Until recently partners of trans’ people were void of any positive information and support; indeed ‘considerably more isolated than the trans’ population itself. Historically, treatment protocols categorised marriage as ‘a contraindication to cross-sex surgery’ (Randall J.R. 1971) so divorce was a prerequisite for gender reassignment. Thus only marriages where the trans-identified partner did not transition could survive - and that was far from encouraged. Transvestism being regarded as sexually deviant, wives were similarly described – and therapists were encouraged to ‘help such women... develop sufficient insight and information to intelligently manage the dilemma’ (Wise T.N. 1985) - accepted outcomes being either the wife accepting her husband as perverted or severance of the relationship. The possibility of somebody ascribed female transitioning to male simply wasn’t given consideration.
Whilst our regulatory discourse of relationships is gradually expanding it frequently assumes autonomy in identity and in relationship – that one knows and is secure in one’s sexuality, that one chooses relationships in line with that identification, and that there are recognised pathways of relating. Moreover that one has access to bodies of knowledge concerning one’s relationship – socially, psychologically, and sexually.
Beyond these frameworks people in relationship with the trans-identified population frequently find:
- Autonomy in identity/relationship challenged
- Sexuality becoming uncertain and insecure
- No defined pathways of relating
- Bodies of knowledge concerning relationship - socially, academically, and sexually – are sparse
According to O’Leary a ‘ good therapist encourages dialogue, deflects tendency to blame and engenders human sized hope’ (2011) this Professional Development Day will endeavour to equip attendees with sufficient understanding of the challenges and issues involved in partner relationships with trans-identified people to feel able to work positively in this field.
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About the presenter
Tina Clark (formally Livingstone) is a Client Centred Counsellor and Pink Therapy Advanced Accredited Sex and Gender Diversities Therapist working in private practice. An experienced supervisor, consultant, and trainer, Tina has sixteen years experience of working with partners of trans-identified people, and was a founding member of Depend, a national self support association for wives, partners and families of trans-identifying and trans-historied people. She wrote the feature article “Relationships in the Melting Pot” for the BACP Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal (July 2015) and was a keynote speaker at the annual BAPCA conference 2015 with “Dancing with Rainbows; perspectives on person-centred partnering trans-identified and trans-historied people”. Further details of her work can be found at: www.positivebeams.com
Professional Development Day: Working with Partners of Trans-Identified People - BACP Events
The main aims of the PDD
- To introduce participants to some of the diverse issues of partners of trans-identified people, whether entering into relationship knowingly or presented with discovery /disclosure in relationship.
- To develop some understanding of the impact of discovery and disclosure on the self and personal relationship.
- To explore some of the personal and social issues partners face when they stay in relationship with trans-identified people
- To enhance understanding of working with partners of trans-identified people clients through exploration of vignettes
By the end of the PDD, participants will be able to
- Understand some of the differences and similarities between partners who knowing engage in relationship with trans-identified people and those who find themselves n that place.
- Have some awareness of the diverse challenges that emerge for self and sexuality when in relationship with a trans-identified person.
- Understand something of the ongoing issues faced by partners both when trans-identity is expressed on a part time basis and when a partner transitions.
- Have sufficient understanding of the issues faced by partners of trans-identified people to feel more confident and better equipped to work with them in their own practice settings
This PDD is relevant to the following groups
Current BACP members. Counsellors, supervisors, trainers, researchers, and managers of counselling services.
Holiday Inn Cardiff City Centre
Registration will be 9.30am with the workshop starting promptly at 10am. Two refreshment break and a light lunch will be provided. The workshop will finish at 4.30pm.