Gender Identity Therapy

For a long time, you’ve tried to ignore your imposter feelings. To see yourself as normal and to fit in with conventional standards. But you’re starting to understand that you don’t just have a different style or a different outlook, you’re a different person.

You know that society is becoming more and more tolerant, but you’re still afraid to think about what questioning your gender might mean for the way you experience your life. You’re ready to explore your discomfort with someone who truly understands gender identity.

You never quite understood the reason you didn’t fit in. You’d been told all your life that people came in different shapes, sizes, and colors and that none was better than the other. So, it felt like you were just waiting for the pieces of your identity to fall into place. It seemed that if you just gave it enough time you’d start to figure out who you were and where you belonged.  

But, now that you’re recognizing your insecurity isn’t just temporary, your world is starting to shift. Everything you trusted about yourself and your truth has changed. You’ve lost your sense of self-assuredness and you’re beginning to question if the way you were born doesn’t exactly match up to who you truly are.

You’re tired of pretending and denying who you are. You’ve tried ignoring your gender dysphoria and going through the motions of an inauthentic life.

But you just can’t ignore your unhappiness anymore

A lot of the time you feel isolated and alone. There are not a lot of people in your community who even understand what gender identity is, let alone what it means to question the one you were assigned. Now it seems like the closer you come to embracing your true self, the further you get from everyone you care about.

You truly want to live a congruent life. To feel like you have stepped fully into your truth and that you own who you are. But you have no idea how to do this and to have the people you love understand.

When You Seek Help with Gender Identity from Dr. Carol O’Saben

  • You will come to terms with your gender dysphoria/identity and start to feel more comfortable in your own skin
  • You will no longer feel the need to pretend or deny your identity
  • You will start to build authentic connections with others where you can fully show up as you are
  • You will be able to identify negative and painful events in your past and come to terms with them, so you can move forward and establish new patterns and ways of being
  • You will feel safe to express yourself in ways that feel comfortable and you can identify with any name or pronoun you choose  
  • You will find the support you need to come out to others and value your own self-identity
  • You will feel seen, heard, and accepted for who you are

The Gender Identity Counseling Process

Gender Identity Therapy is intended to help you get to know yourself, so you can determine exactly what it is you want from your interactions with others.

Together, you and I will use the therapeutic relationship to dive beneath the surface of your life and work to clarify what is happening on an internal level to cause your unhappiness. You will work to understand the ways your past habits are impacting your present relationships and how to break out of unhelpful patterns.  

The first step is a free 30-minute consult to make sure we are a good fit for working together.  If either of us has reason to believe we would not work well together, I will work with you to identify some therapists who might be a better fit.  If we do decide to work together, we will schedule a 90-minute initial assessment and 50-minute weekly or bi-weekly teletherapy sessions.

Before that first session, you will be invited to create a personal online portal where you will have access to all of your clinical forms as well as the ability to set up payment information. You will need to complete these forms and submit them before you begin therapy.

Sessions are held online using Zoom/SecureVideo software and you will need reliable internet to participate. Typically, counseling continues for several weeks or months, but the duration of your time in therapy will depend on the complexity of your concerns.

If you would like to receive letters of support for Hormone Replacement Therapy or Gender Confirming Surgery, you and I can explore what would need to happen in therapy in order to write those letters so you can move forward with your process.

Here’s what to expect:

I encourage all new potential clients to schedule a brief consult with me to determine if we are a fit to work together therapeutically. This free consultation also helps you determine if you have the necessary technology set up to participate in online therapy sessions.
During this initial 90-minute session, you and I will meet to define the counseling relationship and discuss the details of informed consent. I will then gather information about your biological, psychological, and social history and how this is impacting your current situation. We will also discuss the benefits and limitations of online therapy and work toward defining your treatment goals.
Together, in each subsequent session, you and I will work to understand your current struggles and the experiences of your past that contribute to their development and maintenance.  We will use evidence-based techniques to help you make effective and lasting changes in how you understand yourself, your relationships and your community. As a result, you will begin to experience greater self-esteem, more effective use of coping strategies, feel like who you are on the inside matches the outside, and a clearer sense of direction for your coming out process.

Each session is designed to maximize the therapeutic relationship and ensure the most healing possible. Together, you and I will connect in a comforting, virtual space with the goal of helping you reflect on the person you are and the person you want to be.

In your final sessions, we will review your goals to ensure you are satisfied with your counseling experience and that the work we have done together has met your expectations. We will also outline a plan going forward so that you are able to retain what we have worked on together and implement all you have learned outside of session.

More About Dr. Carol O’Saben

As a Licensed Psychologist with over 30 years of experience, and over 10 years working clinically with transgender individuals, I have seen how living a closeted life contributes to self-judgment and self-doubt. As a down-to-earth, honest, and compassionate therapist, my job is to help you understand how trying to fit in or ignore your gender identity questions negatively impacts your life. Therapy with me is about diving deep and taking ownership of the role you play in your life, so you can identify opportunities for long-lasting change. I wholeheartedly believe that lasting change comes from insight and knowing yourself. You just need the guidance and expertise of a professional to help you create positive experiences for yourself.

I am a lesbian-identified therapist and I make it my mission to help those in the LGBTQ community come to a deeper understanding of themselves, so they can feel comfortable owning their identity. I am dedicated to establishing a real, supportive relationship with you through your process of self-discovery, and to helping you know your value and worth. It is my passion to work with you as you create the life you deserve.
Learn More About Me

Who Benefits Most from Gender Identity Counseling

Therapy for individuals who are transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary and/or gender-questioning is best for those 18 and older and who notice the same unhelpful and unhealthy patterns playing out in their lives. Counseling helps you tune in to who you truly are and embrace yourself fully, so you can live a more integrated and fulfilled life.

You will benefit from Gender Identity Counseling if:

  • You find yourself denying the fact that you experience gender differently than the one you were assigned at birth
  • You have identified as trans for a long time but have only recently considered altering your looks/body
  • You lack people in your life who understand or honor your name, pronoun, or identity
  • You complain about the same circumstances in your life, but you don’t know how to make them better
  • Your gender dysphoria prevents you from connecting with others and building the types of relationships you want in your life

There are certain situations where you might not be ready for counseling sessions with me. These situations include, but are not limited to:

  • Difficulty self-reflecting and taking ownership of your experiences
  • A desire for a solutions-based approach that does not explore your past or your experiences
  • A lack of awareness of your role in your relationships with others

If you are currently experiencing any of these issues, I can provide you with appropriate referrals for your level of care.

What Does Gender Identity Therapy Cost?

Online Counseling is a fee for service program and clients can easily pay for services through their personalized online portal.

Intake sessions cost $250 and weekly therapy sessions are $150 thereafter.  

I accept United, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Aetna insurance.  For your convenience, I will check your insurance company’s mental health benefits on your behalf prior to our intake appointment, but I encourage you to do the same. You can use the “Verification of Benefits” form on the “Fees and Insurance” page of my website as a helpful guide for talking to your insurance carrier.  Copays, deductibles or any out of pocket costs are due at the time of service.

When and Where Can I Schedule a Counseling Session?

All therapy sessions are held online via teletherapy software. I offer online counseling sessions for those living in Flagstaff and all residents of Arizona.

Counseling Services are offered Monday through Saturday with appointment availability ranging from 10 AM – 7 PM with additional appointments available upon request.

Your Next Steps

 

You absolutely can move toward a future where you feel completely aligned with who you are. Whether that means changing your looks, having surgery, or keeping your appearance the same, you will be able to fully embrace who you are in every aspect. You will also learn to choose the right people to bring into your life as you work through this transition.

Making a drastic change is scary, no matter how right it feels. But you don’t have to let fear or other people’s feelings keep you from achieving happiness. You just need the right type of support as you change your life for the better.

You will become more comfortable in your own skin. And you’ll also stop caring so much about what other people think. At last, you’ll feel valued for your gender expression, wherever it is on the spectrum. I can help.

Call 928.248.8005 or email Dr. O’Saben at carol@drosaben.com to schedule your Gender Identity Counseling session today