S6 EP 9: Counseling Couples Through Gender Transition with Dr. Gary Bischof

Guest: Dr. Gary Bischof

Dr. Gary Bischof is a professor and coordinator of the Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling Program in the Dept of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology at Western Michigan University. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in the treatment of couples navigating the gender transition of one of the partners. In this episode, he discusses the pitfalls for couples negotiating gender transition, the factors that can lead to couples staying together, and what competent couples therapy looks like for couples in this situation.

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3 responses to “S6 EP 9: Counseling Couples Through Gender Transition with Dr. Gary Bischof”

  1. susan relic says:

    I shuddered at the end when he announced he was teaching a graduate course on transgender couple therapy! Such superficiality and lack of knowledge about the whole trans debate. Kristin, you did a marvellous job of exposing his lack of rigour. You would be so much better as a counsellor! He may or may not be good at “ordinary” couples therapy but a quick immersion in trans issues (mainly immersed in trans ideology) does not an expert make. I hope the interview taught him something.

  2. Laurah says:

    As a trans widow, I feel unheard. I feel my ex’s needs trumped anything I had to say or feel, and I feel Dr Bischof hasn’t really focussed on the needs of the partner.
    He hasn’t really acknowledged that we have often been lied to for a life time with our partners.

    I am amazed that 50% of couples stay together – perhaps I just haven’t come accross those individuals, as I am aware of 100’s who haven’t wanted to stay together.

    The impact on the children is touched on, but in reality is not really considered how often the children’s lives are blown apart.

    I agree that there needs to be a lot of work done on supporting the straight partner and how to let them have time and space to process the shock.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I was really interested in what Dr. Bischof had to say and I really respect him for taking into account both the trans and cis partner’s perspectives and feelings. As a cis partner I definitely feel neglected and unheard a lot of the time and feel as though I am walking on eggshells in order to not be deemed transphobic just for having a hard time coming to terms with my long term partner changing in such a dramatic way. It would be great to be able to feel comfortable having the space for my feelings but I don’t feel like I’m allowed most of the time. It’s very isolating going through this alone and it would be nice if there weren’t such black and white opinions on the subject in general.

    I understand that this group’s initial focus was on heterosexual partners coming to terms with their newly out gay/lesbian/bi partners but I don’t think using the term straight spouse really fits with people going through what I am. Gender identity is separate from sexual identity. I don’t like that even after being corrected, the host continued to use that term. It also made me uncomfortable when she said that being a trans woman is a paraphilia and that they are into autogynephilia. It really revealed that the host is actually a bigot in sheeps clothing who needs to do some critical self-reflection.

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