Choosing a Good Therapist for Your Child or Yourself

How to find a therapist:

First, talk with your doctor about your situation, how you feel, your child’s symptoms. He or she will no doubt know therapists who can help with your specific issues. There are other places to start besides your primary care doctor, too. For example, many employee health care plans offer confidential help lines where you can ask questions and find therapists in your network. Another source is the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline (1-800-950-6264).There are many kinds of professionals who offer many different types of therapy. Their individual approaches are based on their particular training and experience. The main ones include:

Psychiatrist. A doctor with a medical degree who can prescribe medication. He or she often helps with more severe issues, such as major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Psychologist. A professional who has a PhD or a PsyD in clinical psychology. He or she can treat a full range of emotional and psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, but in most states cannot prescribe medication.

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). He or she has a master’s degree plus 2,000 hours of supervised psychotherapy experience. This type of mental health professional focuses on the problems of everyday living, like stress and anxiety, relationship conflicts, and mild depression.

Clinician Nurse Specialist. Like psychiatrists, he or she can prescribe medication. This type of professional works either independently or in collaboration with a supervising physician.

Licensed Social Worker/Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. Similar to a counselor in terms of education and training, a social worker focuses on solving social problems, connecting clients with appropriate resources, and helping with referrals to other professionals, if needed. - Harvard Medical School Newsletter

TYEF belongs to a gender therapy collaborative and can help locate a trained gender therapist in your area or give you hints how to find one. Some of these questions might help you gain insight about the training or level of interest of a therapist. You might find some more important then others. Ask the therapist, do you have any experience with trans youth? What ages? How many? Do you go to gender conferences? Do you read journals or books about transgender youth?Do you follow WPATH Standards of care? Do you see them as guidelines? Do you object to transition medical care for youth? Do you feel comfortable discussing the gender spectrum?If you are not happy with your choice you can always change. Contact TYEF for support!

We have a famous saying at TYEF! We teach the kids that “reaching out is a sign of strength.” Encourage them to share and keep communication open.



  • Thank them for trusting you and having the courage to tell you.
  • Respect their confidentiality and assure them you will keep it.
  • Provide the teen with support, care and empathy and gently ask who else they have told. It is not your right to tell others. Unless, of course the teen is in danger.
  • Assure them you still care for them. Some teens fear that when they come out, they will be rejected.
  • Learn about organizations, support groups and books that can be helpful to the teen and share this with them. Refer them to
  • Being a good listener shows respect and being heard is part of the healing process.
  • Attend workshops, read journal articles, know local resources and be openminded about learning more. Encourage the teen to build community within the trans youth groups you know of or in LGBT groups regionally.

Relieving Dysphoria: Trans Boys

A trans boy issue: packing. To pack or not to pack. A mother contacted us today to ask for the best resource for buying a packer for her son. Yet, one mad mom contacted us a while ago to ask if we thought it was "reasonable" that she should have to have a "fake penis" in her house! And one mom told their son they would upgrade their packer for christmas, after all, some models can be very expensive..... so there is a gift idea! If you feel you can, you can open this conversation. We find some boys pack and it really helps them, some don't  care to at all. If your son needs to/wants to then read this guide or read it together. Finding ways to relieve dysphoria is crucial. When kids hide they use materials that are not helpful,sometimes unsafe, they get frustrated and have one more thing to hide. We encourage open conversation as hard as it might seem. Packers are now made for very young boys as well. We have also written about safe and comfortable gaffs and taping for girls and can reload that again for our trans daughters! Here is your guide for packers:

Coming Out

Coming out experiences vary greatly. Some parents will be encouraging from the start. They may have suspected all along that their son or daughter is gay or transgender, and become use to the idea over time. Other parents may be completely shocked. They could react with anger, sadness, fear, or any mix of these emotions. It is completely normal for parents not to be supportive of their child’s transition at first. Many parents go through what is called a “grieving process”; they feel they have lost their son or daughter because their child wants to transition to the other or correct gender. In reality, their child is the same child they have had all along. Some parents take a long time to understand this.

If your parents are not totally on-board with your transition at first, there are a few things you can do to help them understand. First, ask them to read about transgender youth. Books like “The Transgender Child” by Brill can be extremely helpful for parents who don’t know very much about transgender youth.  You can also refer them to websites and organizations that can provide them with more knowledge as well as support from other parents in the same situation. The Trans Youth Equality Foundation ( and Transitioning Families ( are just a couple of these websites and organizations. Ask your parents to get you or the family a therapist as well, preferably a therapist who specializes in transgender issues and has experience working with transgender youth. Finally, there are many support groups for transgender youth and their parents across the country. ( and at TYEF in Portland Maine,both for youth and their families) If you can find one in your area, encourage your parents to go with you. You would be amazed to see some of the changes that happen in parents when they are able to discuss their concerns and fears with people who are going through the same thing. TYEF can help you find one in your region!

We want your coming out experience to be as positive as possible. If you feel it is simply not safe to tell your parents perhaps an older sibling, trusted family member, friend or counselor should be present. Always remember that all of us at TYEF are here for you. We will certainly support you through this process. We can discuss this with your parents to help them understand better. Don’tbe shy to call or text us anytime. 207-478-4087 and leave a message with your name and contact. Or email us at It’s always smart to reach out! Take good care of yourself by knowing when to reach out to adults who can support you!

p.s. If it's holiday time.  When coming out ask your parents if you can talk over the holiday plans. Be honest about your feelings and how deep they are.  Let them know if you feel pressured or down about the anticipation of coming out to your family and friends. Some families will write a letter or private FB message to all people they are sharing the holiday with. For example they can say they are supporting you by using the right pronouns and name and a brief description of what transgender and transition means. They often state that they would like to ask everyone else to please support you in these ways and to be respectful so you can also feel safe and calm and look forward to your holiday. Preparing relatives and asking for respect is better then just appearing as the transitioned you as never before!  lol We welcome hearing about what has worked for you.

Big hugs to all supportive families!!!!!  written by a TYEF youth intern and the staff!