Gender dysphoria is the term used when one’s gender identity is inconsistent with the sex that they were assigned at birth. It may feel that a person is a male is trapped inside of a female’s body or vice versa. The journey of this discovery often can be long and confusing, but hopefully can result in embracing one’s authenticity.
Some people decide to transition physically to make their outward appearance match their inward identity. Every person is unique in how the wish to engage in a transition, if at all. This transition can range from sometimes wearing clothes consistent with their gender identity, to receiving hormone replacement therapy, to reassignment surgery. Some people are content with making small changes to their lives, while others prefer engaging in broader or permanent changes. There is no right answer for how someone may express themselves. In most instances, if a person wishes to enlist a physician for hormone treatment or reassignment surgery, their physician will require that person to have an ongoing relationship with a therapist.
Therapy for gender dysphoria is not just about figuring out if and how much one wishes to transition. Unfortunately, people who experience gender dysphoria experience a disproportionate number of adverse challenges, many of which can be a topic of discussion in therapy. Common discussions in therapy include if, how, when, and to whom one should disclose their experience of gender dysphoria to others. It can be helpful to discuss how to address bullying or discrimination, or even managing new roles within society after a transition. People most often find therapy to be a safe haven where they know that they will not face judgement or criticism for acknowledging their genuine experiences.