Leading New Jersey & New York City Mental Health Organization Announces the Launch of Therapy Support Groups for Transgender Youth and their Parents

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The Institute for Personal Growth (IPG), a major provider of psychotherapy and counseling services to the transgender community since 1983, is very pleased to announce the formation of two Gender Spectrum Supportive Therapy Groups, beginning Saturday, June 16. One Therapy Group is for gender non-conforming or transgender youth, ages 13 and up and the other new Group is for parents and guardians of gender variant youth of any age.

The Institute for Personal Growth (IPG), a leading outpatient mental health organization with four offices in New Jersey and New York City, has a number of parents and young people reaching out to IPG concerning youth gender-variant and transgender issues. This has led the company to create two therapy support groups for people to have a place to discuss, to learn and to meet with other people sharing their concerns and questions.

Both groups will be facilitated by IPG's experienced staff of licensed psychologists and social workers.

The first introductory sessions (free of charge) for both groups will be on June 16, from 1:00-3:00 in our Highland Park office.

IPG has long recognized the variety of transgender identities and the evolving nature of the community - because IPG's therapists work within that community every day. IPG accepts people where they are in their life, and the therapists help them figure out where they want to go. For clients who do want to transition, IPG works within the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) ethical guidelines, providing the support needed in order to move forward in their journey. For clients who are unsure of or don't want medical intervention, the organization's therapists help them figure out their unique path.

In recent years The Institute for Personal Growth has become one of the few groups of therapists willing to work with gender variant children and teens. IPG is able to help families assess whether their child is among the small number of gender variant children who are potentially transgender. When that is clearly true, the therapists help with "social transitions", and refer, when appropriate, to special pediatric endocrinologists who are able to prescribe hormone-blocking treatments for young adolescents and cross-hormone therapy for older teens. IPG provides a completely supportive environment for all members of the family and, when needed, the organization is not afraid to advocate for clients with social institutions such as schools.

IPG's work with gender variant people is guided by the concept of the "transgender continuum" or "transgender spectrum". Simply put, this means that IPG's therapists believe that gender identity, like sexual orientation, varies widely and normally in humans as in other animals, and that it is "hard-wired". Many people squeeze themselves into a two-gender system easily and unconsciously. But others are gender variant, meaning that this binary, biology-driven system is too limiting for them.

The mainstream view is that gender variant people are either transsexuals - i.e, headed towards full medical treatment including gender reassignment surgery - or transvestites - i.e., cross-dressers with no interest in full-time "transitioning". IPG recognizes that as our culture offers an increasing number of gender options, transgender pioneers are developing a multitude of identities and that some people are more gender-fluid than we realized. IPG is very pleased to offer these groups as a new service for both young people and their parents to explore the gender options.

About IPG:

IPG, founded by President and Executive Director Dr. Margaret Nichols, has led New Jersey in providing expert outpatient psychotherapy and counseling since 1983, treating individuals, couples, families, and children for problems ranging from depression and anxiety to addictions, relationship problems and life crises. We are AASECT-certified sex therapists with a large sex therapy practice. In addition to serving the general public, we were among the first practices in the country to offer therapy by and for gay people. Over the years we defined a primary part of our mission as service to all sexual and gender variant people. We've never strayed from our committment to lesbian, gay and bisexual clients and we are proud that we serve more transgender people than any other organization in New Jersey, including transgender teens and gender variant children. We are internationally known for our work with the L/G/B/T/Q communities and other lifestyle and sexual minorities.

Visit us online at http://www.ipgcounseling.com and http://ipgcounseling.blogspot.com and http://www.facebook.com/InstituteforPersonalGrowth.

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