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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Further Along: The Transition at Work

I've been negligent about keeping up my blog. I haven't been nearly as prolific about writing anything as of late and usually I'm researching and writing, but all my energy has been poured into the transition at work.

This is mainly due to having to disclose to all my patients. Considering that my gender identity was a carefully guarded secret until I was almost 40.  Even after that, my true gender was only known to my ex wife and my present wife. The exception was that of a handful of other transgendered friends online up until about 4 years ago when I made the decision to begin my protracted transition that I am just now completing.

While I am very comfortable in every day life, this has not been the case with my primary work activity as a therapist locally. I can't say that I have really been distressed from disclosing to over 75 people since November, it hasn't been comfortable at times, particularly with my established patients. I haven't felt as much stress over telling my new patients that I wish to work with individually. I have nothing invested in them to begin with and they haven't formed an attachment to me in one session to the degree my other patients have.

The wonderful news is that to date, I have been able to retain 100% of my established patients, somewhere over 45 patients. With the new patients, I have had  82% who wish to work with me after my disclosing that I am transitioning soon. These retention rates are beyond my wildest expectation. I had shared with my supervisor at the beginning of this process that I expected to lose somewhere between 20 and 30% of my patients.

Until I actually transition, sometime in early to mid April, I continue to disclose to new patients and the very few established patients I have left who I see infrequently. I will be glad when this is over and when I see a new patient they meet Lauren and no explanation will be necessary nor offered.

Overall this process has been very easy; the people I work with have been quite wonderful and totally supportive. The women of the office have really reached out to make me feel like "one of the girls". Recently, Patty and I were invited to a coworker's home for dinner and another female therapist was a guest. It was the first time they had had an opportunity to meet me as I really am. They were as comfortable with me as I was with them and this further raises my confidence in making a smooth work transition.

The thing I think that was most critical in paving the way to a successful transition at work is that I have emphasized that while my transition is voluntary, theirs is not, and I recognize that for them to make this adjustment after having known me for so long, many of them for almost 12 years, is a huge adjustment. I think they have all been admirable in making the adjustment and it is a constant reminder that I am very blessed to be working where I am without fear of losing my job and with such wonderful people. I know so many who have not had that experience.

8 comments:

  1. Lauren, I don't how I missed the name change and all but congratulations!

    Years ago I had two friends who changed their name upon completing SRS. Many I think consider it frivolous but indeed it's a solid move after we have a chance to really consider our gender transition.
    In my own case, in hindsight I would have made a different name choice but now i'm so entrenched I can't even consider it.

    None of this is about me! I'm so happy your work is coming along so well. It's an inspiration to us all!!

    Cyrsti

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  2. JinianVictoria@yahoo.comMarch 6, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Lauren, Congratulations on your successful path personally and professionally. You mentioned something that struck a chord that I, personally think has been and is always overlooked. We focus primarily on our individual paths but forget that others also have to make the transition with us, like family and friends and that those paths will also be very hard and many will never make it with us. I discovered that, at least in my case, that I also had to be the caretaker and helper to them in understanding what and why I was doing this. And the doing of it clarified a awful lot of things for me as well as a side effect. To transition in never easier for us but I suspect is infinitely harder for those who know and love us. We all know those who can never accept our new selves and that is the rub....we have to at least try to help them understand and accept it but as we cannot force them to we in many cases feel incomplete in some small way because those people are in some way responsible for making us who we are. Lets not forget them. Again, congratulations. JinianVictoria

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  3. Lauren, I could not imagine a better transition of a professional career than you have had and I am very happy for you.

    God bless,
    Marsha

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  4. Considering all the struggles you've had I would never have thought you as judgemental yet it's true.

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  5. Hello Anonymous,
    Thank you for posting your comment. I reviewed the above article to try to understand where you formed the impression that I am judgmental, but was unable to understand from what I wrote here how you came to that opinion. I suspect that you read things elsewhere on my blog that led you to your conclusion.

    It would be more helpful to me and to my readers if you posted this on an article in which you think what I wrote was judgmental and that you identify specifically what it is that you object to that I have written.

    Generally I do not allow negative opinions from anonymous posters on my blog, but I am making an exception here because of the polite nature of your comment.

    Again, thank you for commenting and please feel free to post further comments and flesh out your opinion, provided that you do not hide behind the cloak of anonymity. I can assure you that I have no interest or time to retaliate against someone who does not agree with me. We all need vigorous and robust discussions so that we each can come to our own beliefs about what we read.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry for the outburst. I used to be one of your patients. I have been dealing with gender identity for a while but never got to talk about it.

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    2. Thank you, I accept your apology. I hope that you have found someone who can help you sort out your gender identity issue. I do wish you all the best and hope you can find a place that is comfortable with your gender identity so that you can feel congruent. It's a very difficult journey at time.
      Lauren

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  6. Thank you
    http://www.nature.com/news/over-half-of-psychology-studies-fail-reproducibility-test-1.18248

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