Finding the right counsellor

Talking with a counsellor can helpful, even if you have other support mechanisms in place. It’s normal if you’re feeling anxious, a little stressed, even sad.

A counsellor can be useful to

  • talk about those things you would rather not share with your family or loved ones
  • help you put things into perspective
  • reduce your current stress levels
  • help you manage stressful situations in the future

A good counsellor will

  • listen to you
  • understand and support your path
  • help you make a plan
  • suggest strategies you can use to deal with your situation
  • be willing to learn about you and your experience.

You’ll need to give your counsellor (or psychologist) an understanding of your personal history so far. They will also be interested in other things going on in your life and how you’re managing these things. This is not to ‘pry’ but to get an overall understanding of you as a person.

Keep in mind, not all counsellors or psychologists understand the issues around transition. Even some psychologists or counsellors who say they’ve had training or experience in this area. It can be sensible to start with a new counsellor or psychologist on a ‘trial basis’.

Warning Signs

  • If your counsellor starts talking about your gender discomfort as a psychiatric or mental health problem
  • If they suggest you need to ‘overcome’ your discomfort to accept the sex you were assigned at birth
  • If they use the WPATH or Harry Benjamin Standards as a ‘rule’ or ‘strict requirement’ (they are only meant to be guidelines).

FTM Australia can help you find a psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor.