Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Education

Supervisor

Dr. Wayne Martino

Abstract

The longstanding tradition of pathologizing and erasing transgender individuals in psychology has the potential to enter into therapy with transgender clients in insidious and destructive ways. To address this polemic, clinicians have articulated a transpositive approach to working with transgender clients that fosters the client’s right to self-determination. The present study explores the subjective experiences of three therapists working with transgender clients in order to learn how transpositivity materializes in their practices. Utilizing a case study methodology, and cross-case analysis, the study demonstrates that these therapists engaged in self-directed learning and advocacy, demonstrated flexibility in their approach, and were open to learning from and being affected by transgender clients. The analysis is informed by critical theories of postmodern psychology, queer theory and transgender studies in the service of adding conceptual depth to the understanding of psychotherapeutic practice. Implications for pedagogy in professional psychology graduate programs are discussed.


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