Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Therapy for a Transwoman, Part 1

For a while, I went to a therapist.  The cynical may think that I just went long enough to get diagnosed and get a recommendation for hormones, but that's not the truth.  I enjoyed those sessions.  I stopped because of a combination of changing insurance and also a feeling that I wasn't progressing in my transition anytime soon.  Not her fault, by the way, I wasn't ready to move forward in my transition, and I started to feel like a repetitive whiner at my sessions, going on about how much I needed to live more openly as a woman, but at the same time saying there's just no way I can do it right now.

I'm writing this because I've read a bunch of blog mentions of about psych therapy lately, both positive and negative, and just wanted to add my generally positive impression about it.  For me, there was almost nothing I said to my therapist that I couldn't have said to my wife, and probably already have at one point or another.  The cool thing about a good therapist though, is that you get a generally unbiased person to bounce your thoughts off of.  A reality check.  Also, a good therapist can help you focus on the big stuff rather than fiddling around the edges with minor details.  For example, I might launch into my latest plan to make transition smoother at work by doing it gradually, figuring out who to notify first, wear pantsuits at first, and so on.  She lets me blather on for a little bit but eventually asks the salient question: so when are you doing this, and what's your wife think?  [note: what your spouse thinks is not necessarily important to every transitions transsexual, but I had already indicated to my therapist that my spouse's approval was extremely important to me.]  She helped me with strategies to talk about my transsexuality with my wife - how to explain it in different ways in case the language itself was a stumbling block.

I think it helped. Though she's very intelligent and knew that transsexuality is an innate part of my psyche, she subconsciously held onto the idea that maybe I wasn't really transsexual, and maybe "just" a crossdresser.  [I put "just" in quotes because I do not believe crossdressing to be a diminutive or lesser form of transsexuality, but from my wife's perspective the crucial difference was between my wanting to be a woman physically rather than dress or look like one.]  She totally gets it now, and as I've posted before, is trying to come around to a point where she's willing to try seeing me as a female now and then, and hopefully progress to being comfortable with me looking womanly most of the time.  The therapist's part in this (she has not met or talked to my wife) was basically giving me the tools to understand what my wife was feeling underneath the words she was saying.

Anyway, as long as I'm still in a holding pattern, I don't really see much use in paying for therapy, but I'm pretty sure that once I restart the transition and have to deal with all the challenges that will come up, I'll want to start talking to my therapist again.

No comments:

Post a Comment