Recently the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists printed a letter to the Editor promoting Gender Exploratory Therapy. For those of us in the community we saw the language and knew this was a bad thing. But if you go to their website they state things in a gentle way that does not show their true agenda. Their agenda is clearly to not allow children to transition at all. That is conversion therapy which is illegal in CA. Many of us let CAMFT know what we thought about them publishing such a horrific letter. I am grateful to be a social worker our professional organizations would never publish something like that. However, for a parent seeking out therapy for their gender-curious kid, this therapy might look like a good thing. It plays up all the reasons that a parent might be thinking about. A parent might worry it is a trend or their kid was influenced by others (there is no scientific evidence to back this claim). A parent will of course want there to be a thoughtful process with their child and they want to make sure that their child is not influenced. And although that is what good gender therapists do the right-wing extremists claim otherwise. A parent worries about what transition would be like for their child and fears that they will change their minds (again the rate of de-transitioning is very low and has not been studied alongside family support). So a parent can easily be sold on this group of therapists. Questions a parent might ask a gender therapist for their child How many clients have you supported through transition? What are the main obstacles you see for a child struggling with gender? How do you feel about puberty blockers? What is your training in working with gender-diverse children? How do you collaborate with parents, medical providers, and the schools? A good therapist will collaborate with other providers. A good therapist will be open to puberty blockers at [...]
I often hear potential clients tell me how hard it is to get a therapist that accepts their insurance plan. I get it. I accepted insurance for over 20 years and when I moved to PA I was not allowed to stay on CA insurance plans so I decided I did not want to make the huge effort to get on PA panels. The trade-off was no longer worth it. I suspect the general public does not understand this concept. Or they blame therapists for being greedy. I mean many of us have price points well above $100 a session and often above $200 in urban areas. They wonder why we need or deserve that much money a session. It is a fair question to some extent. And unfair in others. To become a Master Level therapist (which is the "lowest" level of education needed) you must go to graduate school. Then to get licensed you must do many hours (I had to do 3500) of supervised practice. In places like California, many people do those hours at little to no pay. After graduating with student debt, therapists have to work an additional two years with no real income. Then you have to choose between working for a non-profit, government program, group practice, or going out on your own. Non-profits do not pay well. Most people choose to do private practice. If you do that you are starting your own business with all the financial and emotional commitment that takes. Of course, they do not teach any of those aspects in graduate school. Many therapists are good a providing therapy but not so great at running a business and marketing. I now spend several hours a week marketing my business through blog posting and social media interactions. When I started my practice in 2001 this was not at all how I expected my time to be spent. If you accept insurance there are additional hours spent on record keeping. If you have your [...]
I am teaching a class Building EMDR Confidence-How To Effectively Use EMDR With Complex Cases. This class will be online on May 20, 2023, from 9-12 PST and 12-3 pm EST. It will be videotaped and available afterward as a distance learning class. This class is to help therapists better serve their clients with complex trauma. We will discuss stabilization techniques, how to know when a client is ready for EMDR, and interventions for when processing gets stuck. I will teach you some practical strategies for integrating parts/ego states work into your EMDR work. The goal is for you to have new tools to bring to the office the following Monday. Register here. Here is a brief video of me talking about the class. https://youtu.be/-bCKwGAllog This class is for licensed therapists who have completed EMDR Basic Training Levels One and Two and have completed the associated 10 hours. This class is presented by Cathy Hanville, LCSW They/She EMDRIA Credit Provider #23010 EMRIA Certified Therapist and Approved Consultant This class is approved for 3 EMDRIA Credits #23010-01 This class complies with EMDRIA Standards for EMDR This class will be recorded and available to all registrants after the course for 60 days. If you do not attend the full live presentation you will have to complete a post test to obtain EMDRIA credits.
Yesterday I saw a post on social media where a 38-year-old person talked about how they had become an elder in the community. As someone a bit older than that I immediately thought then what am I? I was asked last week by a younger person if the current environment towards LGBTQ+ people was the worst I had ever experienced. My answer was yes. As I reflected more I feel like the time before I came of age was most likely worse since clubs and even homes were raided and people's lives were ruined by being outed. But in my Gen X lifetime, this is the unsafest I have ever felt. Why now? Back in the late '80s and early 90's there was a lot of being closeted. You were not out if you had any job working with youth. My first job out of graduate school was at a residential program for youth and you better believe I was deeply closeted. On the other side of the equation, though there was so much community. Yes, much of it was at bars but when you felt like it was all too much, there was always a place to go and just be with people that looked like you and had similar experiences. When I moved to San Francisco in the early 90's it was right before AIDS medication became what it was today. The local gay paper had pages and pages of obituaries every week. Until the week they did not and that was a celebration. Living in the Castro, I felt safe. We may have been invisible to the general population but we were okay in our safe space (for those of us lucky enough to find them-other people's experiences were different). We looked out for each other. I know many straight people do Friendsgiving now but back in the day it was survival. If you were celebrating you made sure your people had a place to go or you invited them over. Even [...]
I will admit, I am tired of hearing about how this gay marriage bill is such a great thing. I will start by saying it was a necessary law. Because whenever I have feelings about it I keep getting told it's something. And indeed, it is something. If Obergefell is overturned this will allow those that are married to have their marriages recognized in whatever state they live. It also means that if they live in one of the 35 states that will likely make gay marriage illegal, they can go to another state to be married and their state will have to honor that marriage. As someone who had one marriage overturned by the courts and a second (same person!) one that stuck us in limbo for years, I get the importance of this protection. After marrying in CA in 2008, the state passed Proposition 8 which made gay marriage illegal in CA. Our marriage was still valid in Ca but not valid federally. It was a tax nightmare. Our tax guy had to do dummy single-person CA tax forms for the feds along with our real married tax forms for CA. It was gross. That being said the law that passed is a loss of rights for gay couples. It only is necessary if Obergefell is overturned. But it doesn't give us the same rights as we currently have now. Imagine being told that you could no longer get married in your state. You had to go to another one. Kinda like what is happening to women and abortion right now. It is making LGBT marriages second-class marriages. And as we know there is no separate but equal. As a gay person, I have spent years having rights doled out to me. With the Obergefell case, we were almost there. We had marriage. Still, didn't (and don't) have employment, housing, and other protections in many states. My new home state of PA literally just passed some of those rights, it was one [...]
I would have liked to write a post about gratitude for Thanksgiving. Or write one on any other topic other than this one. However, I cannot let the horror of what just happened at Club Q a few days ago. On the eve of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, another trans person died. Along with other LGBTQ+ people who were just out enjoying a drag show. People went out looking for community and fun and ended up experiencing a tragedy that will forever affect their lives. It happened for a few reasons. The first reason is the continued hatred and vitriol expressed toward members of the LGBTQ+ community. Mainstream politicians post about how the community grooms children. This serves to associate LGBTQ+ people with pedophilia. There are attacks on clinics and doctors that serve transgender minors to the point that some hospitals are coping with frequent bomb threats. This puts an already marginalized community under fire. The second reason is this country's obsession with guns. The perpetrator will now be labeled as mentally ill to justify this horror. This will further, marginalize people with mental health diagnoses that already have a tough enough time because now they will be associated with violence. When the reality is most people with mental health issues are not violent. This perpetrator recently had a violent incident in the past that should have meant there was no access to guns. However, where the perpetrator lives these rules are not followed. Because apparently, the rights of a disturbed young white person are more important than the rights of the people that were killed and injured. Nothing to do with the fact that the perpetrator's grandfather is a MAGA CA Assemblyman, who fortunately just got beaten in his most recent election. As a therapist, I not only have to hold my own feelings about this incident but I have to hold the feelings of every client I work with who is affected by this. Oftentimes all I can do is sit [...]