Shapes of gender identity: Three stories with impact

Event overview

Shapes of identity

Gender identity is a rich and complex area of talking therapies. Domenico Di Ceglie will explore three fascinating cases to describe Atypical Gender Development and their implications for decision making, autonomy and physical interventions. He will critically examine the aspects of ‘network model of management’ we can retain and what we can let go. This talk will be chaired by Polly Carmichael.

During his career, French painter Bonnard revisited and revised some of his paintings over a long period of time. In this talk, I follow the same method and describe three cases presenting with Atypical Gender Identity Development seen in psychotherapy. I will show how experience contributed to thinking behind the early model of care of GIDS (Gender Identity Development Service), which was founded in 1989.

The first case shows that I was fundamentally dealing with a developing gender identity long before new identities were legally recognised. The therapeutic work would have to take on board the implication of this understanding. This led to the definition of the therapeutic aims which were originally published in in the proceedings of a conference in 1992. The word ‘therapeutic’ is used in the sense of promoting wellbeing.

The second case shows a clip from a documentary released on Channel 4 in 1995. The interaction during a session illustrates the difference between strongly held beliefs regarding gender identity and imagination. It demonstrated the difference between solid identities and identities which could be fluid and changeable. This understanding has implications for considering physical interventions.

The third case highlights the so called ‘network model of management’ in children and adolescents with atypical gender development and addresses issues of autonomy in the decision-making process.

Models of care change as clinical experience and empirical research increase.

Domenico Di Ceglie

For 100 years, the Tavistock and Portman has proudly been at the forefront of exploring mental health and wellbeing. From attachment theory and infant observation, to applying psychoanalytic and systemic approaches in varied settings, our ideas have led to changes in care, education, how organisations work and beyond.

Our Centenary Festival is celebrating our history and exploring contemporary issues in relation to identity, relationships and society. It is considering how we continue to draw on our heritage to provide valuable responses to contemporary and future problems from the perspective of equality and inclusion.

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16 February 2021 18:00 to 19:30