Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
7 - Collective Collusion

7 - Collective Collusion

In therapy, collusion happens when the therapist (consciously or unconsciously) participates in a client’s bid to avoid an important issue instead of helping the client to gain a deeper understanding or take a more helpful perspective. In the collective, society has colluded with the fantasy of gender identity, much to the detriment of dysphoric and transgender people themselves. Sasha and Stella discuss what factors contribute to this kind of collusion and how individuals have the power to steer us towards a more truthful and thoughtful direction.


Extended Notes

  • What does collusion mean in this context?

  • What’s the difference between a good therapist and a bad therapist? They are able to step back when they’ve colluded with their client.

  • There is collective collusion among therapists as well as collective collusion among languages.

  • Stella showcases how the JK Rowling situation is the perfect example of collective collusion. She is not transphobic!

  • A person-centric therapist might be very reluctant to give honest feedback and to challenge their client.

  • They’re afraid that they’ll rupture the client's trust if they question whether someone with gender dysphoria is a boy or a girl.

  • However, this approach can lead a client to feel stuck and they become a prisoner to their own narrative.

  • It’s important the therapist doesn’t take the word of their client at face-value. Take a bird’s eye view of it instead.

  • People are more than just a walking identity. It’s important for a client to explore all the different reasons why they might have an issue.

  • Stella outlines how therapists fall into collusion instead of exploring the client’s feelings and emotions. It happens because they’re very empathic toward their feelings.

  • By trying to protect your client, you end up hurting them because reality will always hit hard.

  • Stella shares her thoughts on trans therapists and what they need to be aware of when it comes to collusion.

  • It’s easy to be kind short-term, but to be kind long-term is preparing your client for success by helping them realize who they are.

  • Humans will always take advantage of loopholes!

  • It’s easy to fall into “the wrong opinion” when everyone around you touts it as truth!

  • What does pluralistic ignorance mean?

  • Humans follow the status quo, even if logically it doesn’t make sense to follow it.

  • Therapists want to be part of the good side of history, but they need to take a step back and look at the best interest of the client.

  • What makes people stand up for what’s right when everyone is following the status quo?

  • Sasha remembers growing up and having a lot of confusing thoughts about gender and sexuality. She knows growing up in today’s modern times, she would have questioned her gender.

  • Sasha explains how she once witnessed someone getting shot in the back and dying.

  • Are you following orders because you think someone else knows better?

  • Stella shares a study about whether it’s true people follow orders over their own judgment of what’s right or wrong. Sixty-five percent of people did what they were told, even if it meant the killing of someone else.

  • If there’s something in your gut telling you something is wrong, listen to it. The authorities don’t always know what’s best.

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.