Psychotherapy sessions are crucial – and out of reach for many youths

With a shout out to Andrea James who posted the following link on Facebook

From The Montreal Gazette:  http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Psychotherapy+sessions+crucial+reach+many+youths/4428421/story.html

By DONNA NEBENZAHL

Freelance March 12, 2011

Dr. Pierre-Paul Tellier understands the value of his transgendered patients undergoing psychotherapy before he prescribes them hormones. He also knows what life is like for them. “We try to encourage them to do psychological counselling but sometimes it’s not available or accessible,” Tellier says.

In-depth screening of youths with gender identity issues takes place at the Head & Hands clinic, then guided by his years of experience administering hormones and the results of regular blood tests to monitor the impact of the hormones, Tellier begins treatment. “Some people want to go fast, others want to start slowly,” he says.

The clinic uses a “harm reduction approach” that entails clearly informing patients about protocols and side effects. It has been managing a wait list for the last three years, encouraging waiting clients to seek the counselling needed to proceed with sex reassignment surgery (SRS). While the more affluent can go private, “a lot of young people we see have to suffer and wait,” Tellier says.

The problem right now is access to surgery, says Bianca Aponte, project manager of education at Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec (Astteq). “The government pays for that surgery but you have to attain various letters, and pay out of pocket for therapy sessions. It might take many sessions at $75 to $150 per hour.”

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