Gender & Family Project

The Gender & Family Project (GFP) empowers youth, families and communities by providing gender affirmative services, training and research. GFP promotes gender inclusivity as a form of social justice in all the systems involved in the life of the family. GFP is directed by Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT, who has trained and published nationally and internationally on issues of gender and sexuality.

What is Gender Variance?

Listen to Jean Malpas speak about gender identity and expression in children as well as how gender expansiveness affect parents and parenting.

Clinical and Community Services

GFP offers a range of affirmative services, including:

– Support group for parents of children up to 13 years old (once a month, Friday 5-7pm).
– Play group for children and tweens 5 to 13 years old (once a month, Friday 5-7pm)
– Sibling Groups for sibling of gender expansive and transgender youth (once a month, Friday 5-7pm).
– Support group for parents of adolescents 14 years old and up (once a month, Friday 6-8pm).
– Support group for adolescents 14 to 18 years old (once a month, Friday 6-8pm).
– Spanish-speaking parent support group and play group for children 5-13 (once a month, Saturdays 1-3pm).
– Affirmative psychological evaluation by clinical psychologist, Randi Kaufman, Psy.D.
– Family therapy and parental coaching.

For more information, please download the GFP Postcard

For more information about scheduling an intake, please call GFP at 212.879.4900, extension 150 or email gfp@ackerman.org. We will be delighted to get back to you promptly.

Support Group for Parents of Children up to 13 years old

Many parents feel concerned and uncertain about how to handle their children’s gender expression or identity when these identities do not align with social expectations or the child’s birth sex. While parents can access information online, they might feel isolated, and struggle to find other parents who can understand their dilemmas or appreciate their family accomplishments. While some parents find it easier to embrace gender-variance, other parents find themselves uncertain as to how best protect and nurture a child with gender fluidity.

Our professionally facilitated support group provides parents a space to share their experiences, explore their dilemmas and hear the solutions and successes that other parents have found with their families. While emphasizing parents’ agenda, the group focuses on providing concrete means to foster positive parent-child relationships in an atmosphere that nurtures children’s development. Issues of disclosure to family members and friends, psychosocial and medical treatment, advocacy in schools, faith communities and other institutions as well as children with non-binary identities are addressed.

The group meets on a monthly basis on Friday between 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. It is facilitated by Jean Malpas, and runs simultaneously with the Play Group for Gender Expansive children/support group for teens. We ask that families complete one face to face intake before joining the group. Fee is determined on a sliding scale based on income and ability to pay.

Play Group for Children

The playgroup is open to all gender-expansive and transgender children between the ages of 5 and 13. The group provides children with an affirming space where they can socialize, play and engage in creative activities with other children expressing comparable ranges of gender fluidity. It is especially designed to run concurrently with the parents group and conveniently allows parents to meet while their children are having supervised fun in the same building. The group is facilitated by Project Clinical Associates Benjamin Davis, Astin Brown, Shannon Sennott and Rebecca Ross.

Support Group for Parents of Adolescents 14 Years Old and Older.

Parenting gender-expansive and transgender adolescents can present similar challenges to parenting younger gender-fluid children. Many parents find comfort in having a community of peers where they can share their struggles, doubts, achievements and be understood by other parents navigating similar questions. In addition, parenting transgender adolescents who are entering, or are well into puberty, can confront parents with dilemmas specific to that developmental phase, such as whether or not to undertake hormonal therapy and/or gender affirming surgeries, navigating medical insurance and providers, finding affirmative high school and colleges, addressing dating and sexuality and more.

The group meets once a month on Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. The parents support group is professionally facilitated by Randi Kaufman, PsyD during the with Adolescent Support Group, so the entire family can be supported at the same time.We ask that families complete one face to face intake before joining the group.. Fee is determined on a sliding scale based on income and ability to pay.

Support Group for Gender Expansive and Transgender Adolescents

This support group welcomes adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 years old. The group provides teens with a safe space where they can share experiences around transition, socialization and other challenges. It is an interactive and empowering space that also emphasizes resilience and mutual support. It is especially designed to run concurrently with the parents group once a month on Friday from 6pm-7pm, and conveniently allows parents of teenagers to meet in the same building. The group is facilitated by Project Clinical Associates Astin Brown and Rebecca Ross.

Sibling Group

While most siblings are accepting and understanding of their gender-expansive and transgender family member, siblings face specific challenges that require attention and support. They too need to navigate the issues of disclosure to friends and peers in school. They might worry about their sibling or want to be more involved in the meaningful conversation their family is having about gender development. Or they might simply want a space to talk about something else!

The sibling groups meet every three months along with the Friday night play group and the teen groups at the Ackerman Institute. It is professionally facilitated.

Spanish-Speaking Support Groups

How can our family navigate multiple cultures of gender? How to affirm children while our extended family is abroad and does not understand gender identity? Spanish-speaking and immigrant families deserve a space where they can express themselves in their mother tongue, as well as where the complexities of acculturation and cross-cultural and generational challenges can be understood and processed.

The Parent and Play groups meet once a month on Saturdays from 1 to 3pm at the Ackerman Institute. It is professionally facilitated by GFP Clinical Associates Claudia Narvaez-Meza and Silvia Espinal, as well as by parent peer facilitators Enrique y Isolda.

Psychological Evaluations

The psychological evaluation of your child is designed to provide a flexible, individualized approach to care, allowing for the unique circumstances of the youth and family, to provide optimal treatment. Our model relies on existing national and international guidelines and standards for working with transgender individuals developed by various disciplines. Consistent with Ackerman’s Relational Model, gender is viewed from a socio-cultural framework and is based on an understanding of gender variation as part of an expected diversity, rather than pathology.

The goals of evaluation are to further understand the child and family’s needs, and to recommend treatment options, which may include medical intervention. The evaluation consists of extensive interviews of the youth and family, and measures of mental health, social functioning, and gender identity. With consent, we will reach out to any collateral providers, and we will review relevant documents (e.g., neuropsychological evaluations), as appropriate. The rationale for numerous measures and methods of information gathering is to obtain the most authentic and comprehensive clinical picture possible.

In the clinical interview we will gather family and developmental history, school/academic history, mental health and medical history, strengths, and support systems. We will also explore the youth’s gender history, including the youth’s own experience of gender across time, gender presentation/expression, and sexual orientation. A full clinical report is written that integrates the information, and provides a formulation and recommendations. The team psychologist then meets with the family to review this information and formulate a treatment plan for moving forward.

Family Therapy and Parental Coaching

GFP supports the entire family through gender exploration and transition. Our family therapist can help strengthen family relationships while exploring gender-related or any other relevant challenges for the entire family. Our approach to family therapy and parental coaching is steeped into a deep understand of research on gender development, as well as a belief in family resilience and connection as core factors for health and well being.

School and Professional Training

GFP offers consultation and training to mental health professionals, educators and agencies involved with gender expansive and transgender children, adolescents and their families. For more information about training, please contact program manager Lizzie Glaeser at lglaeser@ackerman.org

School Trainings

GFP offers consultation, training and resources to create gender inclusive schools. Programs aim at collaborating with the school administration, faculty, and staff to deepen their understanding of gender diversity and its connection to academic and emotional success for all students. GFP supports schools to create or enhance an atmosphere of respect and safety in which optimal learning can be achieved. Training and education is also available for parents and students of all ages. Download our Gender Inclusivity Overview here:

Gender Inclusivity Training Overview.

If you are located in the NYC area, GFP can support your school in understanding and implementing the NYC Department of Education’s Guidelines for Transgender Students by evaluating your school or your child’s school’s level of gender inclusivity. For more information, please download the worksheet below:

School Action Plan

GFP works by integrating gender affirmative material from existing research and advancement in educational policies. Please download our list of education-related resources here:

School Resources

Contact:
For more information on GFP please email gfp@ackerman.org

Or call: 212 879-4900, ext. 150

To become a friend of GFP, please contact Adriana Londono at alondono@ackerman.org

Follow the Gender & Family Project and join the conversation:
https://www.facebook.com/genderandfamilyproject 
https://www.twitter.com/genderandfamily

Publications and Resources

Families and Gender:
1. Malpas, J. (2011). Between pink and blue: A multi-dimensional family approach to gender nonconforming children and their families, Family Process, 50, 4, pp. 453-470.
2. Listen to Jean Malpas’ Psychotherapy Networker workshop on Gender Fluidity at: http://www.playbacknetworker.com/between-pink-and-blue-exploring-gender-fluidity
3. Listen to Jean Malpas’ Ackerman podcast on gender non-conforming youths.

Couples and Gender:
1. Malpas, J. (in press, 2012). Can Couples Change Gender: Couple Therapy with Transgender People and their Partners. In Bigner, J. & Wechtler, J. (Eds) Handbook of Couple and Family Therapy with LGBT People. New York: Routledge.
2. Malpas, J. (2006). From ‘Otherness’ to Alliance: Transgender Couples in Therapy. In Journal of GLBT Family Studies, Volume 2, Numbers ¾, pp. 183-206.

 

Watch Jean Malpas discuss Gender in our Short Conversations series:

Podcast

Worshop Series

Suzanne Iasenza PhD

Short Conversations

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Upcoming Workshops

  • Secrets in Families and Family Therapy

    Secrets have existed throughout time. In every culture, beliefs about secrecy, privacy and openness contribute to a crucial decision – should I keep a secret? Should I open a secret? As therapists, we are witnesses to the complexity of our clients’ secrets. Whether shaped in the interior of a family fifty years ago or yesterday, secrets carry powerful new meanings in today’s culture. In this workshop, participants will learn a multi-systemic model for working effectively with secrets.

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  • Breathwork and Meditation for Therapists: Integrate Stress-Reduction Techniques into Your Practice

    Psychotherapists looking to compliment their practices can benefit greatly from mind-body practices rooted in yoga, qigong and Buddhist meditation. Coherent Breathing and Open Focus Meditation are two highly effective self-regulation techniques that help relieve anxiety, improve focus and increase one’s feeling of well-being.

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  • Two Approaches to Healing Ruptured Bonds: Ackerman Relational Trauma Therapy and Attachment Focused Family Therapy

    This two day workshop offers an opportunity for participants to experience two different, but complimentary approaches to working with children and family members to resolve conflicts and traumatic experiences.

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  • Family-Based Treatment for Adolescent Eating Disorders: An Introduction to the Principles and Practice of the “Maudsley Method”

    Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are pernicious eating disorders that typically onset in adolescence and are associated with disruptions in physical and psychological development. Revised diagnostic criteria in DSM-5 are more developmentally sensitive and will improve case identification, which in turn will increase the demand for effective interventions.

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  • Rekindling Intimacy: A Clinical Framework for Couples Therapists

    When couples come to therapy their yearnings for intimacy are often buried behind encrusted resentments, disappointments and power struggles. This workshop offers a valuable clinical framework to help couples get beneath their defensiveness and rekindle emotional and sexual intimacy in their relationships.

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Sex therapist Suzanne Iasenza, PhD, will be at Ackerman tomorrow presenting, visit our website for more info! http://t.co/zUFhpwRhcT

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