Exploring Clinical Approaches in Working with Gender Questioning Young People
The British Psychoanalytic Council
Date: Saturday, 25 March 2023
Time: 13.00 – 17.00
Venue: Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA
This event is for current BPC Registrants only.
In recent years the number of young people seeking referral to gender development services has undergone a dramatic increase, for reasons that are not fully understood. Many clinicians fear that it will turn out to be a phenomenon that is socially driven and will result in a high number of those who have medically transitioned later regretting it and seeking to reverse the process. We know that, of the young people seeking help with gender dysphoria, some will pursue medical transition when it becomes possible, while many will not, and this uncertainty therefore places a weighty responsibility on the therapist who seeks to help the young person make their own best decision. The noisy polarised debate that has arisen in many quarters, including among politicians, about what should be done about the long waiting lists for treatment, can drown out open minded consideration of clinical evidence.
This event brings together clinicians who are working with this client group and aims to focus on their experience and the particular challenges that the work presents. We intend to consider issues which have become divisive and attempt to ground them in the clinical setting. For instance, these speakers will discuss how they understand the expressions “affirmative therapy”, and “watchful waiting”. They will discuss how they deal with the need to maintain an open mind about all possible outcomes, uncertain whether the young person will choose to pursue of a form of physical gender transition, or whether, given the opportunity to think through this intention, will later abandon the idea, or decide that it is their sexual orientation that is the issue.
After the main discussion with the speakers, there will be time in small groups, followed by a final plenary session at the close.
This is an in person event only with limited spaces, and will not be recorded. Light refreshments will be provided.
Alessandra Lemma, Fellow of the British Psychoanalytic Society and Chartered Clinical Psychologist, is a Visiting Professor in the Psychoanalysis Unit, University College London and Consultant, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. For 16 years she worked at the Tavistock Clinic where she was, at different stages, Head of Psychology and Professor of Psychological Therapies in conjunction with Essex University. She was a recipient of the 2022 Sigourney Award in recognition of her inventive theoretical and clinical contributions to understanding body modification practices, the impacts of technology on psychic functioning and transgender identities as well as for her efforts in developing and disseminating worldwide a brief psychoanalytic intervention for mood disorders. Her most recent book is: Transgender identities: A contemporary Introduction (2022; London, Routledge).
Dr Aidan Kelly is a Clinical Psychologist registered in the UK with the Healthcare Professionals Council. He received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2015 and is a member of the Association of Clinical Psychologists UK (ACP-UK), the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) and the British Association for Gender Identity Specialists (BAGIS). Dr Aidan Kelly has been working in gender services since 2016, initially at GIDS, and has specialist skills in the assessments of gender identity needs and making recommendations for gender affirming medical treatments, where appropriate, for children and adults.
Facilitator and Chair
Louise Lyon is a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist. She worked for many years in the Adolescent and Young Adult Service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. She held a number of senior positions and was an Executive Director on the Trust Board from 2008 to 2019. She ran monthly psychoanalytic case discussion groups for staff in the Gender Identity Development Service for 6 years until retiring from the Trust in 2021. She currently works in private practice.
Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA