Presentation, Workshop, and Media Topics
Laura A. Jacobs, psychotherapist, psychotherapy, therapy, public speaker, public speaking, writing, activist, LGBTQ, transgender, transsexual, transexual, genderqueer, gender nonconforming, gay, lesbian, BDSM, kink, gender, sexuality, HIV, AIDS, polyamory, poly, counseling, bereavement, grief
Presentations, Workshops, and Media Topics
Selected Presentation, Workshop, and Media Topics
Some selected topics. If you have other topics on which you'd like me to speak, feel free to reach out and we can discuss them.
The Standards of Care, Informed Consent, and Letter Writing Made Easy
This workshop will provide a trans-affirmative, client-centered framework within which you can conceptualize what providers are likely already doing to support their trans and gender nonbinary clients… a model that does NOT involve gatekeeping.
This session will feature:
A review of trans history
A review of the SOC and Informed Consent
An overview of Informed Consent in practice
An overview of letter writing for hormones and surgeries
Ultimately this session is to make the process easier, more compliant, and to help providers feel confident about their work with this vulnerable population.
Gender Inside the Box, Outside the Box, and What Is This Box Thing Anyhow?
Western society relies on a binary system of gender in which there were are two distinct options, each carrying discrete stereotypes and meanings. Care has been around transitioning from one to the other, but increasing numbers are identifying outside traditional gender norms and are seeking care for both gender and everyday life. This is especially true for younger generations.
How do we understand the gender binary, heteronormativity, nontraditional genders, and the impact of the categorization of identity? And how can we assist these individuals with daily life as well as with the relationship between their nonbinary identity and an often unwelcoming society? This workshop covers transgender identity and the history of transgender care, binary and nonbinary gender identity, and the role of categorization of gender all to help providers, parents, and/or allies navigate noxnbinary issues.
Transgender Identity Today: Who’s Afraid of Choice?
“Born in the wrong body” underlies the dominant trans narrative, but it is a narrative of brokenness and victimization. Where is it from? Why must ‘transness’ be justified in negative terms? Why is choice less accepted? Can we fashion nuanced and empowered identities, whether conforming to social norms or not?
This presentation covers how that narrative arose, the unproven assumptions within, and shifting our narratives from ones of determinism to empowerment, ultimately proposing that gender can be a conscious choice.
This workshop also features transgender and gender nonconforming cultural competency education.
· Participants will be able to discuss the complex history of transgender treatment and historical narratives of identity.
· Participants will be able to identify the encoded messages of the “born in the wrong body” narrative of trans identity.
· Participants will learn about more expansive, empowered, and nonbinary narratives of identity.
· Participants will gain greater insight into working with transgender and gender nonconforming clients.
Science versus “Science”: Affirmative Care versus “Rapid Onset”, “80% Desistance, “Wait and See”, and Other Transphobic Pseudoscience
Increasing numbers of transgender and gender nonbinary youth and adolescents have come out, and there has been unprecedented hostility from those attempting to limit acceptance, a masquerade of 'concern' through misinformation and fear. But data unmistakably show that affirmative approaches yield happier, healthier, and better adjusted youth.
This workshop will discuss the overwhelming evidence that affirmative approaches produce happier and better adjusted children and making plain that "Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria", “80% Desist”, and “Wait and See” are inherently flawed and biased research, harmful to these vulnerable youth.
Affirmative approaches - in which the youth’s self-reported gender is respected and where the youth is able to explore without judgment or predetermined outcome - demonstrate improved quality of life, self-esteem, and self-confidence, along with reductions in anxiety, depression, substance use, and suicide. These youth discover what gender is appropriate for them, if any. Rates of regret are miniscule.
Every child is unique, and these youth are capable of making informed decisions about their authentic gender congruence. Flawed research broadcast in mass media is not only a source of confusion and stress for the parents attempting to provide support, but a threat to the wellbeing of these youth.
Only when these youth are supported can they thrive.
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Transgender Issues But Had No One To Ask – Provider Version
Transgender and gender nonconforming people are far more present in culture than ever before. Individuals questioning their gender identity come out at all ages, and providers of all disciplines need to be prepared so as to be able to engage constructively with this vulnerable population.
This training is designed to help medical and mental health providers develop cultural competence when working with transgender and gender nonconforming clients and will include the nature of gender and gender identity, the cultural construction of identity, issues of marginalization, historical understandings and current trends, case examples, philosophies of care and clinical approaches to working with this vulnerable population. This workshop can be tailored to any specific audience.
· Participants will become familiar with historical and current understandings of transgender identity, as well as the nature of gender and gender identity as they apply to transgender and gender nonconforming clients.
· Participants will develop cultural competency around working with members of this vulnerable population.
· Participants will improve clinical skills in treating transgender and gender nonconforming clients through case discussions.
· Participants will gain a greater understanding on how to provide support to transgender and gender nonconforming clients who are struggling with current legal and political realities.
· Participants will gain ideas on how to build an environment of inclusion.
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Transgender Issues But Had No One To Ask- Community, Family, and Ally Version
This workshop is designed to offer trans and gender nonconforming youth, as well as parents, guardians, caretakers, providers, and other allies the opportunity to have an interactive discussion with an experienced therapist to explore the ways psychotherapy can aid transition for youth and families together. Attendees can raise topics from philosophies of care, the roles of the individual versus the therapist, choosing a therapist, the therapy process, therapy as a safe environment to explore questions of identity and meaning, and any others. It also provides a forum to discuss therapy with someone other than their primary therapist, and includes information on the history of transgender services and current treatment philosophies. The workshop focuses on therapy as client-centered and transpositive, and therapy as a tool to explore gender as part of one's evolving identity.
Complex Clinical Case: Juliah
Body autonomy is a fundamental human right. Yet in tasking mental health providers with writing a letter attesting to a client’s ‘readiness’ and their ability to demonstrate informed consent for gender related surgery, current (and likely future) WPATH Standards of Care reinforce a structure of power that places us squarely between the client and their ability to modify their own body.
The case below highlights a situation when the client’s narrative of the self was problematic and sometimes contradictory, and their ability to demonstrate informed consent was similarly unclear. It prompted many questions: What is Informed Consent as a treatment philosophy? What does it mean to demonstrate informed consent? How do we as providers evaluate such in our clients? What is the role of the secondary therapist and the second letter? And how do we address our concerns about gatekeeping while still providing respectful, progressive, and ethical care? Both as a provider and as a member of the trans community, this case demanded I examine my commitment to Informed Consent, my countertransference, and the limits of my own ideology.
Gatekeeping, Countertransference, and Other Lessons from Experience: Complex Clinical Dilemmas in Transgender Clients from Experienced Providers
Clinical dilemmas occur in every practice, yet even seasoned and progressive providers well versed in mental health issues for transgender and gender nonconforming people face situations that are especially complex. In this session, experienced psychotherapist(s) discuss some of their most challenging cases involving trans and gender nonconforming clients, addressing issues such as transference and countertransference, gatekeeping, intersections of identity, social justice, and situations that were diagnostically unclear. These therapists will speak to their clinical impressions, strategies, philosophical concerns, internal struggles, as well as the legal, selfcare, and supervision practices they employed during these clinical relationships. This session is conducted with the objective of helping providers at all levels be more able to address these issues with their clients, and within themselves.
· Participants will learn techniques to address countertransference while working with trans and gender nonconforming youth.
· Participants will gain knowledge on the nature of gatekeeping, Standards of Care, and more progressive Informed Consent philosophies.
· Participants will advance their skillset in working with complex family systems that include trans and gender nonconforming clients of all ages.
Hormones and Handcuffs: The Intersection Between Transgender Identity and Alternate Lifestyles (BDSM, Kink, Polyamory)
Anecdotal evidence suggests percentages of transgender and gender nonconforming people active in Kink/BDSM (an abbreviation encompassing Bondage and Domination, Dominance and Submission, SadoMasochosm), nonmonogamy, or other forms of 'alternate lifestyles' are significantly higher than in cisgender (non-transgender) populations. These lifestyles are often intimately interwoven with an individual's sense of identity. How so? Why? And how do we as providers assist our clients engaged in these lifestyles in affirmative, nonpathologizing ways?
This workshop will cover the fundamentals of transgender identity, BDSM, and nonmonogamy, highlighting the many intersections and providing insight on the internal motivations of those engaged, and how for many this can be yet another act of resistance and nonconformity toward a society intent on limiting possible expressions of gender and sexuality. This is also intended to help providers of all disciplines develop greater cultural competence and skills when working with these vulnerable clients.
· Upon completion, participants will be better able to engage in open, affirming, and clinically necessary conversations with trans and gender nonconforming clients who are engaged in alternate lifestyles.
· Upon completion, participants will be able to understand dysfunctions, dysphoria, and other factors interfering with transgender and gender nonconforming people having rewarding sexual relationships.
· Upon completion, participants will be able to discuss motivations transgender people engage in alternate lifestyles, and be more skilled when working with such clients.
Queering Trans Healthcare: Not Just For Queer Providers Anymore
If we consider ‘queer’ to mean “a critical analysis and politicization of the relationship between mainstream and sexual/gender minorities”, what does it mean to ‘queer’ healthcare? What are queer identities? And why are queer perspectives essential when working with trans and gender nonconforming clients?
Trans and gender nonconforming people have historically been disempowered when receiving trans care, with providers assuming the role of authority figures while clients were disempowered and had little choice but to conform to providers’ beliefs. This workshop examines that legacy, deconstructing the power dynamics, cultural stereotypes of gender, macro- and microaggressions, privilege, intersectionality, the role we as clinicians play in the therapeutic process, and how identity is/ politicized. This workshop is designed to help providers have a more queer and intersectional approach when working with all clients, ultimately improving the therapeutic relationship.
· Participants will gain greater understanding of the history of disempowerment of trans clients, and the relationship between mainstream and trans people as marginalized ‘other’.
· Participants will learn techniques to create more inclusive environments and to address these issues in the therapeutic setting.
· Participants will be better equipped to work with clients and proceed from a more inclusive, queer, and intersectional perspective.
Chains and Change: An Introduction to BDSM, Polyamory, and Alternate Lifestyles and its’ Relationship to Identity
Anecdotal evidence suggests increasing numbers of people are active in Kink/BDSM (an abbreviation encompassing Bondage and Domination, Dominance and Submission, SadoMasochosm), nonmonogamy, or other forms of 'alternate lifestyles', and yet these aspects of sexuality often go unaddressed in therapy. How so? Why? Is it a symptom of trauma or a creative and healthy exploration of the body and sexuality? And how do we as providers assist our clients engaged in these lifestyles in affirmative, nonpathologizing ways?
This workshop will cover the fundamentals of BDSM and nonmonogamy, highlighting the many intersections with identity and proposing that these subcultures can be environments where clients can heal and grow. The presentation will provide insight on the internal motivations of those engaged so as to help providers of all disciplines develop greater cultural competence and skills when working with these vulnerable clients.
· Upon completion, providers will have greater cultural competence on BDSM, nonmonogamy, and alternate lifestyles.
· Upon completion, participants will be better able to engage in open, affirming, and clinically necessary conversations clients who are engaged in alternate lifestyles.
· Upon completion, participants will be able to discuss motivations people engage in alternate lifestyles, and be more skilled when working with such clients.
Human identity has been intertwined with technology since the harnessing of fire. Transportation, electricity, agriculture, education, and medicine are so integral to our lives that we almost ignore their existence… Yet for most trans and gender nonconforming individuals the association is still more explicit; hormones and surgeries transform our bodies while telecommunications and psychotherapy enable us to engage in dialogue that helps fashion our selves.
Soon, prosthetics, genetic modification, advanced surgical techniques, and hormones will offer the possibility to create bodies that no longer mirror ‘natural’ human forms but to fashion ones that are artistic and novel, while immersive virtual worlds will give the opportunity to fashion identities that may not even be bound by traditional material laws. Hopefully these technologies will be available to all.
Trans and gender nonconforming people, those of us who perceive our transitions as imaginative constructions of body, identity, and relationship to society, can be at the forefront of this revolution. This workshop is an interactive discussion on how trans and gender nonconforming people can be among the first to evolve toward the posthuman.