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Thread: How to select a counselor?

  1. #1
    Sometimes Clueless Laurie A's Avatar
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    Aug 2008

    How to select a counselor?

    i'm asking for advice on how to seek professional advice. without going into my specifics, how do go about finding a counselor or therapist? is it important to find a person with a medical degree, or phd in psychology, or social worker? how do you know that the person will be a good match for you?

    (moderators: i thought this was the best place to ask such a question)

  2. #2
    Loving my femme side tifftg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    I would recommend the Psychology Today website. It has a find a therapist section. You can filter for people with experience with gender issues or relationship issues or whatever you want to focus on. I went many years ago and found it very worthwhile. When I first met with her, I was John Doe paid with cash because I was so nervous. After a couple sessions, I shared my name and moved to having my insurance pay a portion. The generic diagnosis was "adjustment disorder". Good luck.

  3. #3
    Gold Member bridget thronton's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Michigan USA
    Any of those folks might be a good choice - the right training any way - not all will work for insurance reimbursement if that is a concern to you. Personal rapport and experience with your issues are the qualities that set one counselor a part from the others.

  4. #4
    Aspiring Member Star01's Avatar
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    Aug 2018
    I had to go online and find the therapists in my insurance located near where I live. I?m in a smaller more conservative area so there were only two listed with gender experience. One was a man and the other a woman who did not have any openings which narrowed my choice to one therapist. I could find more options if I were to travel to the nearest large city but the crime has been a problem in downtown Minneapolis ever since last summers riots. I stay clear of big cities.

  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    The good news is so many counselors are open to remote sessions. I started seeing one in another city some time back, If you live in a more remote area, this is good news.

    I was originally given 4 counselors names as referrals. They are all in the Austin area. I am willing to share the names, but it may be best to PM those.

  6. #6
    Silver Member Aunt Kelly's Avatar
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    Nov 2016
    Greater Houston
    Tiff's suggestion to check out the Psychology Today site is a good place to start, but you will want to ask for an "informational interview", where you can ask questions about the caregiver's expertise and experience in the area you're concerned about. Lots of counselors will throw up a laundry list of "specialties" on their online presence, so it pays to dig a little deeper before committing to a course of therapy with a particular counselor.
    Insurance coverage (or lack thereof) may dictate who you want to see. For example, one of the most recommended counselor's for gender issues here in Houston does not bill insurance. You can take the documentation and fight through that red-tape-jungle but I wouldn't.
    As for the credentials... meh. I'm assuming your issues are gender related so expertise in that area is far more important than the type of degree they hold.
    Happy hunting.
    "Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it will always get you the right ones."
    -- John Lennon

  7. #7
    Silver Member Sometimes Steffi's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    Nation's Capital
    Another note. I knew that I would be more comfortable open up (the closet) to a woman.
    Hi, I'm Steffi and I'm a crossdresser... And I accept and celebrate both sides of me. Or, maybe I'm gender fluid.

  8. #8
    Aspiring Member Star01's Avatar
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    Aug 2018
    By way of clarification I am retired and have Medicare and a supplemental policy that covers regular visits and prescriptions. It is the top tier plan with one of the top providers in my state so it is likely the best coverage I could possibly have in my situation.

    I think in my case the limited options are because I want to stay in the outer tier suburbs and not have to travel into a big city. I am very happy with my therapist but admittedly my gender issues have subsided due to lockdown and lack of opportunity to dress or shop. I realized that in my present situation I am never going to be able to do much. My reaction is either to let it drive me mad or accept that my options are limited and cherish the times my wife travels while I stay home and do the pet sitting. I tend to look at my desire to crossdress as a bit of a curse and try to keep it in check. At times it can be a test of strength to resist the urge to do anything that would get me in trouble. Therapy helps me in my decision to keep my crossdressing compartmentalized and private. That is the only way I can deal with it knowing that there will inevitably be some times of extreme pink fog.

  9. #9
    Silver Member giuseppina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Your primary care physician is an excellent source of referrals.

    I wouldn't use anyone who is not a qualified and licensed mental health practitioner.

    A counselor who provides gratuitous judgement or has an ax to grind are some other dealbreakers.

    The main thing is you trust your counselor. If that trust is broken for any reason, you might as well look elsewhere.

    For me, the sex of the counselor is irrelevant. Their main function is showing you alternative coping mechanisms to what you are doing now.

  10. #10
    Paula Paula_56's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    My counselor was recommended by another transgender person.

    Check support groups in your area and ask.

    Back in the 90's there weren't many counselors who even knew what a transgender person was.

    You often knew more then the counselor and you could tell the were quoting the basics from text.

    As you know transgender persons come in many shapes and sizes.

    Finding a counselor who has experience with the community as a whole will help.

    There are some counselors will push you toward transition, beware

  11. #11
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Sometimes Steffi View Post
    Another note. I knew that I would be more comfortable open up (the closet) to a woman.
    I did not go to address gender...but something likely related - depression. But I knew myself as a crossdresser at the time and knew it was going to come up. I was less fearful of acknowledging this to a female therapist. I was lucky to find a psychologist who was quite well informed and more willing to talk about gender and sexuality than I was.

    Looking back, I can’t say it was entirely my community or society that gave me such an overburden of guilt...I seem to have done that to myself over the years.
    Last edited by kimdl93; 06-01-2021 at 12:45 PM.
    Our only truth is narrative truth, the stories we tell each other and ourselves, the stories we continually recategorize and refine. Such subjectivity is built into the very nature of memory. Oliver Sacks

  12. #12
    Aspiring Member ShelbyDawn's Avatar
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    Mar 2013
    Austin, TX
    I called for help in dealing with my divorce.

    I called a dozen therapists and only one returned my call. I credit Jennifer with saving my life.
    Yes, my dressing came up and we discussed it in detail. However you find one, be sure you find one that will listen and not cast judgement.
    To this day, I don't know Jennifer's stand on crossdressing, I do know that she supported me and helped me figure out what it means to me, along with a ton of other stuff.

    I also know there are a growing number of community clinics that can help and will refer you to resources for therapy.

    Good luck and God bless.
    I am Me and Me is OK!


  13. #13
    Claire M Claire M's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
    I looked on the Internet (psychology today, my insurance referral listing service and finally went to individual provides websites until I narrowed down a list of 2 or 3. Then I just called them and ask if we could have a 5 - 10 minute conversation over the phone. The therapist I called first was awesome. We clicked in the 5 minutes on the phone.

    It worked for me. Definitely the most important thing is someone you are comfortable with and you feel you can trust. Good luck.

  14. #14
    Aspiring Member April Rose's Avatar
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    Oct 2017
    If you are planning on seeking help with your gender identity issues, let me strongly suggest that you search for a counselor who has already been trained in transgender counseling. If they are not you may end up spending a lot of therapy time, which you are paying for educating them. I tell you this from personal experience.

    A lot of local and state LGBTQ organizations keep lists of therapists and counsellors on their websites or can suggest people over the phone. TCNE has a listing on their website under "Resources"
    I am a vessel of the goddess. Let me express my calling to a feminine life through nurturing love and relatedness.

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