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Continuing Education

Optimizing the Role of the Mental Health Provider: Letter Writing, Surgery Planning, and Affirmative Assessment for Transgender/Non-Binary Individuals

Date: 8:30am - 4:30pm PDT November 2, 2018 Location: Lewis & Clark Graduate School, Smith Hall

Lewis & Clark Graduate School, Smith Hall

The guidelines set forth by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care Version 7 (2011) recommend that a person seeking trans affirmative medical interventions be assessed by a mental health professional for appropriateness and readiness of care. This can leave counselors, therapists, and other mental health personnel questioning:

  • What is–and is not—part of the role of the provider?  
  • What are the components of a referral letter that WPATH recommends, as well as components that insurance companies and surgeons look for in their assessments?
  • How can we attempt to minimize ourselves as gatekeepers while supporting our clients in this often very vulnerable process?

This workshop will explore these questions through a lense which acknowledges that transgender and non-binary individuals often have to justify their identities to themselves (internalized cissexism), and to the outside world (cissexism and cisnormativity). 

Participants in this workshop will learn how we as providers can disrupt the oppressive practice of asking transgender and non-binary people to justify their medical needs, while simultaneously assessing readiness of our transgender and non-binary clients.

Through presentation, discussion, experiential activities and small group interaction, we will discuss the ways in which we can use a client-centered, trauma-informed, collaborative, and informed consent approach to the assessment and letter-writing process. 

Following this workshop participants will have:

  • Increased knowledge about the history of the medicalization of trans bodies/barriers in health care, and impacts on trans communities
  • Increased knowledge around terms such as cissexism, cisnormativity, transmisogny
  • Increased knowledge about the different medical interventions trans/non-binary clients may receive, and expectations for surgeries
  • Example referral letters, and a foundation for assessing transgender clients for readiness
  • Understanding of WPATH, insurance, and surgeon requirements
  • Increased clarity of the role of the provider and how to disrupt oppressive power dynamics

This workshop may meet the OBLPCT Cultural Competence Continuing Education requirement. Click here for more information

Course Details and Registration

Dates: Friday, November 2, 2018, 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m. 

Instructors: Pilar Hernandez-Wolfe, PhD, Stace Parlen, LMFT, Lindsay Walker LMFT Intern

Cost: $125, by 10/11, $150 after. Includes 7 CEUs. $40 student rate. Lewis & Clark alumni receive 20% off.

Registration for this event is now closed. Please contact to be placed on a waiting list

  • We are committed to making our events accessible to all needs and abilities. When registering, let us know your access needs. Please contact us at 503-768-6040 or with questions.

    Please note: Discounted ‘Student Rate’ registrations are for current students only and do not include continuing education credit (CEU/PDUs)

About the Instructors

Dr. Pilar Hernandez-Wolfe is associate professor in the Counseling Psychology Department at Lewis & Clark. She is a licensed family therapist, a licensed professional counselor, and an approved supervisor of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She maintains a private practice at All My Relations Counseling in Portland

Lindsay Walker LMFTI works in private practice in Portland at Bridgetown Sex Therapy. She works with couples and individuals who she helps discover, transform, and affirm their sexual selves, so they can begin to heal. She specializes in working with gender and sexual identity, kinky, and polyamorous clients.

Stace Parlen, LMFTI is in private practice at Postcript Therapy. They work with LGBTQ communities with a specialty in transgender identities. They offer assessment, treatment planning and care coordination and counseling for youth adults and their families, in addition to psychoeducation workshops for clinicians, businesses, schools and communities. Their framework centers on the belief that life is a journey and there may be no end point for “transitioning.”


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