Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling & Psychology

First Advisor

Sue L. Motulsky, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Peiwei Li, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sebastian Barr, Ph.D.


Reflecting the systemic cisgenderism within dominant culture, transgender perspectives have been historically silenced in psychological literature. There is growing research regarding therapy with transgender clients; however, transgender therapists have not been the subject of substantial study. This critical narrative dissertation explores the experiences and insights of transgender therapists during clinical supervision. Drawing from intersectional feminism, queer theory and liberation psychology, this study utilizes a critical, relational approach in attending to issues of power, oppression, and social change. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight transgender therapists regarding their experiences in supervision.

Employing the Listening Guide method, a feminist narrative voice-centered approach, analysis included three sequential listenings to participant stories (Gilligan, 2015). Disrupting normative discourse on transgender experience, findings examine both affirming and cisgenderist experiences in supervision, participant resilience, resistance to cisgenderism, and recommendations for supervisors. The discussion tracks voice and silence, making evident the multiplicity and layered meanings related to identity, relationship, and power within participant experience. The discussion illuminates these constructs through an examination of contrapuntal voices of self-preservation and resistance, knowing and not knowing, connection and disconnection. Drawing from relational cultural theory (RCT), critical and liberation psychology, and building from the findings in this study, recommendations are presented for clinical supervisors focused on developing critical relational capacity, an integration of relationality, critical consciousness, and analyses of power.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Number of Pages