who want social change or something like that. I’m not sure how many LGBT people are actually in the club now. I don’t know who to contact but I may look around for someone.

  2. As they say, a bad therapist does more harm when going to him than good. You open yourself up vulnerably to him with sensitive information and he acts irresponsibly. It’s unfortunate that some counsellors become counsellors when all along they are the ones that really need to seek therapy.

    It’s really too bad you had to go through such an awful experience. Try not to judge all therapists based on this quack of a man. He shouldn’t be in this important position. They should really fire him.

    Unfortunately, I too went through similar experiences. I had tried out four therapists until I found the right one. The first four were people my parents sent me to, and they all needed therapy themselves. The one that I eventually stuck with for three years was someone I researched myself and sounded from the beginning like someone with a personality I would like.

    I hope you find someone who is professional and trustworthy and caring of his client’s feelings.

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