Multicultural Counseling and Best Practices for Working With Transgender Clients

Conference Strand

Practice, Strategies, Techniques, and Interventions


The purpose of this presentation is to (1) acknowledge common societal and mental health issues many transgender individuals experience; (2) discuss cultural competencies, and apply them to ACA, ALGBTIC, and WPATH competencies for working with gender variant clients; (3) discuss goals, best practices, and advocacy efforts with trans populations.


In social, personal, and intrapersonal realms, transgender individuals, gender variant, bigender, gender fluid, or any other non-gender binary identifying person have historically experienced oppression in a variety of contexts (American Psychological Association, 2008; Perez, 2005). The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), identifies that due to societal oppression, transgender identifying individuals, are at higher risk for mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, personality disorders, eating disorders, psychotic disorders, self-harm, work, and relationship issues than the general population (WPATH Standards of Care, 2012). Transgender individuals are a client population deserving of attention in the counseling community not only clinically, but also with regard to a shifting of the socio-political paradigm through advocacy (Carrol, Gilroy & Ryan, 2002).

This purpose of this presentation is to (1) Acknowledge common societal and mental health issues transgender individuals experience; (2) discuss the Sue, Arredondo, and McDavis model of multicultural competence, as applied to ALGBTIC, WPATH, and ACA competencies for working with transgender clients; (3) illustrate through a counseling case study, goals, multicultural counseling competencies, best practices, and advocacy efforts with a transgender client. We will also discuss basics regarding counseling gender variant clients, and general advocacy efforts that apply to working with this population. The presentation will focus on the cultural diversity of trans clients, and will provide counselors insight into treatment options, medical and counseling related, about which they need to be aware. The presentation will also highlight: attitudes and beliefs, knowledge, and skills, clinicians can need to develop to become culturally competent clinicians with this specific population.


American Counseling Association. (2014). ACA code of ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/

American Psychological Association Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance. (2008). Report of the Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling. (2009). Competencies for counseling with transgender clients. Alexandria, VA: Author.

Bidell, M. P. (2012). Examining School Counseling Students' Multicultural and Sexual

Orientation Competencies through a Cross-Specialization Comparison. Journal Of Counseling & Development, 90(2), 200-207.

Bornstein, K. (1995). Gender outlaw: On men, women, and the rest of us. New York: Vintage.

Brill, S., & Pepper, R. (2008). The transgender child: A handbook for families and professionals. San Francisco, CA: Cleis Press.

Burdge, B. J. (2007). Bending Gender, Ending Gender: Theoretical Foundations for Social Work Practice with the Transgender Community. Social Work, 52(3), 243-250.

Carroll, L., Gilroy, P. J., & Ryan, J. (2002). Counseling Transgender, Transsexual, and Gender-Variant Clients. Journal Of Counseling & Development, 80(2), 131.

Clough, A. S. (2000). The illusion of protection: Transsexual employment discrimination. Journal of Gender and the Law, 1, 849-886.

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. (2009),The 2009 CACREP Standards. Alexandria, VA: Author. Retrieved from http://www.cacrep.org/doc/2009%20Standards%20with%20cover.pdf

Chen-Hayes, S. F. (1997). Counseling Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay Persons in Couple and Family Relationships: Overcoming the Stereotypes. Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 5(3), 236-40.

Chen-Hayes, S. F. (2000). Social Justice and Advocacy with Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Persons. In J. Lewis & L. Bradley(Eds.), Advocacy in counseling (pp. 89-98). Greensboro, NC: ERIC/CASS.

Chen-Hayes, S. F. (2001). Counseling and Advocacy With Transgender and Gender-Variant Persons in Schools and Families. Journal Of Humanistic Counseling, Education & Development, 40(1), 34-49.

Coleman, E., Bockting, W., Botzer, M., Cohen-Kettenis, P., DeCuypere, G., Feldman, J., &Monstrey, S. (2012). Standards of care for the health of transsexual, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people, version 7.International Journal of Transgenderism, 13(4), 165-232.

Coming Out as Trans (2012) Ohio University LGBT Center. Retrieved from http://www.ohio.edu/lgbt/resources/transcomingout.cfm

Denny, D. (1994). The politics of diagnosis and a diagnosis of politics: The university-affiliated gender clinics, and how they failed to meet the needs of transsexual people. Chrysalis Quarterly 1, pp. 9-20.

Denny, D. & Green, J. (1996). Gender identity and bisexuality in B. Firestein (ed.), Bisexuality: The psychology and politics of an invisible minority (pp. 84-102). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Dickey, L. M., & Loewy, M. I. (2010). Group work with transgender clients. Journal For Specialists In Group Work, 35(3), 236-245.

Dysart‐Gale, D. (2010). Social Justice and Social Determinants of Health: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersexed, and Queer Youth in Canada. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 23(1), 23-28.

Eckholm, E., Blinder, A. (August 22, 2016). Federal transgender access guidelines blocked by judge. The New York Times. Retrieved fromhttps://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/23/us/transgender-bathroom-access- guidelines-blocked-by-judge.html?_r=0

Eppler, C. & Carolan, M.T. (2005). Biblionarrative: A narrative technique uniting oral and written life stories. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 16(4), 31-43. doi: 10.1300/J085v16n04_03

Fact sheet: Bathroom access rights for transgender employees under title VII of the civil rights act of 1964 (2017). Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-bathroom-access-transgender.cfm

Federal Bureau of Investigation (2015). Hate crime statistics. Retrieved from https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2015/tables-and-data-declarations/1tabledatadecpdf

Feinberg, L. (1996). Transgender warriors: Making history from Joan of Ark to RuPaul. Boston: Beacon.

Gómez-Gil, E.Trilla, A., Salamero, M., Godás, T., & Valdés, M. (2009). Sociodemographic, clinical, and psychiatric characteristics of transsexuals from Spain. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38(3), 378-392. Doi:10.1007/s10508-007-9307-8

Gladding, S.T. (2005). Counseling as an art: The creative arts in counseling (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Grant, J., Mottet, L., Tanis, J., Harrison, J., Herman, J. & Keisling, M. (2011). Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, Executive Summary. National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Retrieved from http://transequality.org/PDFs/Executive_Summary.pdf

Hertz, F., Clifford, D., & Doskow, E. (2012). A legal guide for lesbian & gay couples. Nolo.

Israel, G. E., & Tarver, D. E. (1997). Transgender care: Recommended guidelines, practical information & personal accounts. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Kirk, J., & Belovics, R. (2008). Understanding and Counseling Transgender Clients. Journal of Employment Counseling, 45(1), 29.

Lambda Legal. (2013). Making the case for equality. Retrieved from http://www.lambdalegal.org/

Lewis, J., Arnold, M., House, R., & Toporek, R. (2003). Advocacy competencies. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/resources/competencies/advocacy_competencies.pdf

Martinez, L., McGlaughlin, E., & Fishel, J. (2017) Trump signs memo directing pentagon to ban transgender individuals from openly serving in U.S. military. ABC News.

Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-signs-memo-directing-pentagon-ban- transgender-individuals/story?id=49425806

Nicholos, M.P. (2009). The essentials of family therapy. (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Office of Lieutenant Governor (2017). Lieutenant governor patrick announces the filing of texas senate bill sb6-texas privacy act. Retrieved from https://www.ltgov.state.tx.us/2017/01/05/lt-governor-patrick-announces-the-filing-of-senate-bill-6-texas-privacy-act/

O'Neil, M. E., McWhirter, E. H., & Cerezo, A. (2008). Transgender identities and gender variance in vocational psychology. Journal of Career Development, 34, 286-308

Patterson, C. (1998) Narrative therapy techniques. Retrieved from http://faculty.education.ufl.edu/Myrick/CMethods/Narratives.html

Perez, A. (2005). Internalized Oppression: How it Affects Members of the LGBT Community. Diversity Factor, 13(1), 25-29.

Pfäfflin, F., & Junge, A. (1998). Sex reassignment. International Journal of Transgenderism. http://www. symposion. com/ijt/books/index. htm# Sex% 20Reassignment.

Seil, D. "The diagnosis and treatment of transgender patients." Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy 8.1-2 (2004): 99-116.

Singh, A. A., Hays, D. G., & Watson, L. S. (2011). Strength in the face of adversity: Resilience strategies of transgender individuals. Journal of Counseling & Development, 89(1), 20-27.

Sue, D. W., Arredondo, P., & McDavis, R. J. (1992). Multicultural counseling competencies and standards: A call to the profession. Journal of Counseling and Development. March/April vol. 70. Retreived from http://coe.unm.edu/uploads/docs/coe-mainfacultystaffMultiCultural%20Counseling%20Competencies%20and%20Standards.pdf

United States Department of Justice. (2017). Hate crime laws. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/crt/hate-crime-laws

World Professional Association for Transgender Health (2012). Standards of care for the health of transsexual, and gender-nonconforming people. International Journal of Transgenderism, 13(4), 165-232. doi: 10.1080/15532739.2011.700873

Whitbeck, L. B., Chen, X., Hoyt, D. R., Tyler, K. A., & Johnson, K. D. (2004). Mental disorder, subsistence strategies, and victimization among gay, lesbian, and bisexual homeless and runaway adolescents. Journal of Sex Research, 41(4), 329-342.

Wilchins, R. (1997). Read my lips: Sexual subversion and the end of gender. Magnus Books. Riverdale, NY

Worthington, R. L., & Dillon, F. R. (2011). Deconstructing multicultural counseling competencies research: Comment on Owen, Leach, Wampold, and Rodolfa (2011). Journal Of Counseling Psychology, 58(1), 10-15. doi:10.1037/a0022177

(I apologize for the inappropriate indentation style, the formatting tools are incompatible with Microsoft Word, and I was unable to create the indentations on this form.)


Individual Presentations

Biographical Sketch

King, Bonnie C., Ph.D., LPC, NCC is an Assistant Professor at Midwestern State University. She holds a doctorate from the University of New Orleans, and a Master’s of Counseling from Texas State University. Dr. King has clinical experience in private practice, school counseling, community mental health treatment, and substance abuse rehabilitation.

Johns, Amanda E., Ph.D., LPC­-S, NCC is an Assistant Professor at Nicholls State University in the Department of Psychology, Counseling and Family Studies. She holds a doctorate in Counselor Education from the University of New Orleans and a master's in Counseling Psychology from Troy University. Dr. Johns has clinical experience in outpatient mental health treatment, grief counseling, crisis intervention, training clinics, and private practice.

Raddler, Latrina R., LPC-S, NCC, is a Clinical Manager of Clinical Administration for Envolve People Care. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of New Orleans, and earned a master’s degree from Southeastern University. Latrina is a clinical supervisor, and mental health counselor in private practice, and group practice. Her specialties are mental health, addiction, marriage & family therapy, and managed care.

Start Date

2-9-2018 10:45 AM

End Date

2-9-2018 12:00 PM

This document is currently not available here.


Feb 9th, 10:45 AM Feb 9th, 12:00 PM

Multicultural Counseling and Best Practices for Working With Transgender Clients

The purpose of this presentation is to (1) acknowledge common societal and mental health issues many transgender individuals experience; (2) discuss cultural competencies, and apply them to ACA, ALGBTIC, and WPATH competencies for working with gender variant clients; (3) discuss goals, best practices, and advocacy efforts with trans populations.