Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
26 - Behind the Curtain: Depth Work in Gender Exploratory Therapy - Part II

26 - Behind the Curtain: Depth Work in Gender Exploratory Therapy - Part II

Sasha and Stella continue their series which peers behind the curtain of depth work with gender-questioning clients. Today, they weave in philosophy and psychology to discuss the importance of authenticity, happiness, and connectedness. They also explore the value of art in the slow evolving process of an emergent Self.


The Catcher in the Rye:  

The Bell Jar :  

Taxi Driver:  

The Scream:  

Raised by the Village (with Stella O’Malley): 

External Locus of Control:,luck%2C%20chance%2C%20or%20randomness.  

Extended Notes

  • How do you “break the ice,” as it were, with a gender-questioning teen? 

  • Sasha and Stella noticed that a lot of these children don’t have “joy” in their lives.

  • What does it mean to be authentic?

  • So many teens feel different from others and they feel like no one else understands the feelings they’re going through.

  • A lot of gender-questioning teens are asking very common existential questions. It often shows up everywhere, really.

  • Sasha often likes to ask what are some of the common triggers to her client’s gender dysphoria. The answers are very interesting and insightful.

  • Going from a child body to an adult body is very jarring.

  • If a child is experiencing same-sex attraction, therapists really need to slow down in this process and explore.

  • Everybody says they’re pro-LGBTQ, but they just don’t want it for themselves.

  • There is a lot of bullying going on in schools when someone is gay or a lesbian — a lot of bullying.

  • It’s one thing to say you’re okay with it, but it’s quite another to be experiencing same-sex attraction physically.

  • Sasha works a lot with helping her clients find their own voice that’s not a reaction towards their parent’s wishes.

  • When parents are so adamant about what the “right thing” is for their children, the children end up doubling down even further.

  • Sasha loves to do these “gender timelines” to help the child see how their views change over time.

  • Stella really likes to go “behind the label.” Yes, they’re calling themselves certain things, but let’s dig deeper as to why.

  • Some children also have a hard time accepting their very “ordinary” selves.

  • Let’s explore internal vs. external locus of control.

  • Young people have been sold this idea that they can control how other people perceive them.

  • Stella likes to encourage her clients to develop their own sense of style. Not develop a style based on “what they think it means to be trans.” What her clients come up with is often very freeing.

  • Stella is also curious to understand whether medications are suppressing libidos and this means young teens feel like they have to question their gender more because they feel stuck and they’re not progressing like their peers are.

This podcast is partially sponsored by ReIME, Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics:

Learn more about our show:

Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
In this podcast, now in its fourth year, therapists Stella O'Malley and Sasha Ayad take a deep dive into the psychological and cultural forces impacting the social changes around "gender." Through interviews with researchers, doctors, therapists, parents, detransitioners, and others, Sasha and Stella's podcast is a "must listen" for anyone trying to navigate the current gender landscape. With their sharp analytical minds and deep compassionate hearts, Stella and Sasha have also become known throughout many parent networks as lighthouses in the midst of some very stormy seas. Previous guests include Helen Joyce, Jesse Singal, Leor Sapir, Kathleen Stock, Jamie Reed, Peter Boghossian and more.