Psychology, Department of



Debra A. Hope

Document Type


Date of this Version



American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 86:4 (2016), pp. 361–365.

doi: 10.1037/ort0000197


Copyright © 2016 American Orthopsychiatric Association; published by Wiley-Blackwell. Used by permission.


The presence of individuals who identify as transgender has emerged into public awareness in the United States in recent years. Celebrities who publicly transition have expanded the national conversation about gender variation beyond gender and women’s studies classrooms and certain specialty health and mental health services. This increased public visibility has been accompanied by increased visibility in the mental health literature, including the publishing of competencies or guidelines for working with clients who identify as transgender by various professional organizations. However, rapid societal changes and increased understanding of the experience of being transgender in our society means literature can rapidly become dated. This commentary identifies key points that will move forward professional competency, both of the field and of individual practitioners, in the provision of psychological services. Topics discussed include (1) how mental health has contributed to trans stigma, (2) why more than good intentions are needed, (3) a research agenda for the development of high-quality evidence-based behavioral health care for the trans community, and (4) clinician recommendations.

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