Some children express their gender identity in ways that do not align with the sex assigned to them at birth. Others may be exploring their sexual orientation or seeking to understand the sexual or gender identity of their parents or siblings.
We help children and their families understand and explore their identity, with the goal of helping them achieving a true and nuanced sense of self. We want children to understand and value themselves, so that they can develop the confidence to talk with others about their sexual orientation and gender identity. If your child, adolescent, or young adult is a candidate for gender-affirming medical interventions, we work with you and your health insurer to obtain the necessary approvals.
In addition, we counsel children, adolescents, and young adults who have been diagnosed with disorders of sex development, also known as intersex conditions or congenital genital variations, and co-occurring mental health disorders.
Evaluations for Gender-Affirming Care
We conduct comprehensive evaluations to identify your child’s goals related to both gender identity and expression. This includes getting to know your child and understanding their experience of gender dysphoria, which is the discomfort or distress that arises from being a different gender than the one assigned at birth.
We also evaluate your child for mental health concerns and develop a treatment plan if required, and provide the documentation necessary to move forward with gender-affirming medical interventions, including puberty suppression and gender-affirming hormone treatments.
Mental Health Services
Our mental health experts help your child and family understand gender identity and connect your child with appropriate medical and mental health services. We also help assess whether puberty suppression or gender-affirming hormone treatments are appropriate for your child.
Specific treatment goals are tailored for each child and can include the following:
supporting your child’s identity exploration
building family and peer support
addressing stress around school, friendships, and family relationships
teaching adaptive strategies and coping skills
reducing stigma and bias
Our service provides ongoing evidence-based psychotherapy and uses a gender-affirming stance to address a variety of mental health concerns that may impact individuals exploring their gender identity. These include anxiety and mood disorders, non-suicidal self-injurious behaviors, suicidal ideation, disruptive behavior disorders, and autism, and we treat these conditions in a gender-affirming way.
The Gender and Sexuality Service offers a 10-week cognitive behavioral group therapy program for transgender and gender-expansive teens ages 13 to 18 who are experiencing shyness or social anxiety along with gender dysphoria.
This interactive program helps teens gain a better understanding of their anxiety and develop skills to manage social anxiety. This group also focuses on real and perceived challenges experienced by transgender and gender-expansive teens, addresses social and medical transition, and provides social support through other group members.
Parent and Caretaker Consultations
Parents and caretakers often have questions or concerns about how to best support your gender-expansive child or adolescent. Our service provides short-term consultations and psychoeducation to help you appreciate the diversity of gender identity and expression, understand the impact of social support, and learn more about services available across Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital.
Our team offers evaluations, individual and group therapy, and access to a variety of gender-affirming services through our community partnerships. We follow the standards of care guidelines set forth by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).