Hypnotherapy for gender identity challenges

Gender dysphoria is the name given to the feeling of discomfort that a person may experience living as the gender that the person was assigned at birth. If a person feels that they do not fully identify with their assigned gender, they may experience a wide range of psychological symptoms, such as stress, depression and isolation. Hypnotherapy can form a significant part of the counselling programme.


What is gender dysphoria?

Gender dysphoria is not a mental illness, however, people who experience gender dysphoria often suffer poor mental health as a result of the many challenges they might face. Talking about it and getting support is the first step to alleviating the symptoms.

Young children may perceive themselves as being the opposite sex - knowing that ‘something is not right’ but struggling to understand the causes of their distress. The changes that teenagers undergo during puberty may be particularly distressing. Stress, depression, feelings of rejection and isolation can cause poor mental health and may sometimes manifest as the desire to self-harm.

Getting professional help

It's important that children and teenagers should talk to their GP as soon as possible to get a diagnosis and create a treatment plan. Because referral to a Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) may take a considerable amount of time, the local Mental Health Service may be able to offer psychological support while they wait.

People in the UK can engage with an adult GIC once they are 17 years old, although there are sometimes protracted waiting times in some areas. After an initial consultation, patients will work with their doctors to agree on an action plan. In addition to psychological treatments, hormone/physical therapy options are available for some patients.

How can hypnotherapy help with gender dysphoria?

Hypnotherapists use techniques that bring about deep relaxation or 'trance' - a natural and everyday state similar to daydreaming - during which, the client is very responsive to suggestions beneficial to their health and well-being. Hypnotherapy can be used in association with other techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy and relaxation to help with a wide range of issues.

For the client affected by gender dysphoria, hypnotherapy can be used to complement treatment plans agreed with a GIC (or whilst awaiting their first appointment). It is helpful to both the person affected and also their friends and family in the following ways:

  • Support for the parents of a transgender child - helping them to deal with the anxiety, stress and depression which are commonly associated with gender dysphoria.
  • Coping with bullying, discrimination and oppression by building resilience.
  • Working directly with sufferers with a range of issues including anxiety, stress, depression, loss of identity, sexuality, relationship issues, confidence, performance anxiety, insomnia and other health issues.
  • Empowering the client by teaching them techniques such as mindfulness, relaxation and self-hypnosis to enable them to help themselves between sessions and achieve long-term well-being once therapy has ended.
  • Enabling a process of acceptance and the integration of all aspects of their gender.
  • Support during the ‘social gender role transition’ period (they are typically required to first live in their affirmed gender full-time for up to two years prior to having permanent gender-confirmation surgery).
  • Hypnotic suggestions for ‘feminisation’ or ‘masculinisation’ behaviours and mannerisms.
  • Support dealing with the challenges of ‘coming out’ as transgender to family, friends and colleagues - finding the courage, self-confidence and resilience.

The next steps

The first step is to speak to friends and family if this is possible and then to a professional, whether this is their GP, or a specialist support and advice service.

Once a decision is made that they want further help, professional support is essential. During all stages of the journey, a therapist experienced in gender dysphoria and trans people will have an understanding of what they are going through, and the best ways to help. They can offer valuable additional support, both before and during a treatment plan process agreed with a GIC specialist.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Blairgowrie, Perth And Kinross, PH11
Written by Harry Holbrook, Dip.AH SQHP GHR reg CNHC reg
Blairgowrie, Perth And Kinross, PH11

I practice Quick Change Hypnotherapy - in other words, the therapy is deep, effective and fast. This means you will require fewer sessions, you can get on with your life sooner and it will cost you less money. I also use techniques of integrative hypnotherapy - a safe, relaxing client-centred a...

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