The experiences of Australian transgender young people in school counseling: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

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Due to the poor mental health outcomes experienced by transgender young people, there is a greater need for this population to access effective mental health services. This is particularly apparent within the secondary school environment where transgender young people experience a high prevalence of victimization, bullying, and harassment. However, no research to date has investigated the experiences of transgender young people in school counseling. To address this gap in the literature, the current study explored the school counseling experiences of transgender young people in an Australian sample. Eleven transgender participants completed individual semistructured interviews and the data were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Four superordinate themes were identified: the transgender young person, the role of the therapeutic relationship, the counseling space, and the school environment. The findings demonstrate the importance of a strong therapeutic relationship, informed and knowledgeable school psychologists and counselors, acts of support and advocacy, and a safe counseling space for the school counseling experiences of transgender young people. Additionally, the findings highlight the impact transgender identities and school environmental factors have on these counseling experiences. The article provides practical implications for school psychologists and counse-lors working with transgender young people, including the need for transgender-specific training and education and suggestions for ways to advocate and support transgender young people in the school environment. Limitations of the current study and relevant directions for future research are also discussed

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-303
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • counseling
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • secondary school
  • transgender
  • young people

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