This article was downloaded by: [Burnes, Theodore R.

] On: 13 December 2010 Access details: Access Details: [subscription number 931133930] Publisher Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 3741 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling

Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t792306926

Shifting the Counselor Role from Gatekeeping to Advocacy: Ten Strategies for Using the Competencies for Counseling with Transgender Clients for Individual and Social Change
Anneliese A. Singha; Theodore R. Burnesb a Department of Counseling and Human Development Services, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA b Department of Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, California, USA Online publication date: 13 December 2010

To cite this Article Singh, Anneliese A. and Burnes, Theodore R.(2010) 'Shifting the Counselor Role from Gatekeeping to

Advocacy: Ten Strategies for Using the Competencies for Counseling with Transgender Clients for Individual and Social Change', Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 4: 3, 241 — 255 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/15538605.2010.525455 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15538605.2010.525455

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE
Full terms and conditions of use: http://www.informaworld.com/terms-and-conditions-of-access.pdf This article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug doses should be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.

Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 4:241–255, 2010 Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 1553-8605 print / 1553-8338 online DOI: 10.1080/15538605.2010.525455

Shifting the Counselor Role from Gatekeeping to Advocacy: Ten Strategies for Using the Competencies for Counseling with Transgender Clients for Individual and Social Change
ANNELIESE A. SINGH
Department of Counseling and Human Development Services, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA
Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

THEODORE R. BURNES
Department of Clinical Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, California, USA

In this article, the editors of the Special Issue of the Journal of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling on Counseling Competency with Transgender Clients summarize the themes of the articles within the special issue. The authors then discuss the future implications of these themes for counseling supervision and training, practice, research, and advocacy. Included in this discussion is a review of the areas of important focus that were “missing” in the Special Issue and how the counseling field may address these gaps in the literature. The article concludes with a list of 10 critical “next steps” for the counseling profession to take to ensure the American Counseling Association’s Competencies for Counseling with Transgender Clients develop a transgenderpositive counseling environment. KEYWORDS transgender, counseling, competency, counselor supervision and training, counseling practice In editing the Special Issue of the Journal of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling on Counseling Competency with Transgender Clients, we were delighted by the depth and breadth of ways in which professionals in the field of counseling have begun to apply, build upon,
Address correspondence to Anneliese A. Singh, The University of Georgia, 402 Aderhold, Athens, GA 30602-7124, USA. E-mail: asingh@uga.edu 241

242

A. A. Singh and T. R. Burnes

and work with the Competencies for Counseling with Transgender Clients (American Counseling Association [ACA], 2009). Further, through our editorial process we discovered an overarching theme of encouraging counselors to not only work toward competence in working with transgender clients, but also to consider how helping professionals may shift from a gatekeeping role to integrating a strong focus on counselor advocacy. The authors of the Competencies for Counseling with Transgender Clients (ACA, 2009) and the authors of the articles included within this Special Issue recognize that this historical gatekeeping role has in many instances precluded a focus on developing a counseling environment where transgender clients may empower themselves and where counselors may collaboratively work with transgender clients to identify contextual factors (e.g., transprejudice, racism, heterosexism, etc.) that impinge on their well-being. The authors also recognize the importance of current guidelines that develop standards of treatment with transgender clients (e.g., Ethics Code, ACA, 2005; World Professional Association of Transgender Health Standards of Care, Meyer et al., 2001). In addition, this theme of counselor advocacy demonstrates a call to the counseling field to acknowledge that transgender people may enter the counseling relationship having experienced multiple levels of oppression that influence their expectations of what the counseling process entails and their access to components of a potentially desired medical and social transition. Using this theme of “shifting toward advocacy” as a theoretical framework, we summarize six themes across the Competencies for Counseling with Transgender Clients (2009) and the six articles within the Special Issue in this article. We also discuss implications of these themes for future use in counseling supervision, training, practice, research, and advocacy—especially as these relate to the complex intersections between the counselor role to ensure ethical and client-directed counseling. In discussing these implications, we additionally explore specific areas of focus and topics that were “missing” in the Special Issue. We recognize that our intent for developing the Special Issue of the Journal of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling on Counseling Competency with Transgender Clients was to stimulate the counseling field to extend what the competencies “look like” across counselor supervision, training, research, and practice. Further, we identify topics that demand further investigation and further commentary. Finally, we provide 10 strategies that may define the various counselor roles in working with transgender clients that are guided with the scholarship contained within this Special Issue.

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

Summary of Themes in the Special Issue
We identified six themes across the competencies document (ACA, 2009) and the articles within this Special Issue: (a) reflection and self-awareness of

Shifting from Gatekeeping

243

the counselor; (b) focus on client resilience and strengths; (c) integration of a feminist approach to counseling, (d) exploration of intersectionality and sociocultural issues; (e) use of supervision, collaboration, and consultation; and (f) incorporation of a social justice and human rights perspective. We expand on each of the themes below, providing examples from the Special Issue articles to illuminate the themes. Reflection and self-awareness of the counselor. The various articles in the special issue have helped to highlight the need for counselor reflection and counselor self-awareness. Self-awareness has been documented to be a pivotal role in not only the development of counselor identity (e.g., BrooksHarris, 2005), but also specifically in the counseling process with transgender clients (Lev, 2004; Singh, Boyd, & Whitman, 2010). Patton and Reicherzer (this issue) highlight the importance of self-awareness as a needed tool in achieving positive counseling outcomes with transgender clients, especially as this self-awareness pertains to issues of counselor bias and privilege. Further, Lennon and Mistler (this issue) note the importance of how counselors’ self-awareness can also help to build strong alliances between counselors and other members of a counselor’s professional system (e.g., in a residential neighborhood community or an academic university community). Such a capacity for self-reflection is reflected not only in the Special Issue, but also in the Competencies for Counseling with Transgender Clients. The Competencies’ theoretical framework exemplifies such self-awareness by outlining the authors’ own reflection and struggles with their positionality throughout the document, their use of language and recognition of the importance of having a document that may evolve over time to best meet the counseling needs of transgender clients, and their overall organization of the competencies document. An example of a specific transgender competency that exemplifies the theme of counselor self-awareness and awareness is found in Helping Relationships Competency C.2 (Recognize that the counselors’ gender identity, express, and comments about gender are relevant to the helping relationship, and that these identities and concepts influence the counseling process and may affect the counselor/client relationship). Focus on client resilience and strengths. Although there is a distinct history of pathology-based perspectives on transgender people and their well-being (e.g., diagnosis of gender identity disorder), there has been the movement within a wide variety of helping profession disciplines (e.g., social work, counseling, psychology) toward a counseling research (Singh, Hays, & Watson, in press; Singh & McKleroy, 2010) and practice (Korell & Lorah, 2007; Mizock & Lewis, 2008; Singh et al., 2010) that emphasizes a focus on supporting the resilience and strengths of transgender clients. The movement toward a resilience and strength-based perspective was also evident in the Special Issue articles. For instance, Walinsky and Whitcomb’s (this issue) qualitative study of the experience of transgender people living in rural environments specifically sought to investigate participants’ conceptions of

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

244

A. A. Singh and T. R. Burnes

wellness, rather than focusing solely on issues of “gender dysphoria.” Their findings generated a rural transgender multi-level model of well-being that may be a resource to practitioners and researchers alike in identifying the resilience and strengths of this group. In addition to valuing well-being over “illness” or “disorder,” the authors of the Special Issue articles viewed transgender clients as having resilience and coping resources for positive change in their own lives. ChavezKorell and Johnson (this issue) detailed in their article an encouragement for counselors to draw from transgender narratives of individuals and communities into counselor education and practice. Examples of the specific transgender competencies that underlie the theme of client resilience and strengths are the Group Work Competency D.3 (Involve members in establishing the group treatment plans, expectations, and goals, which should be reviewed periodically throughout the group. These should foster the safety and inclusion of transgender members) and the Research Competency H.1 (Be aware of existing transgender research and literature regarding social and emotional wellbeing and difficulties, identity formation, resilience and coping with oppression, as well as medical and non-medical treatment options). Integration of a feminist approach to counseling. A significant theme in the competencies and the Special Issue articles was the importance of counselors using a feminist lens in counseling with transgender clients. Gonzalez and McNulty (this issue) outlined four specific feminist and social justice–based strategies for school counselors to use in developing transgender youth affirmative environments in school settings. The authors asserted that adopting a feminist perspective provides school counselors with the ability to identify how systemic barriers of heterosexism, sexism, and other oppressions manifest in school systems and may impinge on the well-being of transgender youth. In addition, the feminist construct of empowerment (Worell & Remer, 2003) was a strong thread throughout the Special Issues articles. Some authors, such as Patton and Reicherzer (this issue), identified how counselor practice may develop an authentic and trusting counseling environment where transgender clients may empower themselves. This focus is reflected in the Appraisal Competency G.12 (Be sensitive to and be aware of the ongoing debate regarding Gender Identity “Disorder” being listed as a medical condition in the current edition of the DSM and be willing to communicate to transgender individuals the position the professional take and to have open and honest discussions about how this may affect the work you do together). Other authors, such as Lennon and Mistler (this issue), focused on how counseling settings (i.e., college and university counseling centers) may institutionalize an empowerment approach to transgender counseling—which is also reflected in the Human Growth and Development Competency A.1 (Affirm that all persons have the

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

Shifting from Gatekeeping

245

potential to live full functioning and emotionally healthy lives throughout their lifespan while embracing the full spectrum of gender identity expression, gender presentation, and gender diversity beyond the male-female binary). Exploration of intersectionality and sociocultural issues. In concurrence with other themes, the exploration of intersectionality and sociocultural issues is a critical construct that all counselors engage with regardless of their engagement with counseling transgender clients. Cole (2009) documented the vast impact of intersectionality on the mental health field and noted the importance of clinicians to examine how a client’s multiple identities and contexts affect their lives. Patton and Reicherzer (this issue) exemplified how the client in their case study had multiple marginalized identities that affected and intersected with her transgender identity, thus providing a unique context in which she had to engage with multiple contexts of oppression and marginalization. In addition, Lennon and Mistler (this issue) note the importance of exploring the racial context within the counseling process when working with transgender students, as they encourage the use of an intersectionality-based framework to conceptualize competent work with transgender college students. Chung and Singh (2009) note the importance of diversity within intersecting identities, and the Competencies for Counseling with Transgender Clients utilizes such a variability-based framework in many areas of the document. Social and Cultural Foundations Competency B.5 (Recognize, acknowledge, and understand the intersecting identities of transgender people [e.g., race/ethnicity, ability, class, religion/spiritual affiliation, age, experiences of trauma] and their accompanying developmental tasks). This should include attention to the formation and integration of the multiple identity statuses of transgender people, including the importance of counselors reflecting on their own cultural biases and taking specific action to address these throughout their professional development. Use of supervision, collaboration and consultation. The need for supervision (e.g., Falender & Shafranske, 2004), collaboration, and consultation (e.g., Dougherty, 2000) has been documented as critical areas for counselors to engage as they proceed in areas of diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice advocacy that may be new to them or that are areas evolving in the field. The writings in this Special Issue all utilize these professional roles as vital to providing competent services with transgender clients. Gonzalez and McNulty (this issue) demonstrate the importance of advocating for transgender students using collaboration and consultation within schools as larger systems. Advocacy for students through developing partnerships with staff and faculty on school campuses is also highlighted in Lennon and Mistler’s (this issue) work, demonstrating the importance of using supervision, collaboration, and consultation throughout the counseling process with transgender clients and beyond the counseling office.

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

246

A. A. Singh and T. R. Burnes

These important professional roles highlighted by the authors mentioned above also have a designated home within the competencies as well. Professional Orientation Competency E.5 (Seek consultation or supervision to ensure that personal biases do not negatively affect the client-therapist relationship or the treatment outcomes of the transgender individual) exemplifies one important self-awareness outcome for the counselor who engages in supervision and consultation. Incorporation of a social justice and human rights perspective. There are overlaps between the social justice and human rights theme and the second theme of an integrating a feminist counseling approach. However, the Special Issue authors so strongly delineated the importance of advocacy and the counselor role of a social change agent with transgender issues—from grassroots activism to legislative advocacy and within-systems change—that we believe it is important to discuss this theme separately. For instance, Sangganjanavanich and Cavazos (this issue) use what might be termed as a feminist perspective in identifying issues of heterosexist and sexist oppression within the workplace for transgender people. However, the authors also summarize the specific legal systems and decisions that counselors should be aware of to be able to engage in social change on behalf of transgender client issues. This emphasis is stated in the Social and Cultural Foundations Competency B. 8. (Acknowledge how classism affects the lives of transgender people through increased rates of homelessness, restricted job opportunities and increased marginalization within the workplace, and lack of federal employment protections). Gonzalez and McNulty (this issue) encourage a social justice and human rights perspective as they not only suggest school counselors actively be aware of school policies regarding transgender youth, but also encourage school counselors to engage in legislative advocacy—such as developing school antibullying policies that include enumerated protections for gender identity and expression and engaging in lobbying at the legislative and school board levels. In addition, Walinsky and Whitcomb (this issue) ground their literature review for their qualitative study of transgender people living in rural settings in liberation theory within counseling and psychology. This liberationist perspective then allows the authors to identify implications of their study for counselor advocacy and action on gathering knowledge, skills, and awareness of the social histories of rural transgender communities. This counselor education from a social justice and human rights perspective is also articulated in the Social and Cultural Foundations Competency B. 11 (Educate themselves and others about the damaging impact of colonization and patriarchy on the traditions, rituals, and rites of passage specific to transgender people across cultures over time [e.g., Hijras of India, Mahu of Hawaii, Kathoey of Thailand, Two-Spirit of Native American/First Nations people]).

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

Shifting from Gatekeeping

247

IMPLICATIONS OF SPECIAL ISSUE THEMES FOR THE COUNSELING FIELD
The six themes mentioned above are prevalent in the competencies and the articles contained in this Special Issue and also have strong implications for the overall counseling field. It is important to note that these themes extend much of the basic work that currently exists on counseling with marginalized communities (e.g., Lewis, Arnold, House, & Toporek, 2003). In moving from a gatekeeping role to one of advocacy with transgender clients, we think that using these six themes as a framework can not only help counselors to reflect on their own professional knowledge, attitudes and skills but can also begin to look at how they are training the next generation of professionals. As counseling literature has called for self-awareness, advocacy, and resilience (e.g., Lee, 2007; Lev, 2004; Myers & Sweeney, 2005), the articles of this Special Issue begin to extend the literature by answering the call of various scholars and operationalizing the different ways in which such advocacy can happen in different professional contexts, in counselors’ many different professional roles, and overall differing ways in which themes played out in different ways. We believe that part of counselors’ roles as advocates on behalf of and with transgender clients is to keep extending the bodies of knowledge that help researchers, practitioners, teachers, supervisors, and advocates to work with transgender clients from a non-pathological model. The six themes that we found also begin to construct a framework for critical methodologies for research and practice. These competencies used an underlying feminist theoretical framework to guide their development and implementation for all the authors of this Special Issue. We believe that an important theoretical framework is necessary when beginning to construct competencies for the counseling profession; however, the theoretical underpinning calls for empirical validation of the competencies, as well as for the development of theoretically based interventions. Using these competencies, we see interventions based in the competencies using a feminist theoretical framework as a critical next step in the development of transgender-positive mental health services. Further, validating the use of these competencies by measuring positive counseling outcomes is a needed area of future research in which we hope many transgender-positive professionals working with transgender clients will engage. It is also important to note that the themes we have identified often intersected with one another across the Special Issue articles; therefore, we urge individuals to conceptualize future training, practice, advocacy, and research utilizing how these themes might be woven together and inform one another. For example, counseling supervisors may call upon trainees to engage in self-awareness about their own resilience to understand resilience factors that may operate in the lives of their transgender clients or resources

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

248

A. A. Singh and T. R. Burnes

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

that transgender clients utilize in order to cope with oppressive environments and situations (Singh et al., 2010). Further, counseling researchers may begin to investigate the ways in which practicing counselors can consult with one another about ways in which social justice advocacy with and for transgender clients can be more fully integrated into their practice. In both of these examples—and many others—we hope readers of this Special Issue will dare to dream and envision how the combined thematic application of the authors’ works may encourage counselors to shift into advocacy roles when working with transgender clients and communities. These six Special Issue themes also have strong implications for the variety of ecological contexts that affect transgender clients and their various communities. We hope that such competencies will begin to affect how policy makers and federal, state, and local legislators begin to create legislation (coverage for body modification and other medical interventions by health insurance in macrolevel health care policies; transgender-inclusive statements and spaces in state and community-owned parks, museums, buildings, and federally funded initiatives) that may improve transgender people’s lives.

What was “Missing” in this Special Issue
One of the challenges of editing a Special Issue is that the final product is a reflection of authors who received and responded to the call for proposals and then underwent a rigorous review process. As a result, we have a collection of stellar articles encouraging the counseling field to take a proactive approach to transgender counseling competency. However, we as editors realize there are significant topics and foci critical to developing competency in this area that are “missing.” For instance, many of the authors in the Special Issue addressed issues of privilege, yet this is an area that requires more in-depth focus in the counseling field. Issues of privilege—whether White privilege, cisgender (a term referring to those people whose sex assigned at birth is aligned with their gender identity and/or expression) privilege, class privilege, or others—have a major influence on transgender well-being. Transgender people who have more identities that are accompanied by privilege are likely to have more access to services such as health care and legal resources than those who have multiple historically marginalized identities. Issues of privilege also affect the counseling relationship, and although the themes of integrating a feminist approach to transgender counseling and a social justice and human rights perspective skim the surface of issues of privilege, the counseling field would benefit from conceptual and empirical work exploring constructs of privilege further. In addition, there is a need for an in-depth exploration of the ethical and legal issues that arise in the various counselor roles with transgender clients and concerns. Our ethical mandates include nonmaleficence or “do no harm”

Shifting from Gatekeeping

249

and fidelity—our duty to develop trust and responsibility as the counselor in the counseling relationship. The counseling field is in need of further counseling scholarship investigating how counselors use of the Competencies for Counseling Transgender Clients (ACA, 2009) is related to the use of the ACA Ethics Code (2005), especially noting areas of opportunity and challenge when using ethical standards and competencies together. Other ethical standards, such as confidentiality and managing dual relationships, are also significant to explore further as they relate to issues of transgender youth and counselors working with transgender people in environments where the queer and transgender communities are small and/or where there are few counseling resources accessible for transgender clients. An additional “missing” focus is one on the use of assessments with transgender people. Because there has been very little attention to the use of mental health measures with transgender people, the counseling field is not only lacking this body of scholarship—but also using assessments that have not been normed with transgender people. Future research might further explore how supervision and training standards within the Appraisal domain might best be operationalized. Also, if we are to assert the importance of training competencies for counselors, it is important to have several measures that can assess counselor competence within the domains outlined in the Competencies for Counseling Transgender Clients (ACA, 2009). Finally, because assessments such as personality and intelligence measures are often used with transgender youth and adults to rule out barriers to clients who want to medically and/or socially transition in their lives, the use of these assessments within a feminist and social justice context should be further explored. In this Special Issue, Wallinsky and Whitcomb generated an exploratory qualitative study of the lives of transgender people living in rural environments. We believe the use of qualitative methods will increase the counseling field’s understanding of transgender people who hold multiple marginalized statuses. In addition, the research with transgender people has steadily increased within the counseling and psychological field over the past decade; therefore, it is important to ensure the focus of research continues to explore the adequacy of counseling supervision and training in working with transgender clients especially as this work relates to the use of counselor advocacy in removing barriers to transgender well-being. There is also a need for further examination of the resilience and coping resources of transgender youth and adults using qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. Finally, it is true that one of the very initial steps in developing competency with transgender clients is to clearly understand the differences and overlaps between sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Beyond this learning, there is a need for the counseling field to further explore how issues of sexuality, sex, sexual desire, and other sexual practices

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

250

A. A. Singh and T. R. Burnes

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

influence transgender well-being. Especially as transgender people decide to make medical and/or social transitions in their lives, there may be significant influences on their attractions to others, approach to dating, and other areas of their sexuality. Seeking to understand how counselors work with transgender clients in this regard is also critical when one considers that the rates of HIV/AIDS within the transgender people of color communities can be as high as 1 in 4 as compared to 1 in 250 in the average U.S. population (Herbst et al., 2008). This increased rates of HIV/AIDS acquirement are often related to transgender people sharing needles for hormones that they may not be able to access through traditional health care avenues and/or unsafe sex practices due to sex work as a result of employment discrimination and job loss (Nemoto, Operario, Keatley, & Villegas, 2004). So counselors may play a critical and sex-positive role in the counseling relationship in discussing issues of sexuality and sex, including the use of safer sex protections and how transgender persons’ sexuality may remain the same and/or shift over time.

TEN DIRECTIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF TRANSGENDER COUNSELING COMPETENCY
Below, we describe 10 next directions for the counseling field based on our experiences editing this Special Issue: 1. Use of the transgender competencies in Introduction to Counseling classes: Counseling trainees are often exposed to the ACA Multicultural (Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992) and the ACA Ethics Code (2005) in their very first counseling course. Because introductory courses in counseling “set the tone” for future counseling trainee development, we suggest that counselor educators introduce the transgender counseling competencies early in counselor education. 2. Increased distribution of competencies through in-service trainings and presentations: As outreach has been documented to be a cornerstone of social justice work in counseling (Burnes & Manese, 2008), an increase of in-service presentations to providers working in community agencies, after school programs, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT)-focused community centers, religious organizations, and federal agencies is indeed necessary. Such outreach presentations can not only present the competencies, but also engage participants in ways to apply the competencies in their work with clients. 3. Empowering transgender clients to hold their providers accountable: Scholars (e.g., Israel, Gorcheva, Burnes, & Walther, 2008) have documented how lack of understanding about gender identity and/or general

Shifting from Gatekeeping

251

4.

5.

6.

7.

incompetence when working with transgender clients can have a lasting impact on transgender people. We hope that these competencies will not only be distributed to clinicians but also disseminated with proper introductions and interpretations to prospective clients. With such distributed, we hope that clients can begin to hold their counselors accountable for incompetent and damaging mental health services. Advocating for increased healthcare access for transgender people: Because research with transgender people has demonstrated the importance of having access to transgender-positive health care and because counselors have knowledge of the detrimental influence on transgender well-being when health care is a restricted service, an important counselor role is health care advocacy. Whether on the local organization level (e.g., university counseling center and university health center policy) or on the national level (e.g., coverage for hormonal and surgical interventions), counselors may use their training, knowledge, and experiences with transgender people in counseling to advocate for improved health care access. Acknowledging youth perspectives (infuse questioning of gender with developmental perspectives). These competencies were exclusively focused on working with adults, and this Special Issue helped to illuminate the ways in which they could be applied to work with transgender youth. We encourage developmental theorists and researchers, current and classic, may begin to examine their own positionalities within the gender binary to create theories, research, and practice guidelines for working with youth that are inclusive of transgender children, adolescents, and young adults (Singh & Burnes, 2009). Embrace genderqueer-ness and resisting gender dichotomies: The competencies highlight the need for counselors to embrace the wide continuum of gender presentation, fluidity, and expression. We hope that counselors will begin to see the overall need for advocacy with and on the part of transgender communities that actively do not fit within gender dichotomous systems. Specifically, having qualitative and multimethod scholarship that helps to build theoretical frameworks that can help counselors to work with genderqueer communities is a vital area of advancement needed for the counseling profession. Challenging ahistoricism and embracing the “T-story”: Many discussions about transgender people are grounded in ahistorical perspectives where transgender individuals are viewed as a relatively “new” group and from a pathological lens. Therefore, counselors have a responsibility to correct this ahistoricism, providing resources to transgender and cisgender people alike about the longstanding cultural traditions, history, and values that have existed in various paradigms, generations, geographic locations, and zeitgeists related to transgender individuals and communities. In doing so, it is important to provide knowledge that is

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

252

A. A. Singh and T. R. Burnes

neither romanticized nor pathological. Rather, this knowledge should be grounded in the truth that transgender people have existed in many cultures for a long period of time, and there have been a variety of societal responses to their existence. 8. Developing transgender practices and policies that are evolving: Counseling scholarship has articulated the need for counselors to recognize that language used by transgender individuals and communities continues to evolve (Carroll, Gilroy, & Ryan, 2002; Pepper & Lorah, 2008). The authors of the Competencies for Counseling Transgender Clients (ACA, 2009) also assert the importance that this document strives to be an evolving one, incorporating feedback and new information as they emerge. Therefore, when counselors engage in developing counseling practices and policies that are intended to be transgender affirmative, it is also critical to develop processes where these practices and policies may be reassessed and revised as needed based on feedback from transgender individuals, communities, and allies so that they retain their goals of being relevant and effective for transgender people. 9. Nourishment and self-care for transgender activists and advocates: Counselors may often feel “tapped” in terms of their ability to engage in traditional forms of advocacy (e.g., lobbying), despite their valuing of this role and/or unique position to be able to do so. In these instances, we encourage counselors to consider ways they may provide support to those who do engage in transgender activism and advocacy. From providing self-care materials and workshops (e.g., stress management, resiliencefocused) to those who participate in advocacy to assisting transgender activists and advocates in compiling counseling research and implications that may strengthen their activist and advocate activities, counselors may play critical roles in supporting more effective and informed social change efforts in nontraditional ways. 10. Centralize the “T” in LGBTQ movements. As traditional literature on LGB counseling practice, research, training, and advocacy has often called for transgender research but may not have fully integrated issues relating to transgender mental health into their work. We hope that these competencies and the authors of this special issues will empower professionals to centralize transgender clients in LGBT-related movements by intentionally focusing on transgender presence (or lack thereof) in LGBT scholarship, communities, and work.

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

CONCLUSION
The above analysis provides an illumination of themes found throughout the Special Issue in the competencies for counseling transgender clients and in the authors’ application of these competencies in various contexts.

Shifting from Gatekeeping

253

These themes highlight the importance of reflecting on not only how individuals have begun to highlight the competencies but also a part of the baseline to begin a shift from creating a culture of gatekeeping when working with transgender clients to one of advocacy. We believe that the list of “next steps” will continue this shift and help to the counseling field to integrate transgender-affirmative training for counseling trainees and “retraining” for professional counselors and counselor educators. Although such a shift may continue to take time, we hope that future counselors, researchers, scholars, and activists will continue to find new and interesting ways to challenge themselves, us, and the next generation of professionals toward advocacy.

REFERENCES
Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

American Counseling Association. (2005). Code of ethics. Retrieved from http:// www.counseling.org/Resources/CodeOfEthics/TP/Home/CT2.aspx. American Counseling Association. (2009). Competencies for counseling with transgender clients. Alexandria, VA: Author. Brooks-Harris, J. L. (2005). Integrative multitheoretical psychotherapy. New York, NY: Houghton-Mifflin. Burnes, T. R., & Manese, J. E. (2008). Social justice in an accredited Internship in professional psychology: Answering the call. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2(3), 176–181. Carroll, L., Gilroy, P. J., & Ryan, J. (2002). Counseling transgendered, transsexual, and gender-variant clients. Journal of Counseling and Development, 80(2), 131–147. Chavez-Korell, S., & Johnson, L. T. (2010). Informing counselor training and competent counseling services through transgender narratives and the transgender community. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 4, 202–213. Chung, Y. B., & Singh, A. A. (2009). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Asian Americans. In N. Tewari & A. N. Alvarez (Eds.), Asian American psychology: Current perspectives (pp. 233–246). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis. Cole, E. (2009). Intersectionality and research in psychology. American Psychologist, 64(3), 170–180. Dougherty, A. M. (2000). Psychological consultation and collaboration in school and community settings (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Brooks/Cole. Falender, C. A., & Shafranske, E. P. (2004). Clinical supervision: A competency-based approach. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Gonzalez, M., & McNulty, J. (2010). Achieving competency with transgender youth: School counselors as collaborative advocates. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 4, 176–186. Herbst, J. H., Jacobs, E. D., Finlayson, T. J., McKleroy, V. S., Neumann, M. S., & Crepaz, N. (2008). Estimating HIV prevalence and risk behaviors of transgender persons in the United States: A systematic review. AIDS and Behavior, 12(1), 1–17. Israel, T., Gorcheva, R., Burnes, T. R., & Walther, W. A. (2008). Helpful and unhelpful experiences of LGBT clients. Psychotherapy Research, 18(3), 294–305.

254

A. A. Singh and T. R. Burnes

Korell, S. C., & Lorah, P. (2007). An overview of affirmative psychotherapy and counseling with transgender clients. In K. J. Bieschke, R. M. Perez, & K. A. DeBord (Eds.), Handbook of counseling and psychotherapy with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender clients (pp. 271–288). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Lee, C. (2007). Counseling for social justice (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association. Lennon, E., & Mistler, B. J. (2010). Breaking the binary: Providing effective counseling to transgender students in college and university settings. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 4, 228–240. Lev, A. I. (2004). Transgender emergence: Therapeutic guidelines for working with gendervariant people and their families. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Clinical Practice Press. Lewis, J. A., Arnold, M. S., House, R., & Toporek, R. L (2003). Advocacy competencies. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/Publications/ Meyer, W., Bockting, W., Cohen-Kettenis, P., Coleman, E., Diceglie, D., Devor, H., . . . Wheeler, C. C. (2001, January-March). Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association’s standards of care for gender identity disorders (6th version). International Journal of Transgenderism, 5(1). Retrieved from http://www.wpath.org/publications standards.cfm Mizock, L., & Lewis, T. K. (2008). Trauma in transgender populations: Risk, resilience, and clinical care. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 8(3), 335–354. Myers, J. E., & Sweeney, T. J. (2005). Counseling for wellness: Theory, research, and practice. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association. Nemoto, T., Operario, D., Keatley, J., & Villegas, D. (2004). Social context of HIV risk behaviours among male-to-female transgenders of colour. AIDS Care, 16(6), 724–735. Patton, J., & Reicherzer, S. (2010). Inviting “Kate’s” authenticity: Relational cultural theory applied in work with a transsexual sex-worker of color using the Competencies for Counseling with Transgender Clients. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 4, 214–227. Pepper, S. M., & Lorah, P. (2008). Career issues and workplace considerations for the transsexual community: Bridging a gap of knowledge for career counselors and mental health care providers. Career Development Quarterly, 56(4), 330–343. Sangganjanavanich, V. F., & Cavazos, J. (2010). Workplace aggression: Toward social justice and advocacy in counseling for transgender individuals. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 4, 187–201. Singh, A. A., Boyd, C. J., & Whitman, J. S. (2010). Counseling competency with transgender and intersex individuals. In J. Cornish, L. Nadkarni, B. Schrier, & E. Rodolfa (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural competencies (pp. 415–442). New York, NY: Wiley & Sons. Singh, A. A., & Burnes, T. R. (2009). Creating developmentally-appropriate, safe counseling environments for transgender youth: The critical role of school counselors. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 3(3/4), 215–234. Singh, A. A., Hays, Y. B., & Watson, L. (in press). Strategies in the face of adversity: Resilience strategies of transgender individuals. Journal of Counseling and Development.

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

Shifting from Gatekeeping

255

Singh, A. A., & McKleroy, V. S. (2010). “Just getting out of bed is a revolutionary act”: The resilience of transgender people of color who have survived traumatic life events. International Journal of Traumatology. doi: 10.1177/1534765610369261 Sue, D. W., Arredondo, P., & McDavis, R. J. (1992). Multicultural counseling competencies and standards: A call to the profession. Journal of Counseling & Development, 70, 477–486. Walinsky, D., & Whitcomb, D. H. (2010). Using ACA Competencies for Counseling with Transgender Clients to increase rural transgender well-being. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 4, 160–175. Worell, J., & Remer, P. (2003). Feminist perspectives in therapy: Empowering diverse women. New York, NY: Wiley.

Downloaded By: [Burnes, Theodore R.] At: 22:30 13 December 2010

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful