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How to Find a Transgender Affirming Therapist

Your gender identity is not a mental illness. However, if you are someone who identifies as transgender or gender nonconforming, the way society treats you can have an impact on your mental health. Part of your self-care may be working through any stress and trauma with a gender-affirming therapist.

This might make you wonder: how do I find that person?

For psychotherapist Winley K, working with people who share a common identity makes a big difference. Winley, who lives in Durham, North Carolina, doesn’t use pronouns, and that’s not to say that white, cisgender male therapists don’t support black, genderqueer, and masculine people.

“But I mean, because of my experience of oppression and discrimination with people who are different from me, for me to heal in a space that feels safe is very important,” Winley said.

Here are the steps you can take to find a transgender therapist.

Using online resources

Winley is the founder of WaterYourFire Collective and a contract therapist for queer people of color. It’s good to create a profile of someone you think will best understand your experience, Winley says. Then search for what you want.

“I often hear people say, ‘I want a black therapist, or maybe I want a trans (uline) therapist.’ But I can Specific requirements?” Winley said. “My answer to them is: why not?”

You might find what you’re looking for with a quick search. But there are many directories for the LGBTQ+ community. Some ways to help you find a trans-friendly psychologist, counselor, social worker or other mental health professional include:

    National Network of Queer and Trans Therapists

      World Trans Health Professional Association (WPATH)

    • GLMA: Health Professionals for LGBTQ Equity

    You can also try Psychology


    national directory. It may have been “a coincidence for some people,” Winley said. But you can customize your search in a number of ways, including:

    • Gender Identity
    • sexual orientation
    • LGBTQ+ affirmative

    • question or type of treatment

    If you found a trans therapist in your state but not in your town, What should I do? Ask about telehealth or virtual visits. This expands your connection with mental health providers. It gives you the opportunity to talk to someone from the comfort of your own home.

    You can schedule telehealth or virtual visits with a psychologist not licensed in your country. But this is something you need to ask the provider.

    Get referrals from the LGBTQ+ community

    A general directory is a good start. But they are not perfect. That’s why many LGBTQ+ people end up finding mental health professionals “by word of mouth,” says Dr. Christy Olezeski, a Yale medical psychologist who works with transgender and transgender people.

    In graduate school, Winley turned to a professor who identified himself as LGBTQ+ for help. She came back with the name of a therapist who checked all of Winley’s boxes. “This is the best therapy experience I’ve had so far.”

    You may already know what to ask you Gay or transgender friends who they saw.But here are some other ways to get into your local network:

    • Search for “queer” Communicate” and your city on Facebook.

    Go to a transgender meetup.

  • Join the LGBTQ+ Support Group in person or online.
  • Your local LGBTQ+ community center is another good source. Visit the CenterLink LBGT Community Center Member Directory to find a location in your area. You can find a location in your area at lgbtcenters Find more information on .org.


    You can learn a lot about therapists through their online bios. But you can only find so much information through directories or professional websites. What else can you do? “I’ll call them,” Olezeski said.

    Chances are you can chat with a therapist for 15 minutes for free. You can suggest the following Question:

    • How long have you worked with trans people?

    Have you received special training to work with gender diverse communities?

  • What is your treatment?
  • I am You read X, Y, Z on your profile. Can you tell me more about what that means?
  • What is your identity?

    What should be revealed about the therapist How much personal information is up for debate. But some mental health professionals think it might be a good thing to share some of their background information. “If I ask a client these intrusive questions, I should be willing to tell them something about me,” Winley Say.


    List therapists you think may be suitable for you. Consult with each one. If they don’t seem suitable for you, go to the next one . Keep searching until you click on someone.

    “I know it can be a very intimidating, exhausting and frustrating experience,” Winley said. “But I think the support is there.”

    Every therapist is not for you. And you can leave anytime. But keep in mind that therapy can be hard work. Even with someone who knows and affirms transgender issues, you may feel uncomfortable.

    “There’s a difference between someone who doesn’t fit and someone who challenges you in a way that you don’t fit and be ready to explore,” Winley said.

    cost How?

    By law, most health care providers must cover mental health services in the same way as other health care. Call your insurance provider to learn more about your specific plan. Here are some questions to ask:

      Which therapists are in your network ?

    • What are your co-pays and deductibles?
    • Is there a deadline for out-of-pocket fees?
    • do you have? Are there restrictions on access?
    • Does prior authorization required?

      What if health insurance isn’t an option? “Do a free consultation,” Winley said. “Have a conversation and see if a psychologist has a way to work with you.”

      If you want to see a therapist you can’t afford, ask if they:

    • Pro rata
    • Offers therapy scholarships
    • Know any psych you can apply for Health Fund
    • How to get help right away

      There is a safe space to seek support right away. Connect with a Crisis Advisor day or night using the following resources:

      • Trans Lifeline : 877- 565-8860
      • Trevor Project: 866-488-7386 or chat on
      • LG BT National Hotline: 888-843-4564
      • BlackLine: 800-604-5841
      • DeQH, an LGBTQ+ HELP Hotline For South Asian Communities: 908-367-3374
      • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741



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