What To Tell A Shrink

Screen shot 2013-03-25 at 11.03.42 AM

Dear Dr. Darcy:

The Department of Veterans Affairs diagnosed me with PTSD several years ago. I see a psychiatrist about every two months. Is it important that I tell her about my cross-dressing?

ANSWER

I think it’s probably important to tell your doctor anything and everything that you feel might broaden her understanding of who you are.  With that said, your question appears to imply that cross-dressing is indicative of (or in and of itself is) a psychological problem, and I want to be clear that I don’t agree.

Your question also brings up a separate issue for me which is that most mental health professionals suck at performing thorough assessments. Your psychiatrist should have known about your cross-dressing in the first appointment because she should have asked if you’ve ever cross-dressed.  She should have asked what your sexual orientation was. She should have asked you every conceivable question and taken responsibility for knowing you inside and out. Too often, the burden of providing a thorough history is placed on the patient, and I believe this is SO WRONG.  It presupposes that patients can differentiate between important information and unimportant information, which they can’t and shouldn’t have to.  My assessments take no less than 2 hours and sometimes as long as 3 and at the end of the appointment, I know who’s sitting in front of me. How can we diagnose or make proper treatment recommendations if we don’t have a full picture of our patient? I can’t help but wonder what other information your shrink may have missed.

If there’s a part of you that hasn’t made peace with your cross-dressing (or that wants to explore your sexual orientation), you may want to see a therapist who can speak with you about it and help you make sense of it. Most psychiatrists do not provide therapy, rather, they write prescriptions. I’d be happy to give you some names if you’d like. Let me know.

Writer’s stats: Male,Bi-curious cross dresser.