Gatekeeping psychologists

At the moment transgender people often still are forced to see a psychologist. We don’t see the logic in that. An example: someone’s mother lives in a little village in the north of the Netherlands. Let’s assume she has serious concerns about her son. She becomes so worried that one day she decides to go see a psychologist: she wants this psychologist to interfere and keep an eye on her son, because he has moved to a place near Amsterdam and his mother reads the newspaper: it is full of stories about robberies, street fights, drugs and prostitution - she is sure he will get into trouble. The mother asks the psychologist to see her son every 3 months and report to her on how he is doing...

What will this counseling psychologist do? Help the mother, or force her son to make use of the psychologist’s services to protect him against himself?

I think every counseling psychologist knows the answer: the son will not be forced to accept help, but the psychologist will investigate the mother’s concerns. The psychologist will try to find out what she fears exactly, where these fears are coming from and subsequently he will assist her in accepting that hair son is an adult and that she can no longer tell him what to do. If the psychologist does his work well, the son will only notice that his mother isn’t as worried as she used to be. If everything works the way it should, the son will never meet his mother’s psychologist because the problem of being over-protective is solved and not the "problem" that he has moved to the Amsterdam area.


Now another example. A transgender person needs hormones or an operation. The doctor worries about the way transgender people make decisions and has the opinion that transgender people are not capable of making the right decisions based on their own criteria. He is also afraid all sorts of mental disorders, unresolved traumas and bad coping mechanisms will surface.

What does the gatekeeping psychologist do?

He doesn’t do the same as the counseling psychologist did in our previous example. The gatekeeping psychologist will go along with the fears of the care provider; he will examine the transgender person, and will accompany this person in their “difficult route”. And after that the gatekeeping psychologist decides about the need for hormones and operations for this person and about the person’s capability to make decisions inde