APA’s new guidelines for psychological practice with transgender and gender nonconforming people: A brief summary
There is great news coming out of APA this week. (Finally, some good news coming out of APA!) The APA Council of Representatives has finally approved a set of guidelines for psychologists working with transgender and gender nonconforming people (TGNC). You can read the entire 55 page document here and it is certainly on my “to read” list as well. However, given how important this is and given the fact that my “to read” list is dauntingly long at this point, I wanted to make sure I was familiar with at least the main guidelines until I can have time to read the entire document. And so, I created this cheat sheet of the 16 guidelines outlined in the document. So if your “to read” list is like mine, here is a summary of the APA guidelines on working with TGNC people.
APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and
Gender Nonconforming People
Guideline 1. Psychologists understand that gender is a non-binary construct that allows for a range of gender identities and that a person’s gender identity may not align with sex assigned at birth.
Guideline 2. Psychologists understand that gender identity and sexual orientation are distinct but interrelated constructs.
Guideline 3. Psychologists seek to understand how gender identity intersects with the other cultural identities of TGNC people.
Guideline 4. Psychologists are aware of how their attitudes about and knowledge of gender identity and gender expression may affect the quality of care they provide to TGNC people and their families.
Guideline 5. Psychologists recognize how stigma, prejudice, discrimination, and violence affect the health and well-being of TGNC people.
Guideline 6. Psychologists strive to recognize the influence of institutional barriers on the lives of TGNC people and to assist in developing TGNC-affirmative environments.
Guideline 7. Psychologists understand the need to promote social change that reduces the negative effects of stigma on the health and well-being of TGNC people.
Guideline 8. Psychologists working with gender questioning and TGNC youth understand the different developmental needs of children and adolescents and that not all youth will persist in a TGNC identity into adulthood.
Guideline 9. Psychologists strive to understand both the particular challenges that TGNC elders experience and the resilience they can develop.
Guideline 10. Psychologists strive to understand how mental health concerns may or may not be related to a TGNC person’s gender identity and the psychological effects of minority stress.
Guideline 11. Psychologists recognize that TGNC people are more likely to experience positive life outcomes when they receive social support or trans-affirmative care.
Guideline 12. Psychologists strive to understand the effects that changes in gender identity and gender expression have on the romantic and sexual relationships of TGNC people.
Guideline 13. Psychologists seek to understand how parenting and family formation among TGNC people take a variety of forms.
Guideline 14. Psychologists recognize the potential benefits of an interdisciplinary approach when providing care to TGNC people and strive to work collaboratively with other providers.
Guideline 15. Psychologists respect the welfare and rights of TGNC participants in research and strive to represent results accurately and avoid misuse or misrepresentation of findings.
Guideline 16. Psychologists seek to prepare trainees in psychology to work competently with TGNC people.
American Psychological Association. (2015). Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/transgender.pdf.