Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Arts




Martino, Wayne

2nd Supervisor

Brown, Jason



Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals often report experiencing several obstacles with accessing mental health services prepared to meet their needs. This current study used a case study methodology to explore the subjective experiences of three therapists working with the transgender population using gender affirmative counselling approaches. Thematic analysis revealed four themes: (1) inadequate training and independent learning, (2) the damaging impact of inadequate training, (3) foundational baseline knowledge, and (4) core embodied practices. The results of this study provide the perspective of therapists with experience practicing gender affirmative therapy and can be used inform professional training programs to better prepare mental health professional to work with this population.

Summary for Lay Audience

Transgender and gender nonconforming people often have negative experiences while accessing mental health care. Previous research has shown that therapists describe receiving little or no training during their university program to work with transgender and gender nonconforming clients. The goal of this research project was to learn from therapists with experience working with transgender and gender nonconforming clients using a gender affirmative approach to counselling. Overall, this study conducted interviews with three therapists and found a total of four common themes. These themes include therapists receiving minimal training on gender affirmative counselling, the limited training has a negative impact on transgender individuals, important knowledge to have about gender affirmative counselling, and common practices related to gender affirmative counselling. This study helped gain a better understanding of gender affirmative approaches to counselling which can be used to inform training to better prepare therapists to work with transgender and gender nonconforming clients.

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