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Shulz Article Review
By Dr. Camilla Williams
Shulz, S. L. (2018). The informed consent model of transgender care: An alternative to the diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 58, 72-92.
This article does a nice job of reviewing the traditional treatment model versus an alternative, social justice-based approach to working with and supporting transgender individuals. It notes that mental health professionals have historically been placed in power positions with the ability to decide who can have access to treatment and medical care. The author also highlights that a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria, while perhaps less stigmatizing than the previous diagnostic category of Gender Identity Disorder, still operates under a gender binary and implies that a transgender individual must be experiencing distress or oppression, which may not be true. It also notes the added financial burden of a multi-session evaluation that some medical providers, therapists, and/or insurance companies require before someone can be determined to “qualify” for gender-affirming treatments.
The alternative approach to this process is known as the Informed Consent model. This approach views the transgender person as being the expert in their life experience and the role of the mental health professional as an informational and support resource. Therapists working from this model are committed to providing information about risks, benefits, and possible unintended consequences of treatments so that the individual is able to make an informed and intentional decision about their own needs.
We here at Waves, A Psychological Corporation are committed to working with our clients using the informed consent model and look forward to collaborating with our clients to make the best choice for their needs.
You are worth having trans-affirming therapy. Contact Waves today!