All Kinds of News for December 07, 2016
At Elevations RTC, the campus community seeks to create a safe, comfortable environment for all students. Elevations RTC works closely with struggling adolescents of all gender identities and sexual orientations to promote healing and personal growth. For transgender students specifically, a variety of mental health and gender identity issues must be taken into account during treatment.
“Working in a gender affirming environment has helped students feel more comfortable to have honest conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity,” says Matt Seelos, LCSW, Primary Therapist at Elevations RTC. “It is clear that the term ‘transgender’ does not encompass everything an individual is. Their stories and where they are in the transition process are unique to each individual.”
Much like the approach for more traditional mental health issues, treatment for transgender students is individualized and designed to meet the client where they are at. Transgender students, like other clients, present and experience struggles in an individual fashion. Because of this, it's important to assess which issues are associated with the client’s gender dysphoria and which issues are influenced by other mental health issues.
Another important aspect to assess at the beginning of treatment is the level of acceptance and support a client receives at home. As statistics for suicidality and self-injurious behaviors drastically increase for unsupported transgender adolescents, this is important to take into account.
“So often, we help teens deal with the natural struggles that come with puberty,” comments Seelos. “They are struggling to find their identity and role in the world. For transgender students, they are also dealing with a fear of how others may respond if they share that they don’t identify with the body they were born with. Transgender students are concerned about friends ending their friendships, teasing from peers, and being misgendered.”
Because of the individualized nature of treatment, clinicians at Elevations RTC must determine the possible benefits and/or negative impacts for each intervention chosen, such as hormone replacement therapy and more traditional psychotherapies. Much like with all clients, the treatment plan goals should be measurable and applicable to the client’s current state and struggles, with the ability to adjust as the client makes changes.
“In my experience, working with transgender students isn’t as complicated as one might think,” says Seelos. “They are looking to be understood, to feel a sense of control in their life, and, most importantly, to feel cared about. Helping students learn where they can find healthy support and identifying when others do not have their best interests at heart is often a difficult task. More than anything they are looking for acceptance. This is no different from any of our students.”
About Elevations RTC
Elevations RTC is a unique residential treatment center that works with both young men and women ages 13 - 18. Elevations offers guidance, support and relief to young men and women struggling with issues like trauma, depression, mood disorders, behavioral problems, identity/body image, and substance abuse. Elevations RTC is located in Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs for troubled teens.