Psychology, Department of


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2023, Vol. 54, No. 4, 265–274.


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We examined transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) people’s reports of their therapy experiences over the course of a year. We explored how participants’ therapists integrated discussions about current events, as well as their more general perspectives on helpful and unhelpful experiences. A total of 107 participants provided data on these questions at least once over 12 months of surveys (M age = 33.79; 70.1% White), reflecting on their current therapy experiences. Through thematic analysis of qualitative data, the following themes were constructed regarding discussing sociopolitical events: (a) facilitating coping via bearing witness to clients’ internal experiences and implementing other therapeutic interventions; (b) moving beyond the individual by integrating identity, systems, or contexts; (c) feeling disconnected and misunderstood. We grouped participants’ helpful experiences into the following themes: (1) availability, connection, and therapeutic approaches facilitate positive experiences; (2) the necessity of knowledge, education, and affirmation of TGD identities; (3) helpful therapy means seeing the world in which clients live. We grouped participants’ unhelpful experiences into the following themes: (1) logistical issues can interfere with therapy; (2) lack of depth and disconnection results in subpar therapy; (3) insufficient understandings of TGD identities results in potentially harmful practices. These findings deepen understandings of how to integrate discussions about current events into therapy and provide competent and affirming care to TGD clients.

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