On Wednesday 2 November the Association of Clinical Psychologists UK (ACP-UK) received an open letter from a group of clinical psychologists and gender identity specialists with considerable years of experience working within NHS national gender clinics. The signatories include some people who have worked or are working in our Gender Identity Development Service for young people, and our adult gender identity clinic, along with services, and/or those who identify as gender diverse, plus allied clinical psychologists with LGBT lived experience.
The letter responds to a recent position statement by the ACP-UK, and argues that recommendations for the future of gender services should be informed on the basis of the expertise and experience of gender specialists who have worked with gender diverse young people, as well as by soliciting input from those young people and their families who are experts by experience. Their recommendations are listed below:
- Include and consult with clinical psychologists who have relevant clinical or lived experience in the field of gender identity.
- For the profession to acknowledge that this clinical area sits in a place of complexity and uncertainty.
- Make use of positive evidence based practise and practise-based evidence to date.
- Consider the voices of families, carers, and young people, alongside those who are unable to access services when formulating recommendations.
- Consider identity as an experience from an intersectional perspective and use collaborative formulation to understand an individual’s needs.
- Commit to the development of a more nuanced and less reductive understanding of the diverse journeys of both gender-diverse people and those who may identify as detransitioners.
- Clinical work should be collaborative and consider power imbalances between the clinician and service user at all times.
- Create spaces where gender diversity is embraced.
- NHS commissioning bodies, across all nations, to commit to further investment to support the reduction of waiting times to access gender services.
- Clinical Psychology Doctoral training courses to commit to including teaching on gender identity development across the lifespan, including gender related distress; and to increase the number of clinical psychologists who are skilled in working with this population.