2016 Transgender Mental Health Symposium: Trans+Sexuality

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November 4 & 5, 2016

Professional Children’s School
132 West 60th Street, New York, NY 10023

The Psychotherapy Center for Gender and Sexuality (a division of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy) is proud to announce its 5th Bi-annual conference Trans+Sexuality. This clinical conference which will explore the intersections of trans, sex, sexuality, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.

Every two years, mental health clinicians from around the world present on topics related to how the trans experience has informed, complicated, and illuminated their work in individual, group, and family clinical practice.

We hope that you will to join us for the beautiful autumn in New York City for a day and a half of conversation and learning.

To be notified up updates and registration, please join our mailing list by clicking here.

 

With keynote speaker Kate Bornstein!

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Kate Bornstein is an author, performance artist and public speaker who has written several award-winning books in the field of Women and Gender Studies, including “Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and The Rest of Us,” and “My New Gender Workbook.” Her 2006 book, “Hello, Cruel World,” propelled Kate into an international position of advocacy for marginalized and at-risk youth. The title of her memoir sums up her life: “A Queer and Pleasant Danger: the true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology and leaves twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today.” Kate lives in New York City with her girlfriend, author and sex educator Barbara Carrellas, along with their cat, two dogs, and a turtle.

Friday night fundraiser for Camp Aranu’tiq featuring music from Silverton

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Friday evening will feature food, drinks, and a fundraiser for Camp Aranu’tiq in the form of live music by the band Silverton (pictured above). Camp Aranu’tiq is a not-for-profit founded in 2009 that provides camps for trans and gender non-conforming youth, with programs for families. Camp Aranu’tiq seeks to build confidence, resilience, community, all while offering a place where campers can be their authentic selves.

All of our presentations and bios for our presenters are listed below. Please click the + next the title of each proposal to view the full information.

Exploring the complexities of treating trans and gender nonconforming patients and their use of disordered eating to manage body dissatisfaction by Andrew Zarate RD & Asher Pandjiris, LMSW

Exploring the complexities of treating trans and gender nonconforming patients and their use of disordered eating to manage body dissatisfaction by Andrew Zarate RD & Asher Pandjiris, LMSW

Asher and Andrew will address the complexity of treating patients who employ disordered eating (restriction of caloric intake, bingeing/purging, over-exercise, orthorexia) as a means of managing body dissatisfaction in the context of gender nonconformity. While often effective in achieving desired results (i.e.: a FTM trans person using starvation as a means to de-feminize their body), we as clinicians are concerned about the lack of public discourse on the commonality of these strategies in the trans community. It is our hope that, in the course of this presentation that will combine case examples and nutritional and clinical treatment strategies and complications, we can expand the public conversation about eating disorders beyond the stereotype of “cis-girls influenced by the media who starve themselves to be thin.” We have partnered with T-FFED, a collective of trans/gender diverse folx and allies who believe eating disorders in marginalized communities are social justice issues and will draw on their current research on this important topic. Our presentation, in line with the goals of T-Feed, is an attempt to raise attention about the existence of an underground public health crisis in the trans community. As practicing clinicians we hope to offer a perspective on the clinical challenges of working with this important mental and public health issue.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Andrew Zarate, RD, is a registered dietitian. In addition to facilitating nutrition groups and meal support groups, he also works with clients individually. Andrew earned his Bachelors of Science in nutrition and dietetics from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA and completed his internship at Hunter College School of Public Health. His specialties include working with weight management, public health nutrition, HIV/AIDS, and eating disorders.

Asher Pandjiris, LMSW, MA holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Smith College School of Social Work and a MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Asher maintains a private practice in Manhattan, where she specializes in eating disorders, trauma and its impact on the body, depression, anxiety, self-injurious behaviors, body image struggles and work with the GLBTQcommunity. She also runs a weekly psychotherapy group entitled “Living in this Queer Body: Gender, Body Image, Food, Sexuality.”  Asher’spractice is psychodynamically informed and inspired by a belief that Relationally driven, attachment-based therapeutic work can provide emancipatory possibilities for ourselves and our communities. She has published on intergenerational trauma transmission and somatic symptoms such as eating disorders. Asher is currently pursing post graduate training at the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies.

Case Examples of How Sexuality Shifts During Gender Transition by Kelly Wise, PhD, LCSW

Case Examples of How Sexuality Shifts During Gender Transition by Kelly Wise, PhD, LCSW

When individuals undergo gender transition, their experience of sexuality changes, I plan to present 3 sex therapy cases: one case which illustrates the changes with the body, another with changes in sense of self, and another with how their partner sees them as a gendered being.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Dr. Kelly Wise is a Psychotherapist and an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and Supervisor of Sex Therapy. Kelly is the founder and director of the Wiser Sex Therapy Associates, which has offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He holds a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from Widener University and a Master’s of Social Work from Smith College. Wiser Sex Therapy Associates work with individuals and couples healing from trauma, creating deeper intimacy, and exploring sexuality and gender using social justice and feminist ideologies. For more information please go to: www.wisersextherapy.com

The Transsexual Pervert on your Couch: Psychoanalysis and Sexual 'Deviations' by Tobias Wiggins, PhD candidate

The Transsexual Pervert on your Couch: Psychoanalysis and Sexual “Deviations” by Tobias Wiggins, PhD candidate

 Psychoanalytic theory and its clinical practice has a notorious history of pathologizing trans, queer, and gender variant people. Current shifts in the visibility of transgender people has triggered a demand for new forms of effective mental health care with trans clients and analysands. Some analysts, like Patricia Gherovichi, are arguing that “psychoanalysis needs a sex change” and a new field has begun to emerge, challenging the primacy of texts like Catherine Millot’s “Horsexe” which positioned the transsexual as essentially psychotic or perverse. My proposed paper will contribute to this nascent scholarship through an exploration of divergent psychoanalytic theories of “perversion,” including Lacan’s perverse structure, Freud’s polymorphous perversity, and perverse defence. I will explore the ways in which slippery meanings of “sex” – its multiplying acts, corporealities, or identifications – become even less intelligible in (some) trans people’s challenge to gender normativity. This lack of “knowability” lends itself to a creative ambivalence, both inside and outside of the clinic, as perversion becomes neither “all good” or “all bad.” Theories of sexual deviation will thus prove queerly productive in considering both transphobic clinical countertransference and trans people’s innovative jouissant sex acts. An analysis of the new diagnosis of “Gender Dysphoria” in the DSM-V will be counterposed with visual representations of trans sexuality. In particular, Skyler Braeden Fox’s new film Hello Titty (2015) and the “deviant” sexual enjoyment of a “pre-surgical” trans body will be examined.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Tobias Wiggins is a PhD candidate in Gender, Feminist, & Women’s Studies at York University in Toronto, Ontario. His areas of research include psychoanalysis, queer theory, sex acts, mental health, and visual art. He has been the recipient of several awards and scholarships including the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship. Wiggins is currently co-directing the inaugural 2017 Summer Institute for Sexuality Studies at York University on the topic of “Perversion at the Crossroads of Critical Race Studies, Psychoanalysis, and Queer Theory.” His upcoming writing will be published in the anthology “Slow Burn: Patients’ Perspectives on the Political in Psychodynamic Treatment.”

 

Trans male sexual anxieties in the gay male community and their clinical significance by Andrew Triska, LMSW

Trans male sexual anxieties in the gay male community and their clinical significance by Andrew Triska, LMSW

Transgender men and transmasculine individuals who identify as gay or bisexual and who seek romantic partners within the gay male community are an under examined population; the current literature on this population is primarily from a public health perspective and focused on sexual health and disease transmission rather than mental health. Of major clinical significance to those who do therapeutic work with transgender men are the feelings of safety, comfort, and agency that these clients feel when navigating the realm of sexuality. Because positive romantic interactions are an important aspect of feeling accepted by and connected with others, these interactions can have a profound impact on transgender men’s quality of life. In this paper, I propose to address the major sources of sexual anxiety that transmasculine people experience in the largely cisgender gay male community and to make therapeutic recommendations for clinicians who wish to provide support and validation to such clients. This paper will draw from the academic and professional literature on the subject, the large body of informal discussion on the subject available in queer-focused print and internet media, and on qualitative interviews with male-attracted transgender men. Topics addressed will include self-image, genital and chest dysphoria, stereotyping, disclosure of trans status, safety and fear of violence, internet and mobile app dating, trans inclusion in public queer spaces such as bars and clubs, and safe sex negotiation.

Presenter(s) Bio:
Andrew Triska, LMSW is a member of Coney Island Hospital’s Assertive Community Treatment team and the author of a forthcoming book with Taylor & Francis, Sexuality and Intellectual Disabilities: A Guide for Professionals. Andrew trains and consults on gender and sexuality and develops curricular materials for social work textbooks. His areas of specialization include queer and transgender mental health, sex offenses, and intellectual disabilities. He received his M.S.W. from Hunter College in 2013 and his B.A. from Williams College in 2011.

Integration of Desire, Sexual Orientation, and Female Embodiment in a Transgender Woman Previously Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Study by Karalyn Shimmyo LMSW

Integration of Desire, Sexual Orientation, and Female Embodiment in a Transgender Woman Previously Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Study by Karalyn Shimmyo LMSW

Our understanding of the nuanced relationship between cross-gender transition and subsequent changes in sexual orientation is limited; additionally, recent literature has explored the relationship between Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and gender identity development and seems to indicate a higher incidence of gender dysphoria among individuals diagnosed with ASD. This case study documents the treatment of a transgender woman who initially sought psychotherapy to support her in initiating cross-gender hormone therapy, coming out to family, friends and co-workers, and beginning her social transition. Claire S. had identified as asexual for most of her adult life, experiencing romantic and sexual attraction to female partners with very limited sexual arousal. During the course of treatment, Claire S. confronted shame associated with her physical embodiment, which expressed itself as dissociation during sex and in other life areas. The Dissociative Experiences Scale – II (Carlson & Putnam, 1993) was utilized to examine the nature and intensity of her dissociative symptoms.

During the course of treatment and transition, Claire disclosed her interest in forced feminization pornography in the form of erotic writing, and her initial introduction to transgender community at the age of thirteen through CD/TV (Cross Dresser/Transvestite) chat rooms. Claire began to understand her fears of being labeled autogynephilic as being a major barrier to treatment. As Claire S’s gender expression was brought into alignment with her female gender identity, her sexual orientation rapidly shifted from asexual to queer. This shift appeared to occur as a result of experiencing female embodiment during sexual fantasy as well as in daily social interactions with her partner and the larger world. Claire S’s symptoms began to be understood as defenses employed to manage the anxiety associated with persistent gender dysphoria, influenced by unstable early attachments, religious beliefs, and trauma related to both dysphoria and consistent misgendering from childhood through adulthood.

 Presenter(s) Bio:

Karalyn Shimmyo earned her MSW in 2009 at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. She is currently a candidate at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy’s (ICP) 3-year Psychotherapy Center for Gender & Sexuality (PCGS) Program, and works primarily with Trans and Queer-identified patients as a fee-for-service psychotherapist. Through ICP’s Surgical Assessment Program (SAP), she conducts assessments and writes letters of support for transgender individuals seeking gender-affirming surgeries. Karalyn is a psychotherapist at the Park Slope Center for Mental Health and a Faculty Advisor in the MSW program at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service.

Sex Therapy with Erotic Minorities: Ten Principles of Clinical Support by Damon Constantinides PhD LCSW, Davis Chandler LICSW & Shannon Sennott LICSW

Sex Therapy with Erotic Minorities: Ten Principles of Clinical Support by Damon Constantinides PhD LCSW, Davis Chandler LICSW & Shannon Sennott LICSW

This clinical workshop will focus on couples and relational sex therapy with people where one or more of the partners identifies as an erotic minority. Ten principles for affirmative therapeutic practice will be presented to aid clinicians in better meeting the needs of erotic minorities in the face of a sexuality and desire landscape that is rarely spoken about and for which there is little language in therapeutic contexts. There will be attention given to the intersections of both target and privileged identities in the therapeutic relationship.

In this clinical workshop “erotic minorities” will be defined as people who identify as LGB, queer, trans*, intersex, poly, kink/BDSM, person of size, or who have alternative relational sexual structures in general. The scope of therapeutic inquiry formerly only went as far as a sex therapist mediating and containing the process of an individual “coming out” to a partner as an erotic minority, and helping both partners move through the stages of change in their relationship. Over the last ten years there has been an expansion in the narrative for erotic minorities of sexual practices, intimacy, and desire.

Through an exploration, and expansion, of historical sex therapy models we will deepen our understanding of the needs of erotic minorities in sex therapy. For example, sex therapy models rooted in the binary gender system may not be able to properly affirm and support the subtleties of a more complex sexual identity discourse. We will then present a new approach to working with couples and alternative sexual relationships structures that is framed as a ten principle model for best practices in sex therapy with erotic minorities. These ten principles provide tools for work with clients who are not just negotiating changes in their relationship structure but are looking to deepen the intimacy of their sexual practices through creating language for the liminal unspoken awarenesses that lie between touch and how one feels desired by another when they are truly and authentically seen by a sexual partner. Case examples will be used throughout the workshop to explain and apply this new approach to sex therapy with erotic minorities.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Shannon Sennott, LICSW is an educator, gender justice activist, and a LGBTQAI family therapist who was clinically trained at the Smith School for Social Work and the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society in New York City. She currently resides and practices in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, however, she lived in New York City for over a decade and during that time founded the advocacy and education organization, TRANSLATE GENDER, Inc. Shannon has a broad range of expertise having completed clinical trainings in anxiety disorders, depressive and mood disorders, dual diagnosis, sexuality and gender identity concerns, grief and loss, and trauma.

Damon Constantinides, PhD, LCSW is a psychotherapist, trainer, and educator in Philadelphia, PA. He earned his Master in Social Work and PhD in Human Sexuality Education from Widener University. Damon is currently a therapist in private practice and at Relationship and Sex Therapy Associates providing individual, relationship, and sex therapy to adults and teenagers as well as supervision to other clinicians. Damon worked for eight years as an adolescent therapist at The Attic Youth Center, an LGBTQ center for youth, where he provided individual counseling and co-facilitated a support group for transgender teenagers. Damon approaches his clinical work from feminist, narrative, and relational perspectives. He is also an adjunct professor at Widener University where he teaches graduate level clinical sex therapy classes and at the Community College of Philadelphia where he teaches an undergraduate human sexuality class. Damon’s writing has been published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.

Davis Chandler, LICSW, graduated from Smith College School for Social Work in 2011. They relocated to the Pioneer Valley from San Francisco, CA. Davis currently works at Windhorse Integrative Mental Health in Northampton working with adults experiencing extreme states of mind and/or major life disruptions. Prior they worked as a family therapist with children and their families in a community mental health setting. They specialize in working with gender non-conforming, queer, and trans children, adolescents, and adults. They are the co-director of Translate Gender, Inc. and currently co-lead two therapy in Northampton, one for trans* and gender nonconforming young people and their families and the other for trans* and gender nonconforming adults and their partners. Davis also self-identifies as queer and gender nonconforming.

Growing Pains-­Finding Peace with Gender Fluidity and Emerging Sexuality by Sary Rottenberg, LMHC

Growing Pains-­Finding Peace with Gender Fluidity and Emerging Sexuality by Sary Rottenberg, LMHC

In this presentation I will speak to the importance of the therapist’s role as a mirroring agent for the patient. This mirroring is presented as curative with a non­typical gender dysphoria. The significance of the mirroring experience or the lack thereof between caretaker to infant is well discussed (Lacan, Winnicott to name a few). Yet the lack of mirroring of queer parts of patients in primary caregivers can be an important dimension in one’s experience of absence of self recognition and is not discussed much in the literature. For this genderqueer patient there is more than one aspect that is in need of mirroring, not only the need for her sexual orientation mirrored, but also her gender expression. Gender dysphoria was felt toward the more masculine internal experience, with this female assigned patient. The more feminine states the patient entered were experienced as normative, good and right . This is a deviation from the DSM’s classification of dysphoria saying it is only toward the assigned sex, and is a challenge to the classification. Dysphoria is the word that comes to mind when sitting with this patient, she experiences anguish when entering more masculine states. The patient used the therapy to work through rapid cycles of feminine and masculine states. She used the transference and projected onto the therapist what she knows/perceives the therapist’s sexual orientation/gender identity is. Dreams and fantasies were used to make meaning of the discomfort, fears, and alienation she felt with her gender expression, and experience

Presenter(s) Bio:

Licensed as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Sary Rottenberg is a bilingual therapist (Hebrew-English) with a background in music and the arts, who is in private practice in New York City.  Sary holds a certificate in clinical counseling for people who identify as LGBTQ from the Psychotherapy Center for Gender and Sexuality (PCGS) at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy (ICP), and is an analytic candidate at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP). She works dynamically and existentially, and focuses on the intersections of life, work, relationships and meaning making. Sary is most interested in working with people who have backgrounds involving trauma from high-demand societies such as cults and rigid religious groups, young adults and creative people, people who are gender-non-conforming (GNC), people who come from complex cultural backgrounds, those dealing with immigration and acculturation issues, and people of color.

Asexuality, Ace-Spectrum, and Healthy Alternatives to Sex and Romance by Katherine (Kit) Rachlin, PhD

Asexuality, Ace-Spectrum, and Healthy Alternatives to Sex and Romance by Katherine (Kit) Rachlin, PhD

The Assexual and Aromantic community has a growing voice with new language used to describe various sexual approaches that do not conform to the usual assumptions about love, sex, and desire. Through case studies and clinical discussion this presentation introduces the lived experience of Ace-spectrum people who may identify with a range of identity terms including Aromantic, Aro, Grey-Assexual, Ace and Ace-spectrum, Libidoist and Non-libidoist, and Lithoromantic, to name a few. Aasexual people challenge the belief that a healthy life must involve sex and romance and may need therapists to work within a new paradigm.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Dr. Katherine (Kit) Rachlin is a Clinical Psychologist, gender specialist, and sex therapist in private practice in New York City where she spends her days deep in conversation with people of all genders, sexualities, and lifestyles, their parents, partners, and chosen families. She is a member of the Board of Directors of The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and has served on the Board of FTM International. She is a coauthor of the WPATH Standards of Care, Version 7 and has published research on a range of topics including surgical decision making, experiences of psychotherapy, access to health care, autism spectrum and transgender experience, and diagnostic issues related to gender queer individuals.

Two cis White Middle-aged Sex-Positive Trans-sensitive Lesbians Talking about Trans* Sex: Clinical and Sexuality Education Perspectives by Julie Mencher, MSW and Jane Fleishman, PhD

Two cis White Middle-aged Sex-Positive Trans-sensitive Lesbians Talking about Trans* Sex: Clinical and Sexuality Education Perspectives by Julie Mencher, MSW and Jane Fleishman, PhD

As a clinician, do you find yourself scratching your head when dealing with issues of trans* sexuality that your clients do (or don’t) bring to therapy? Drawing on the presenters’ experience as a sexuality educator and a psychodynamic therapist, we hope to launch a spicy discussion by raising the nagging questions that pepper our work with trans* clients. For example: How do we address some trans* clients’ minimizing of their sexual needs? How can we help our clients to believe in and embrace the concept of a trans* body, as a foundation for healthy sexuality? What are the realities of dating for our trans* clients, and how can we support their quests for healthy romantic and sexual partnerships? How do we understand our clients’ sexual behaviors or attitudes in the context of transphobia or of internalized transphobia? What is our role in helping clients to make decisions about medical interventions that may significantly impact their sexual lives? How can we help our clients successfully negotiate sexuality issues with an ongoing partner during the process of transitioning? How do we parse sexual desire issues from physiological limitations? How do our own gendered sexualities affect our work with trans* clients around sexual issues? What can we learn from our trans* clients about the relationship between body, identity, sexuality, and pleasure? Beginning with presentations from both clinical and sexuality education perspectives, we will foster a climate of muddling through — asking risky questions, candid sharing of biases and confusion, and learning as work-in-progress.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Julie Mencher, MSW is a psychotherapist and gender diversity educator in private practice in Northampton MA. As former faculty at Smith College School for Social Work, the Stone Center at Wellesley College, and the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, Julie has offered clinical education on LGBT issues for over 20 years. Beginning with her work as the Transgender Specialist at Smith College over 15 years ago, she developed a consulting practice with schools, colleges, camps, and corporations around gender diversity issues. As part of her broad-based psychodynamic clinical practice, she assists clients across the gender spectrum, with a particular interest in parent guidance with families of trans* youth. Julie is a regular contributor to Huffington Post on gender diversity issues.

Jane Fleishman, PhD is a comprehensive sexuality educator and consultant with more than 30 years’ experience as a teacher, trainer, and program evaluator. She is interested in sexual human rights, LGBTQ sexuality, intersections of privilege and sexuality, and sexuality among aging populations. She just got back from conducting trainings in Iceland and Australia with her partner, Joan Tabachnick, on the continuum of sexuality from prevention of sexual violence to healthy sexual relationships. She just completed her doctoral research focused on the variables associated with sexual satisfaction in aging adults in same-sex relationships. In 2015, she received a Graduate Scholar Award from the Aging and Society Knowledge Community, and in 2016, she received the William R. Stayton Leadership Award from the Center for Human Sexuality Studies at Widener University. Jane is an advocate for justice and believes no issue is more central to human rights than sexual rights. www.janefleishman.com

Partners in Sex by Denise M. Maynard M.S, S.D.A

Partners in Sex by Denise M. Maynard M.S, S.D.A

How does a spouse or partner adjust, align and accept over time, the reality that their significant other will be transitioning physically, socially and/or legally? How does the transition affect the sex, gender and identity of those intimately involved in long term relationships over their lifespan together, as a couple? The changes of the transgender person impacts the path of their partner’s sexual life; as well as, their own. The way they will not only be viewed by others, but also how they will both move forward as one or not, on many levels can be uncertain for all involved. In reality, both individuals are in transition; however, they may be experiencing specific issues in very different ways. The sexual intimacies of couples who are in transition learn to negotiate and experiment personal desires with patience and open communication. In many instances, even pondering the type of sexual interactions or preferences both or one of the pair now has, needs to be addressed or at the very least explored in conversation. As one person’s gender is redefined, the other person is often faced with searching for their own truths regarding gender. Furthermore, one’s own labeling and/or self-identity becomes essential in understanding all aspects of the journey ahead or currently in the present. This presentation will discuss, the myriad of challenges, emotions and questions couples have encountered or are encountering when working through the transition process prior to and after at least one of them transitions.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Denise M. Maynard, M.S., S.D.A. has been an Early Childhood Educator for over 29 years in NY and the Founder/Director of Maynard’s W.I.S.D.O.M., Inc., an Educational Service for Teachers, Administrators, Parents and Caregivers. She is the Creator/Director of Summer P.L.A.Y. Her article, Introducing Gender Equality in the Early Childhood Classroom was presented at the 1st Global Conference on Femininity and Masculinity in May 2011 in Warsaw, Poland and published in 2013. Her article, The Magic of a Creative and Engaging Classroom, was presented 2012 at Mansfield College, Oxford University and was published in 2014. In February of 2014, she presented one workshop on the concerns of SOFFAs, in addition, another on Education, which focused on Gender Equality in the Classroom, at WPATH in Bangkok, Thailand. Also in 2014, she was part of PCGS’s Conference InTranslation plenary panel, which focused on a young student’s social transition at school. Lastly, Ms. Maynard presented at the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference in 2012-2015, Baltimore’s Gender Conference East November of 2015 and Trans* Temporality in Toronto April 2016.

Trans* Therapists and Trans Transference: Impacts of being seen and seeing others on trans* therapists sense of self by Samuel Lurie, MSW, MEd

Trans* Therapists and Trans Transference: Impacts of being seen and seeing others on trans* therapists sense of self by Samuel Lurie, MSW, MEd

The experience of being out, seen, known, or knowing always has an impact on clinicians. For Trans* identified therapists, how does being seen as trans, or seeing clients as trans, impact the therapeutic relationship and the therapist’s own sense of self? This workshop will explore the particular dynamic of trans-identified therapists and their own sense of competence, desirability and ability to deepen and be present with either trans or cisgender clients. Drawing from the presenter’s MSW thesis, which consisted of four focus groups with 19 trans*identified clinicians, this discussion will first share findings from the study specifically addressing how “trans transference” impacted participants in both trans-trans and trans-cisgender dyads. In some cases, therapists felt a painful countertransference as they saw clients in early stages of exploration or facing direct oppression. In cases where they either disclosed or were known to be trans, they found that their vulnerability could deepen relationships and lead to breakthroughs, or that it could lead to rupture and result in shame or fear.

The discussion will then open up for participants to share their questions and experiences as trans* identified clinicians. In keeping with the conference theme on trans*sexuality, we will include discussion on erotic transference/counter transference; impacts on sense of self that are raised and embodied through clinical work as trans professionals; and the impacts of trans identity or experience being sexualized or fetishized.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Samuel Lurie, MSW, MEd, is a longtime activist in transgender health and a psychotherapist in community mental health and private practice in Vermont. He is a graduate of Smith College School for Social Work, a member of the World Professional Association on Transgender Health (WPATH), and sits on the community advisory board for the national Center of Excellence for Transgender Health at UCSF. He wrote his MSW thesis on issues of disclosure for trans*-identified therapists, full-text available at: http://bit.ly/1QzjDGa

Accommodating for Bodies by SJ Langer, LCSW-R

Accommodating for Bodies by SJ Langer, LCSW-R

How do we have sex with a body that does not function in the way we internally see ourselves? How can we position our bodies when parts are in the way or not there? This presentation will discuss the intersections between Trans* studies and Disability Studies and what we can learn from each other to accommodate for bodies that do not look or function in “traditional” ways. What is the psychotherapist’s role in exploring these aspects of the body and the psychological barriers which arise and complicate this conundrum such as gender trauma, sexual abuse and other trauma history? By using case material and research literature, this talk will explore the obstacles and creative solutions trans* people are inventing to more fully embody their sex lives.

 Presenter(s) Bio:

SJ Langer, LCSW-R is a writer and psychotherapist in private practice in New York City and is faculty in the MPS Art Therapy Department at School of Visual Arts. He is also on the Executive Committee for the Psychotherapy Center for Gender and Sexuality at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and created their Surgery Assessment Project. He speaks internationally on topics related to trauma, transgender health and clinical practice such as the last 2 and upcoming World Professional Association for Transgender Health Symposium, APA IPA New York, Philadelphia Trans* Health Conference, & Trans Temporality Toronto. His academic articles have been published in a variety of journals including his most recent Trans* Bodies and the Failure of Mirrors which is the co-winner of the Symonds Prize and will be published in Studies in Gender and Sexuality in 2016.

Expanding the Sex-Script: Sex Therapy with Trans* Patients by Ian Kerner, PhD, LMFT

Expanding the Sex-Script: Sex Therapy with Trans* Patients by Ian Kerner, PhD, LMFT

Although a rich history of clinical theory underlies the practice of sex therapy, its principles and practices are largely based on hetero-normative assumptions that have yet to be cohesively adapted to the needs of LGBTQ patients. This gap does a disservice to both LGBTQ patients and their therapists, as well as to the larger field of sex therapy itself (which stands to benefit immensely from the paradigm-expanding infusion of LGBTQ theory and the diverse experiences of LGBTQ patients). This workshop, in its own small way, aims to bridge the gap by introducing the basic tenets of sex therapy and applying them specifically to trans* patients.

Topics covered will include:

  • The history of sexology and sex therapy through a trans* lens, including an overview of recent peer-reviewed literature related to sexual attitudes and behaviors.
  • Therapist self-location and counter-transference when dealing with trans* sexuality issues, and co-construction of the therapeutic frame.
  • Sexual health and function in trans males and females, including the intersectionality and ongoing mediation of gender identity, sexual identity and sexual attraction.
  • Common sexual problems related to libido, arousal and orgasm in trans* patients, as well as special issues such as the gender and relational distress that can be triggered by sexual activity; genital self-esteem; and the specific effects of hormone treatment and SRS on sexual function.
  • Assessment and formulation of trans* sex therapy cases, as well as treatment planning and interventions specifically adapted to trans* patients.

This workshop will rely strongly on trans * case studies to make vivid the didactic material, and will welcome participant dialogue. At the end of this workshop, attendees will have a deeper knowledge of trans * attitudes and behaviors related to sexuality; an overview of the principles and practices of sex therapy specifically adapted to trans* patients; and special issues related to working with trans* patients in sex therapy.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Ian Kerner, PhD, LMFT, is a nationally recognized sexuality counselor who specializes in sex therapy, couples therapy and working with individuals on a range of relational issues. In addition to being a Clinical Fellow of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT), Ian is certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists and currently sits on AASECT’s Board of Directors. Ian is a New York Times best-selling author of numerous books, including She Comes First (Harper Collins), which is the best-selling sex advice book of the last decade and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Ian recently co-authored the article “Attitudes toward monogamy in a sample of bisexual-identified adults” which was published in the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity (2014). He is regularly quoted as an expert in various media, with recent appearances on CNN, The Today Show, The Dr. Oz Show, and The Takeaway on WNYC.

Hormones and Handcuffs: The Intersection of Transgender Identity and Alternate Lifestyles by Laura A. Jacobs, LCSW-R

Hormones and Handcuffs: The Intersection of Transgender Identity and Alternate Lifestyles by Laura A. Jacobs, LCSW-R

The Intersection of Transgender Identity and Alternate Lifestyles: Being transgender or gender nonconforming involves a complex relationship between identity, the body, and sexuality. And anecdotal evidence suggests percentages of transgender and gender nonconforming people active in Kink/BDSM (an abbreviation encompassing Bondage and Domination, Dominance and Submission, SadoMasochosm), nonmonogamy, or other forms of ‘alternate lifestyles’ are significantly higher than in cisgender (nontransgender) populations. The world of ‘alternate lifestyles’ offers transgender and gender nonconforming people the opportunity to express aspects of their identities in creative, safe manners. SadoMasochism allows individuals to sexualize their bodies without exclusively focusing on genitalia. Roleplay mirrors the pretransition experience of periodically assuming identities that may not match one’s daily ‘realities’. Through dominance and submission individuals can be provocative around power dynamics, while nonmonogamy offers the prospect of taking pleasure in the many loves and bonds that were often denied to transgender people pretransition. There are complex interactions between gender identity and transgressive sexualities that touch on both dysphoria and empowerment. Additionally, these people sometimes use nontraditional terminology when referring to genitalia so as to reconceptualize their bodies, raising intriguing questions of semantics. These lifestyles are often intimately interwoven with an individual’s sense of identity. It is imperative that providers gain an appreciation for what is occurring in this sub-subculture to better serve our clients. Ultimately, reveling in these nontraditional and transgressive forms of sexuality and relationships is part of an ongoing examination of the human experience.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Laura A. Jacobs, LCSW-R is a Trans and GenderQueer-identified psychotherapist, activist, writer, and public speaker in the NYC area working with transgender and gender-nonconforming, LGBTQ, and sexual/gender minority issues. She serves Chair of the Boards of Directors of the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and has the distinction of being the first trans and genderqueer chair of the Board. Laura also sits on the Board of Directors for Trans Bodies, Trans Selves. She contributes to The Huffington Post, been featured on Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy, The Derek and Romaine Show, and numerous programs on Doctor Radio on SiriusXM, has presented for conferences including the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, the Philadelphia Trans* Health Conference, and many others, and at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Vanderbilt University, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, NYU School of Social Work. She is registered as a Kink Aware Professional. As Lawrence Jacobs, she worked as a musician, composer, photographer, and less glamorous positions such as corporate middle management. www.LauraAJacobs.com


Trans Forming Sexual Narratives: A Clinical Approach to Sexual/Gender Fluidity in Couples by Suzanne Iasenza, PhD

Trans Forming Sexual Narratives: A Clinical Approach to Sexual/Gender Fluidity in Couples by Suzanne Iasenza, PhD

Too often couples containing a TGNC member experience couple therapy as ineffectual with regard to addressing their sexual needs. Many couple therapists lack appropriate training in human sexuality in general and TGNC issues in particular. Even well-meaning therapists either over emphasize gender variance, work from antiquated binary frames, or avoid discussion of gender variance all together. Furthermore, many therapists don’t know how to bring an integrative approach to sexuality and gender development. Integrating psychodynamic, systems, and cognitive behavioral approaches, this workshop will offer ways to work with the vicissitudes of gender/sexuality narratives over the lifespan, how to identify their emergence in childhood, track how they may change over time, and explore how these narratives interact within couple life. Case examples will be used to illustrate how sexual/gender narratives can serve as springboards for personal and couple growth and as resources in the creation of an expansive couple sexual experience.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Suzanne Iasenza, PhD is on the faculties of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (ICP) and the Adelphi University Derner Institute’s Postgraduate Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. She also teaches in the workshop series at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. She is co-editor of the books Lesbians and Psychoanalysis: Revolutions in Theory and Practice (1995) and Lesbians, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis: The Second Wave (2004) and maintains a private practice in psychotherapy and sex therapy in New York City. Her most recent paper, “What’s Queer About Sex: Expanding Sexual Frames in Theory and Practice” (2010) was published in the journal Family Process.

Trans Genitals: Taboo Topic or Pathway to Freedom? by Barbara Carrellas

Trans Genitals: Taboo Topic or Pathway to Freedom? by Barbara Carrellas

Earlier this year I conducted an international Survey of How Trans Women, Trans Men and People of Non-Binary Gender Experience Their Genitals. I also created the Erotic Awakening Massage for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People.
This workshop begins with the observation that any discussion of trans genitals is a minefield. Trans bodies are fetishized, medicalized, criminalized and/or invisibilized. My intention with both the survey and the massage was to create forums in which trans and GNC people could talk about how they experience their genitals (both physically and emotionally) and explore how they worked in safe and empowering models.
In this workshop, I will share with you what I’ve learned thus far (both the survey and massage are works in progress) and invite discussion as to how both trans and cis-gendered practitioners can:

• hold respectful, honest, thoughtful conversations among trans people about trans sexuality;
• encourage scientific and sociological studies about how trans genitals and sexuality work, and how trans people experience their bodies, genitals and sexuality over their lifetimes;
• help reduce shame and isolation;
• empower better relationships with lovers and care providers;
• work more knowledgeably with trans bodies.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Barbara Carrellas is the author of the the world’s first LGBTQ and BDSM inclusive Tantric sex book: Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty First Century. She has also written Ecstasy is Necessary: A Practical Guide To Sex, Relationships and Oh So Much More, andLuxurious Loving. Barbara is the founder of the Urban Tantra® Professional Training Program, a comprehensive training program in the practice and application of conscious sexuality. Urban Tantra® is an international community, a philosophy, and an inclusive conscious sexuality practice that supports both personal and professional goals. She is also the co-founder of Erotic Awakening, a pioneering series of workshops focusing on the physical, spiritual and healing powers of sex. She was named Best Tantric Sex Seminar Leader in New York City by Time Out/NY Magazine for her Urban Tantra® workshops.
Barbara is a nominee for the 2016 Sexual Freedom Pioneer Award for the work she will be presenting in this workshop.

'I don’t believe in a gay gene but I don’t know how else to explain it': exploring transmasculine desires, pre and post-transition by Rosa Benato, PhD

“I don’t believe in a gay gene but I don’t know how else to explain it”: exploring transmasculine desires, pre and post-transition by Rosa Benato, PhD

Using data from a qualitative, interview-based study of 23 UK, female to male transmasculine people aged 20-52, this paper explores how participants constructed and negotiated their sexualities. The paper in particular examines the destabilisation of participants’ sexual orientations, desires and practices after experiencing a change in their gender presentation from female. Interviews were analysed utilising thematic analysis, drawing on symbolic interactionism and feminist and queer studies theory.

Many participants who previously identified as lesbians now found themselves exclusively attracted to and having sex with cis (or sometimes trans) men. Some described this change of attraction (what they called an “orientation shift”) as starting immediately after they had started using testosterone: “for me it was immediate: I stuck the needle in my bum and found myself watching men’s bottoms going down the street”. Several participants were only able explain this by referring to the probability of a ‘gay gene’, despite their previous scepticism of such a phenomenon.

Many of the participants who identified as gay or pansexual had developed coping strategies to enable sexual contact with other male-identified people, sharing the concern of wanting to be had sex with as a man: “knowing that he’s fucking me and not my gender”. This was of particular concern at the point of their own orgasm, where the fear of the “real me” (an innate femaleness) was in danger of emerging.

Presenter(s) Bio:

Rosa Benato (preferred pronoun: she or they) is a queer academic and sex-positive activist.

Rosa works as a Senior Lecturer in Education Development at the School of Health Sciences at City, University of London, UK, focusing on a number of public health and health management educational programmes and research. Rosa’s PhD thesis explores how transmasculine people construct and negotiate their gender identities, embodiment and sexual practice.

Rosa is also a queer BDSM club organiser and does voluntary work with a charity supporting young trans people in the UK.