Gender Dysphoria and Family Dynamics and Culture: A Case Composite

  • Melissa MacNishEmail author


This article presents a model for conceptualizing information gathered from the biopsychosocial assessment into internal and external stressors of the youth, as well as the degree of their gender dysphoria. This therapeutic assessment tool will help clinicians differentiate the interplay between these three realms as treatment interventions are applied. A case composite will be used to highlight the means to tease apart the complexities while also taking into account the importance of the family’s cultural backgrounds. Assessment of the social location and intersecting identities that each individual in the family holds can help to inform the clinician of a family’s strengths and potential barriers to acceptance of a youth. Based on Caitlyn Ryan’s research at the Family Acceptance Project correlating parental rejection and negative mental health outcomes, the author encourages the use of this research as an intervention for families who exhibit rejecting behaviors. Finally, this article stresses the need for expanding the scope of care for families from the therapy office to community-based interventions. When clinicians are able to better understand and support the complex intersections of a family’s identities and their internal and external stressors, as well as the degree of gender dysphoria the youth is experiencing, they can help guide the youth and their family through a transition process of healing, growth, and connection.


Transgender Gender dysphoria Family process of acceptance Transgender adolescent Assessment Rejecting behaviors Accepting behaviors Internal factors External factors 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Licensed Mental HealthSAYFTEE, LLCJamaica PlainUSA

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