mind by design

ONLINE THERAPY IN NEW JERSEY

Gender Dysphoria:
No, It’s Not a Mental Illness

     As therapists of adolescents and individuals in the LGBTQ+ community, we understand that parents have a lot of questions when it comes to supporting their teen experiencing gender dysphoria.  Family members play a significant role in the health and wellness of their teens, especially for teens who may be experiencing gender dysphoria. Before we dive in, let’s get clear on what gender dysphoria is, what gender dysphoria is NOT, and clear up any confusion about the terminology.

Gender Dysphoria Vs Gender Dysmorphia

Gender Dysphoria refers to how a person identifies and creates a sense of belonging in the social world. Dysphoria is not a mental illness and does not present symptoms of distorted sense of self or distorted image of their body, features or other characteristics. 

However, gender dysmorphia refers to how a person sees their physical selves, their bodies, and their traits. Dysmorphia refers to a morphed and distorted perception of how they look.

To summarize, gender dysphoria means someone feels the body they were born into doesn’t reflect their true self or who they are or identify with in terms of their gender. Body dysmorphia is a disorder that results in someone perceiving a major flaw or problem with their own body, even if that perception is not based in reality

LGBTQ+ Mental Health and Gender Dysphoria

What Gender Dysphoria is Not:

  • A phase or a choice. It is a deeply rooted aspect of an individuals identity. 
  • Something to be passive about if your child/teen shares with you that they are experiencing gender dysphoria. 
  • A mental illness or something that needs to be ‘cured’. Therapy aims to help the individual develop skills to manage the challenging symptoms they may experience due to social stigma, confusion and relationship conflicts the dysphoria may cause. Therapy should never force, influence or coerce a person to “change genders”.

Some things that Gender Dysphoria is:

  • An incongruence between what gender a person identifies as and what they were assigned at, at birth. 
  • Under-addressed in developmental settings such as sex-ed, doctor’s offices and therapy, putting individuals experiencing dysphoria at a higher risk for anxiety, depression and suicidality. 

Supporting loved ones strugging with Gender Dysphoria

Supporting a child with gender dysphoria requires a nurturing and understanding approach.
Here are some key steps you can take:

active listening

Create a safe space for open communication.Validate their experiences, demonstrating that you are there for them.

Respect Their Autonomy

Each individual’s journey with gender dysphoria is unique. Respect their decisions regarding their transition, medical interventions, or other forms of self-expression. Support their autonomy in choosing the path that feels right for them.

Get Active!

Our love language at MBD is social advocacy!
 Stand up against discrimination and advocate for inclusive policies and environments. Help create a world where individuals with gender dysphoria can live authentically and without fear of stigma or prejudice.

Affirm Their Identity

Validate and respect their identity. Use the correct pronouns and the correct name they prefer, and encourage others to do the same. This simple act of validation can have a profound impact on their well-being.

Get Educated on Gender Dysphoria

Take the initiative to educate yourself about gender diversity, transgender experiences, and the challenges faced by individuals with gender dysphoria. Share this knowledge with others to promote understanding and acceptance.

Seek Professional Help

Connect with mental health professionals experienced in gender dysphoria who can guide you and your teen & provide support and resources. We’re here to help!

What to Expect In Therapy for
Identity Support & Gender Dysphoria

When addressing gender dysphoria in adolescence, a multidisciplinary approach involving mental and medical providers is common, and typically the family or caregivers are involved in some point to help support the teen.

Here are some common aspects of treatment:

gender affirming therapy & Gender Dysphoria Support

It’s important that the therapist is competent in understanding the unique needs that  will help the adolescent to explore and understand their gender identity in a safe space to discuss emotions, concerns, and aspirations.

Understanding Hormone Therapy

For some individuals, hormone therapy may be an option to align their physical characteristics with their gender identity. This process typically involves ongoing medical supervision and often requires mental health care throughout the process and even afterwards to assist and support with adjusting to their congruent identity. 

Education on Gender & Sexuality

Individuals and families should be ready to receive a LOT of handouts! Gender-affirming therapists understand that individuals experiencing gender dysphoria are often misunderstood, especially by those closest to them. Education is an essential part of the therapeutic process.

Social Support for Individuals with Gender Dysphoria

Adolescents and adults are encouraged to build supportive networks, such as LGBTQ+ communities or local support groups. These connections can provide understanding, validation, and guidance throughout their journey.

Conculsion

     Though this is just a snapshot of the complex needs and experiences of many individuals, these few steps will get you started towards becoming an excellent support for your loved one. This ongoing journey requires love, understanding, and acceptance. By educating ourselves, listening with empathy, and providing a nurturing environment, we can contribute to their overall well-being and happiness. Let’s embrace diversity, celebrate individual identities, and create a world where everyone can thrive authentically. 

FAQs about online Therapy in New Jersey

How do I get started as a new client?

New Clients can reach out to us directly via call, text or email here:

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Or, you can complete a new client form and we’ll reach out to you within 24 hours here:

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What is your cancellation policy?

We ask that clients provide at least 24 hours notice in the event that they need to cancel to avoid the 50% cancellation fee. we understand that life happens and do our best to be flexible & reschedule.

Does my insurance cover my visits?

We provide”Courtesy Billing” for clients who are using the Out-of-network insurance benefits.

Our Insurance Page shares a small blurb about Why We Left Insurance Panels

Do you offer traditional talk therapy?

of course! though we have some unconventional therapy approaches, we are rooted in evidenced based practices. Talk therapy is a major player in the therapy room! See What we Treat and Integrative Services for more information

Is Online Therapy As Effective As In-Person Therapy?

Online therapy is essentially face-to-face counseling, just conducted remotely. Studies show that teletherapy is as effective as traditional counseling. Professional organizations and state governments recognize its benefits and have set regulations for it. However, like any therapy, its success in achieving your goals isn’t guaranteed. It’s important to discuss with your therapist whether teletherapy is working for you.

Can I Change Therapists If I'm Not Happy?

Yes, you can switch therapists to another provider within the practice, or we can provide you a referral if preferred. We want to ensure that your time and effort are well spent, and that you are getting the relief you need, that’s why we work collaboratively with each other in the practice, as well as outside therapists who we know and trust.

How Do I Know If Therapy Is Helping?

You should feel like you’re making progress. Signs it’s working include:

Feeling comfortable talking to your therapist
Your therapist respects boundaries
You’re moving towards your goals
You feel listened to
You’re doing better in life
Your self-esteem is getting better

Is Online Therapy Easy to Use for Non-Tech-Savvy People?

Yes, it’s pretty simple to access sessions. You’ll need basic internet skills, such as opening and visiting the patient link sent to you via email. It’s similar to video chatting like Facetime or Zoom. We can also walk you through it on the phone the first time to ensure a strong connection

What Questions Should I Ask My New Therapist?

Feel free to ask anything. Some good questions are:

  • How often will we meet?
  • What do you specialize in?
  • What experience do you have with my issue?
  • What outcomes can I expect?
  • How will I know I’m progressing?
  • How long do you usually work with clients?
  • How will we set my treatment goals?

How Should I Prepare for My First Session?

Showing up is all that you need to do! But if you really want to get the most out of session, it could help to take some time to think about what you want from therapy. It helps to write down your goals, questions you have or things that you feel are important to share. 

What is the difference between associate therapists & fully licensed therapists?

Our Qualifications:

Our founder, Rebecca Sidoti, is a highly qualified, state-licensed therapist and supervisor with extensive training in anxiety related disorders and innovative treatment such as Ketamine Therapy. Mind by Design Counseling adheres to standards set by the our governing counseling boards.

To see each providers credentials, training and licenses, visit our “Meet the Therapists” Page to learn more.

 

  • LAC/LSW are therapists who may practice clinical work under the supervision of a fully licensed therapist.
  • LPC/LCSW are therapists who have completed the necessary clinical hours post-graduation under supervision and can practice clinical work independently.

What Geographic Areas Are Served?

Currently, we serve clients in New Jersey and are expanding to other states as telehealth laws evolve. While telehealth offers the convenience of attending sessions from anywhere, state laws require clients to be in-state during their session.

Is Virtual Counseling Suitable for Everyone?

Online therapy might not be as effective for individuals with chronic suicidal thoughts, severe trauma, significant mental health history, or those recently in intensive care. Such cases often benefit more from traditional, in-person counseling. We’ll help you decide if our online services are right for you during your intake and evaluation.

What Equipment is Needed for Online Therapy?

To join a session, log in using the credentials we provide. No downloads are needed. Our platform, compatible with both individual and group sessions, requires:
A computer or mobile device with a webcam and internet access.
We’ll help you test your setup before your first appointment to ensure a reliable connection. iOS users should use the Safari browser for mobile and tablet sessions.

What Questions Will Therapists Ask Me?

It depends on your goals. Expect questions about your thoughts, feelings, relationships, work, school, and health. They’ll ask to understand your therapy goals.

How Do You Keep Client Information Secure?

Security and Confidentiality of Sessions:
Your privacy is crucial to us. We use TherapyNotes, a HIPAA-compliant platform, ensuring secure and confidential teletherapy sessions. This platform’s security features include encrypted video connections, secure data transfers, and encrypted databases, ensuring your information is safe at all times.

What is VRT used for?

we use VRT to support Exposure Therapy, a long standing traditional therapy modality to treat phobias, anxiety and stress. we send a headset directly to your home so you can access VRT from anywhere.

VRT not only helps with exposure therapy for phobias, but is great for ADHD, mindfulness, PTSD and social anxiety.