It is important to find a counsellor who will be a good fit for your needs, and you can ask questions that can help you figure out whether they are, such as:
- Do you have trans or non-binary clients? Have you worked with trans and non-binary people before? How long have you been doing this work?
- What is your approach to gender diversity?
- What, if any, guidelines do you use to inform your care?
- Are you connected with other providers in your field who do this work?
- Do you work from an affirming or informed consent approach?
Note that trans-affirming and informed consent are words you can use to help identify counsellors that will support trans people.
Trans-affirming means the provider believes in and supports trans identities. Informed consent means the provider will give you all the necessary information to make your own decision about your health and possible transition actions, like changing your name, or starting hormones. Informed consent also means that a doctor will ultimately respect the decisions you make for yourself and your health, even if they might not make that same decision if the choice were theirs.
At Sherbourne Health, we believe the decision to initiate hormone therapy should be collaborative and client-centred, with focus on informed consent and preparation for the potential psychological and social outcomes of transition. It is the role of the provider to inform, educate, and to support you in overcoming any barriers to safe hormone therapy.
If you do not feel comfortable with a provider, it is okay to continue to search for someone who will be a better fit for the support you need.