Skip to page content

New book helps define trans-affirmative counseling practices

  |   Kristen B. Morales   |   Permalink   |   Kudos,   Research

As a counselor, you want to relate to your clients. But clients who are transgender or gender nonconforming are at a distinct disadvantage when working with a counselor—fewer than 30 percent of psychologists say they are familiar with these clients' needs.

But a new book by Anneliese Singh, the College of Education's associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and her colleague, lore m. dickey of Northern Arizona University, introduces the concept of "affirmative counseling" with transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) clients. In this way, counselors can be culturally relevant and responsive to their clients' identities while also addressing social inequities, resilience and coping and other barriers faced by this population.

The book, "Affirmative Counseling and Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Clients," also includes stats and research about TGNC people and has chapters dedicated to issues relevant to people of color and those who identify as nonbinary or genderqueer, as well as advocacy strategies for mental health professionals and educators to sensitively and ethically integrate trans-affirmative perspectives into their work.

"This book comes at an important time in our society," said Singh, who is also an associate professor in the department of counseling and human development services. "While increasing attention has been paid to transgender and gender nonconforming people in the media, there remains a gap in training mental health professionals and educators to support TGNC people. It is our hope this text shifts perspectives on TGNC people while opening hearts and minds."

The book follows groundbreaking work done by Singh and dickey, who co-chaired the American Psychological Association's task force that developed the "Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People." This book expands on these guidelines with helpful advice and strategies. The pair were also recently featured on the APA's Books Blog to discuss the practice of trans-affirmative counseling.

"We hope this book de-mythologizes trans mental health care," said Singh, "and makes it more accessible for mental health practitioners to get training and see how they can change the world for the better by doing trans-affirmative care."

© University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602