For the third time, we were afforded another excellent live seminar by Dr Ruth Birkebaek…
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This CPD addressing a broad range of transgender issues (LGBTQI+) was a really interesting, stimulating and challenging few hours with an absolute expert in her field. Amanda encouraged delegates from the outset to challenge any preconceived ideas and provided a safe permissive place to explore the subject even when unsure of exactly what language to use. This allowed for a very open and freeing learning experience.
LGBTQI+ issues that were explored included the differences between sex, gender and sexual orientation, the societal norms and assumptions we grow up with and areas to think about when working alongside people who are gender questioning.
It was particularly useful to acknowledge the geographically non-diverse and predominantly privileged, white demographic many delegates worked with and to challenge theoretical and systematic ways we each have of approaching new referrals and existing clients in our practices.
Consideration of the type of language used around people gender questioning was illuminating especially the exercise Amanda set that turned around the questions the LGBTQI+ community frequently get asked so delegates got to experience for themselves the baffling intrusion and indignation that these questions evoke.
It was really useful to explore the valuable and less valuable aspects of seeing gender on a continuum, as a set of categories or labels and as a collection of strands of multiplicity all occurring at the same time. The issue of pathologising sex, gender and sexual orientation reminded us all as therapists to be cautious about forgetting the position of power we have in the therapeutic relationship and how when we don’t examine this it sets up a damaging dynamic of othering. We are products of our training organisations, a medicalised society, our families and the culture we live in and challenging our inherent assumptions was an important part of the day.
Amanda was generous with her resources too and reminded delegates to do the research, we live in a fluid and quickly changing cultural environment and we have a duty of care to all our clients to meet them as people and where people are marginalised this is even more important. An excellent, thought provoking, assumption-challenging, practice-changing, inspiring day.
Here is some reading on: Working Systemically with Trans, non-binary and gender expansive people. Amanda Middletown’s article on trans sexualities is at the back https://content.yudu.com/web/fiqy/0A42f0k/contextissue155/html/index.html?origin=reader
Average feedback scores from our event:
Organisation of event: 4.6 out of 5
Speaker: 4.8 out of 5
Feedback from our event:
“This was a very insightful and well informed CPD session. I have learnt a lot, have been able to consolidate my previous knowledge and awareness and will now feel more confident when supporting those who are transitioning or questioning their gender and identity. Thank you.” – Emma Dickson
“Excellent,very informative. I feel more confident counselling transgender people.” – Vinata
“Really useful day’s training but know there’s more to do now. Thank you.”
“Very helpful having a space to share and reflect. Amanda – your presentation was so inclusive and informative. Love your passion to educate in this field, your transparency with identity and your self disclosure also very helpful in modelling language”