Specialized therapy options for transgenders
My role is not to "cure" transgenderism, or to cure homosexuality or bisexuality for that matter. As far as I know, it can't be done. I can't cure those anymore than I can cure intelligence, because they are simply a part of who you are. If you wanted to "cure" intelligence, you could learn to act stupid, and I could even use hypnosis to make intelligent thought harder. However, that wouldn't change who you are, just your behavior. It would be like tying an arm behind your back so you can't use it, to fit in with one armed people.
Some religious groups try to do that, but I don't think it's healthy. Personally, I believe evolution, the Creator, or whatever you believe in, has made us the way we are for a good reason, and that we should honor and love ourselves as we are. We cannot love others more than we love ourselves, so the first step to being a loving person is to love and accept yourself. Only then can we progress to become better people, whether in a humanistic or spiritual sense.
Religion and gender
Those who deny and repress their natural urges, such as the sexual ones, often become those who try to control other people's behaviors by making rules. I could point to Muslim countries, as well as to Christian ones, for examples of people doing violence to each other for breaking the "rules" they made up. While I don't deny divine inspiration in the writing of holy texts, these communications get filtered through the prejudices of the prophet who receives them. To me, it is inconceivable that a message of hate could be from a divine source. If we are children of the Creator, then we are exactly the way we were supposed to be.
I have been doing therapy with mostly transgenders (transsexuals, transvestites, etc. ) since the year 2000, and through experience, I have found certain issues that keep coming up with just about everyone. And since these same issues come up, I have created special methods of Changework that deal quickly and effectively with those issues, usually in a single session. While I have limited experience working with lesbians and gays, I believe they share the same kinds of issues.
What are those most common issues?
1) Shame and guilt, a feeling of wrongness, and purges (throwing away clothing, toys, erotica, etc. ) See The Ugly Duckling.
2) Fear of rejection by others, of being judged, of what people will think. See The Closet Key.
3) Being unable to figure out what you really want, after years of repressing your feelings. See Emotional Freedom
The Closet Key, Emotional Freedom, and The Ugly Duckling Process, each take a single session to do.
Note: In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), we have various "recipies", series of mental steps that are extremely effective for dealing with specific structures of problems. For instance, there is one "recipie" that cures phobias, but does not work on fears. That is because fears and phobias do not have the same kind of mental "structure". So I have developed through experimentation methods that very quickly and easily deal with the specific kinds of problems most common to transgenders. This means you benefit from my experience with others by getting faster results with proven methods.
Methods such as The Closet Key and The Ugly Duckling are applicable, with some very minor changes, to anyone who has that kind of issue, be they male to female transsexuals, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, etc. However, in this page I will be talking in terms of male to female transgenders, simply because they are my main clientele and I know their issues very well. It also makes the writing a lot less wordy, and I apologize if anyone feels excluded. I am very interested in working with other queers, as I think these methods are completely applicable to them, and I welcome questions.
Emotional Freedom is specific to releasing repressed feminine emotions, for male to female transgenders, so I don't see how that could be useful to lesbians, gays and bisexuals (though I could be wrong). However, I have in mind an alternate version for transmen needing to release repressed masculine emotions.
Vocabulary note: "Queer" is the commonly accepted term in LGBT culture (Lesbian Gay Bi Trans) for referring to all those who are within that culture, or set of cultures. At the time of this writing, it is considered the "politically correct" term to use.
Growing up is tough when everyone tells you you're a boy, but what you really want is to be a girl. You want your parent to be happy, so you try to act like a boy. But somehow, you keep messing up... ending up in your sister's closet... or your mother's closet... doing things little boys aren't supposed to do, and liking things boys aren't supposed to like. Wanting to play girl games with the girls instead of the boy games, all the while people telling you that's not how boys... how you... should behave.
Wrong. Bad. Sissy. Pansy. Fag. Abnormal. Weakling. Nancy boy. Freak.
Gee... I wonder why you'd get a low self-esteem from all that... and try to hide your nature as much as you possibly can. It's hard to feel proud of what you are when you keep being told you're bad, and don't even know there are others like you, who feel as you do.
The Ugly Duckling is actually a fairly short and easy process by which you can realize that you are ok as you truly are. That you can accept and love yourself, and stop throwing away your things with nasty purges brought on by guilt and shame.
It was inspired by Alice Novic's book "Alice in Genderland". It's an excellent book, by the way, which I highly recommend, and having met Alice herself at a convention, I can tell you she's an absolute sweetie! I hear her alter ego, Richard J. Novic, MD, is also an excellent psychiatrist. She spent 10 years in therapy coming to terms with being a transvestite. I simply reduced her ten years of therapy into a hour long process, which so far, seems to work with everyone. I've also had the chance to try a modified version of it with a lesbian to help her accept herself, and it also seemed to work very well.
Now, before you declare me a genius (or perhaps think I'm exagerating), you should consider that my training is in NLP, and that the basis of NLP is Modeling. Modeling is the art of figuring out how experts do exceptional things, reducing it to a recipie, and then teaching that recipie to others. Most of the NLP therapy methods are based on modeling wizards of therapy, or modeling people who have solved a particular problem. My main merit lies in recognizing that Alice had laid out all the elements of solving her problem in her book. And of course, merit lies with Alice for figuring out the solution in the first place. However, I'm not the patient type, so I prefer a one hour solution to a 10 year one whenever possible.
And later, I added to the process when I realized how much the story of the Ugly Duckling applied to transgenders and other queers. I've posted that story to the site, for you to enjoy, and meditate upon.
You can see one client review of this session here.
Women in our society have a strong tendency to conform to people's expectations of them. So do men, but for different reasons. In the case of women, it's mostly based on a need to belong and be accepted in whatever peer group is available. Both brain sex and hormones are responsible for that need. In the case of men, it's more out of fear of being ridiculed and attacked, verbally and otherwise, for not acting like a man should. Either way, it's hard to step out of the path that family, friends and coworkers (or fellow students) expect of you.
MtF transgenders and conforming
What I've found is that male to female transgenders actually get BOTH ! As men, they fear the reactions of other men, should they step out of line. But having a more or less female brain also makes them more eager to please and conform to the expectations of their loved ones, to be accepted and belong. What a double whammy! Many of them end up getting married and having children, not because that's what they want, but because that's what their female brain tells them they should do to keep everyone happy! The fact that they deny their own happiness for others is only further proof that their brain is wired more like a woman's than a man's.
On the other hand, they do have testosterone on their side helping them to take bold action. As I've often said, it take a LOT of balls to become a woman! Which, if you think about it, is true both literally and metaphorically...
The judge is here, here comes the judge
There are two things that can prevent someone from becoming who they want to be. One is feeling that what you want is wrong, shameful, and that you should feel guilty for even considering it. The solution to that is self-acceptance, and eventually self love, leading to self confidence. This is what the Ugly Duckling process is there to help with.
The other problem is "what will people think?" It's a fear of being judged, and rejected. It's normal.
The real. question is... do you want people to love and accept the mask you present to them... or to be loved and accepted for who you really are? Sometimes, we contruct the mask so well, we forget it's not the real self. And we fear how people will react to our true self. We don't want to lose the love, friendship and respect we enjoy.
Except... it's not really you they are loving and respecting. It's that infernal mask who's getting all the attention! If you consider it carefully, two things can happen if you reveal your true self to those close to you.
1) They can't handle the real you, and reject you. Think about what this means. It means that they loved the mask, but not you. It's like being rich and surrounded by friends, and when you lose all your money, they suddenly dissapear! You realize that what they loved was your money, not you. That's when you find out who your REAL friends are, and the same applies here. When you come out to friends, you find out who your real friends are, who care about the real you, and who were just friends of the mask. It's a painful process, but it's one where you clear away the lies to find where you really stand, and who your true supporters are. You may even realize you have no supporters at all, which means it's time to go meet people who can understand and appreciate you. At least now, your social calendar is now completely open to meet them!
2) They accept the real you, and support you. This is what real friendship and love is. You discover it's ok to be who you are, and that you have their support in finding yourself. After living a lie for so long, discovering this is the best feeling in the world, and you may even become closer to these people.
In the real world, reality often lies somewhere in between. But with the Closet Key, you can be prepared to deal with confidence with whatever comes your way. Whether you're coming out as a crossdresser, transsexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or something else entirely, you can give yourself the respect you deserve.
Michelle's Closet Key Review:
Linda did what she calls a Closet Key process for me that resulted in astounding results in quieting my fears of coming out to my friends and family that I am Transgender.
I have always been petrified to come out about my condition for fear of rejection from others and because I was not sure I had the inner strength to cope with rejection from those I loved and cared about.
The Closet Key approach allowed me mentally and emotionally to go through several best case worse case scenarios with those people with whom I feared a negative reaction. She was very patient to walk me through each exercise step by step relieving my anxiety as we went. By the end of our second session, I felt a new confidence and a determination to get on with my life being who I am. My fears that had always been disabling to me were reduced on a scale of 1 to 10 from a panic stricken 10 to a manageable 2.
Having been through two sessions with Linda, I feel confident to confide in her in the future as my life progresses and I find myself in need of support. Her compassion and intellect are equally reassuring and the combination of the two has allowed a very unsure me to gain confidence.
Wednesday March 3, 2010
The Emotional Freedom process is a mental journey to get more in touch with your feminine nature, so you can express your feminine self in daily life more easily and naturally, with stronger feminine emotions. It can be done with what is called guided visualization or guided meditation. However, I think the experience is much more intense when done in deep trance. In this journey, you go to the Hall of Emotions, which is the place in your mind from which emotions come, and also where repressed emotions are locked away.
The Hall of Emotions is specifically built in terms of feminine emotions and symbolism, so that is what it is best at releasing. It allows the person to discover and release the feminine emotions they've been hiding from themselves, experience them, and let them come out into real life. It also give a sort of "graphical user interface" for controlling how much emotion of each kind is released, which the person can use after the session.
Menstrual Cycle for Transwomen
An interesting side effect, is that a number of those who've gone through Emotional Freedom seem to develop an emotional menstrual cycle that matches up to the cycle of the moon. So, while they don't bleed, they do get rather moody, or even irritable and bitchy for a few days of the month... which is balanced out by very emotionally positive days. It's useful to check on a lunar calendar, to figure out when your "period" is. It hasn't happened with everyone, but it's happened often enough to be worth mentioning. You can Click here for a lunar calendar, to avoid planning hot dates during PMS...
In order to figure out your cycle, I suggest you write down your emotional states on a calendar (paper or electronic) that allows you to see the whole month at a glance, making sure to write the full moon and dark moon days on the calendar. There's about 3 days when the moon is full, and two days when it's totally dark. Then for each day, notate the emotional state with an E for emotions, a number of stars for the level of emotions, and one or more plusses or minuses to indicate if the mood is optimistic and happy, or moody and sad. For example:
E*+ means a bit emotional on occasion, and in a good mood.
E** means moderately emotional, though not constantly. The mood is neutral, and goes up or down depending on what happens
E*- means a bit emotional, but in a bad mood. Possibly cranky or irritable.
E means emotionally flat. Feeling not quite there.
E***++ means very emotional, and constantly aware of emotions. The double plusses mean an excellent mood, happy and maybe even bouncy!
After two months, you should be able to notice a cycle if there is one.
The Sisterhood of the 28 Doors
The Hall of Emotions is an inner place, which we create during the session, for you to manage the release of your emotions. The girls who have been so initiated become much more focussed on emotions, and expressing them, soon discovering a need to speak to others who can understand the changes in emotions and preferences they're going through. The need to talk about your feelings is a very typical thing for women, and I would venture to say it's as important to women as sexual release is for men. I've had some gals asking me if another one had "been to the Hall yet", to know if she'd understand her. So it's becoming something of a sisterhood, and I've started referring to it as the Sisterhood of the 28 Doors.
It's very important to either have or find friends you can talk to about your feelings, because you'll need them after Emotional Freedom. You can probably find a transgender group in your area. ABGender.com is a good place to find them, and there are great numbers of chatrooms and forums for transgenders on the net. GenderPeace.org is a good discussion forum, mostly for younger TGs in their 20's and 30's. Susan's Place is another forum for transgenders of all ages. These are just samples, as there are many more of such places, some that are mailing lists, and some with chatrooms for live talk. MSN groups and Yahoo groups are another good place to look for support and community. And if you're looking for good TG fiction, with more emotions and less sex, I suggest Sapphire's Place.
The change gradually releases more and more repressed emotions over the weeks following the first visit to the Hall of Emotions. In some cases, that has included a change in sexual preference. How could that happen? Well, the Hall doesn't change who you are, it just lets you actually feel your emotions more, including the ones you've locked away. So in effect, you are becoming more yourself. This means that any attraction to males that might have already been there may start to come out.
You may wonder how someone could be oblivious to those kinds of feelings. Well, simply put, you can't feel arousal if you don't feel safe. And the opposite of "safe" is "fear". Every boy is taught to be affraid of attraction to other boys, because being gay would mean going to hell, or at least being a disgusting pervert shunned by everyone, taunted and even physically attacked. Isn't that enough reason to fear those feelings, to repress and try to forget ever having them?
But after Emotional Freedom, you don't feel like a guy so much... you feel like a woman, and the old limits of "guys aren't supposed to feel that way" just don't seem to apply as much anymore. When the fear is stripped away, the real feelings can be revealed. And you may discover you've been with women simply because you could feel safe and comfortable with women, enough to be able to get aroused, whether that was your main sexual preference or not.
Now, this doesn't mean you're going to just leave your wife, if you have one. You may actually find that as you accept yourself and love yourself more and more, your capacity to love her actually grows. And you may discover that you can love women as well as men, and since you already have a lover, you don't need another one. Being bisexual doesn't mean needing both men and women. It just means you can love either one.
On the other hand, there may be no changes at all to your sexual preference. This is very much a case of "don't open the box unless you really want to know what's inside".
This process also has the advantage for part time girls (those who live most of their life in their male role) of not needing to be dressed up to feel like a woman... and feeling even more feminine when dressed. Emotional Freedom won't fix all your problems. It will just help you feel more like yourself, no matter how you're dressed, and to feel more free to relate to people as your true self, even if your situation doesn't allow you to show yourself as a woman to the outside world. It's just one step to becoming who you are.
For comments, suggestions, revisions and offers to help, you can