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      Somatic Experiencing ® Informed Therapeutic Group for the Care and Treatment of Biopsychosocial Effects upon a Gender Diverse Identity

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          Somatic Experiencing ® (SE™) is a resiliency-based treatment for autonomic nervous systems dysregulation syndromes, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and physical syndromes like chronic pain, migraines, and fibromyalgia. “Transgender/gender non-conforming/gender variant” describes people whose gender identity/expression is different, at least part of the time, from the sex assigned at birth. Research indicates transgender individuals have a higher incidence of depression, anxiety, victimization, and discrimination. SE™ tools may support transgender/gender non-conforming individuals to increase resilience in the face of discrimination and social injustice.


          This study is a pretest posttest within group ( N = 7) pilot study assessing the impact of a 10 session SE™ based group treatment on depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), somatic symptoms (PHQ-15), quality of life (QoL) (WHOQoL-BREF), and coping with discrimination (CDS) for a cohort of seven individuals identifying as transgender/gender non-conforming. Materials were created in collaboration with members of the LGBTQIA community. Care was taken to be inclusive of gender non-conforming identities and culturally responsive in design.


          Participants described their gender identities as: non-binary, female to male, male to female, and gender fluid. Participants had significant increase in psychological QoL (psychological well-being) (WHOQoL-BREF) p = 0.004, SD = 2.31, with a modest effect size of d = 0.71. Some likely impacts of historical effect discussed. No other clinical or QoL outcomes were statistically significant. However, one outlier was identified in the dataset. When this outlier was excluded there was a trend toward significant reduction in depression symptoms (PhQ-9) p = 0.097, SD = 3.31 and a modest effect size of d = 0.68; somatic symptoms (PhQ-15) p = 0.093, SD = 3.52 and a modest effect size of d = 0.72.


          These data indicate that a brief 10 session intervention of SE™ could have a meaningful impact on symptoms of depression, somatization, and QoL for gender non-conforming individuals. Further research is warranted.


          First, this study has a small sample size limiting statistical power and generalizability. Second is a history effect. Less than 1 week prior to final data collection, there was a significant hate-motivated act in Florida targeting the LGBTQIA community.

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          Most cited references 34

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          Racial microaggressions in everyday life: implications for clinical practice.

          Racial microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color. Perpetrators of microaggressions are often unaware that they engage in such communications when they interact with racial/ethnic minorities. A taxonomy of racial microaggressions in everyday life was created through a review of the social psychological literature on aversive racism, from formulations regarding the manifestation and impact of everyday racism, and from reading numerous personal narratives of counselors (both White and those of color) on their racial/cultural awakening. Microaggressions seem to appear in three forms: microassault, microinsult, and microinvalidation. Almost all interracial encounters are prone to microaggressions; this article uses the White counselor--client of color counseling dyad to illustrate how they impair the development of a therapeutic alliance. Suggestions regarding education and training and research in the helping professions are discussed. ((c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved).
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            Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender-Nonconforming People, Version 7

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              Self-Reported Experiences of Discrimination and Health: Scientific Advances, Ongoing Controversies, and Emerging Issues


                Author and article information

                Front Psychiatry
                Front Psychiatry
                Front. Psychiatry
                Frontiers in Psychiatry
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                27 February 2018
                : 9
                1Healing Concepts, LLC , Hollywood, FL, United States
                2Embodied Liberation , South Portland, ME, United States
                3Integrated Health Psychology Training Program, Wright Institute , Berkeley, CA, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Rebecca Thwing Emeny, Geisel School of Medicine, United States

                Reviewed by: Jana Chihai, Nicolae Testemiţanu State University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Moldova; Maia P. Smith, St. George’s University, Grenada

                *Correspondence: Paul C. Briggs, healingconcepts@

                Specialty section: This article was submitted to Public Mental Health, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry

                Copyright © 2018 Briggs, Hayes and Changaris.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 6, Equations: 0, References: 49, Pages: 18, Words: 12967
                Original Research


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