186859 Healthy development and positive mental health for transgender youth: A group therapy approach

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 9:24 AM

Catherine A.C. Forbes, PhD , Division of Adolescent Medicine, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Shann Collotzi, LCSW , Division of Adolescent Medicine, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
This presentation will provide an overview of the transgender youth therapy group conducted at the Division of Adolescent Medicine, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. It will describe the mental health concerns of transgender youth, therapeutic goals and processes of this group, as well as how to support healthy development and psychosocial functioning in transgender youth. Transgender youth face many challenges and barriers to healthy development and positive mental health. They struggle with gender identity in the context of normal adolescent development. Discrimination, harassment, violence, and rejection are unfortunately quite common, as are strained family relationships, barriers to educational and vocational opportunities, social and peer problems, and difficulties with self-acceptance. The therapy group offers a safe space for youth to address these issues, find support, and process difficult emotional challenges. The group was created in response to needs of TG Harm Reduction program clients. Access to transgender-friendly services that also address issues salient to adolescents and young adults was identified as a problem - no other service specifically for both male-to-female and female-to-male identified transyouth exists in Los Angeles. This process-oriented therapy group also incorporates psychoeducational aspects in order to address issues important to transgender youth, including disclosure, transitioning, health care, relationships, self-acceptance, legal rights and coping skills. Ways to help transgender youth on individual as well as societal levels will be reviewed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe mental health and psychosocial concerns for transgender youth 2. Identify at least 3 goals of transgender youth therapy group 3. Identify at least 3 ways to support healthy development for transgender youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: PH.D. in Clinical Psychology, 3 years of clinical work with transgender youth, completed fellowship in adolescent mental health
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.