There are many young people exploring gender which can range from identifying (or considering identifying) as transgender to expressing their gender identity through clothes, art and music. While often unsatisfying for parents, teens don’t always offer the sorts of answers that fit into an easy narrative about gender.
Some individuals, who would consider themselves trans, arrive at their teenage years with a deep understanding of who they are and how they want to be seen by the world with regards to gender. Often, though, teens want and need room to explore. Questions of the “Who am I?” sort with gender exist alongside other questions about ethics, politics, sexual attraction, and faith.
For teens with gender dysphoria, psychotherapy aims to help young people better understand themselves. This is achieved through clarifying and teaching them how to accept their gender identity. Individual therapy also supports teens in learning how to cope with the stress of gender dysphoria.
Our task in this process isn’t to have the answers, in as much as answers exist. Our task is to create them, together, with teens who need help and to involve families in a way that helps them be involved and confident in the process. Ultimately, what matters most is that we, as a team of therapists, are fluent in talking to both teens and adults about gender.