Finding a counsellor

Finding a counsellor

Counsellors can be a supportive resource for many reasons, including exploring gender identity and receiving care for mental health concerns. 

How to find a counsellor

There are many ways to find a counsellor if you are interested in taking that step. We have included a few suggestions below. You should use your judgment to determine if a counsellor is a good fit as Trans Care BC does not vet the counsellors listed on the websites below.

Primary care

Speak to your primary care provider A person’s main health care provider in non-emergency situations such as check-ups and referrals. Family doctors, general practitioners (GPs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) are all primary care providers. about whether counselling resources are available through the clinic you are attached to. Clinics that are a part of primary care networks may have free mental health services available. Additionally, if you attend a community health centre or similar clinic, mental health services may included in their offerings and available for you to use. 

Searchable databases of counsellors

These websites allow you to search by area are well as counseling topics:

Community counselling services

Some community services, such as neighborhood houses, have counselling options available — typically at a lower cost. Examples include:

Youth services

Counselling resources for young people are available through some community and youth services. Young people can also access a B.C.-wide network of youth hubs through Foundry BC which offers mental health support among other services.

What has changed with mental health?


Over the years, doctors and other medical professionals have used different words to talk about the experiences of some transgender people. These words have included transsexualism, gender identity A person's deeply held, internal sense of themself as male, female, a blend of both or neither. (Source: disorder, gender dysphoria Distress resulting from a difference between a person’s gender and their sex assigned at birth, associated gender role, and/or primary and secondary sex characteristics. (Source: WPATH) and gender incongruence A mismatch between a person's gender and the sex they were assigned at birth. . These days, the terms gender dysphoria and gender incongruence are used most often.

  • Gender dysphoria is a term used to describe the feelings of distress some trans people experience related to gender — particularly if they would like to transition but have not yet done so. Not all trans people who access gender-affirming care Processes through which a health care system cares for and supports an individual while recognizing and acknowledging their gender and expression. experience gender dysphoria or relate to this term. 
  • Gender incongruence is a term used to describe the experience of having a gender that differs from what was assumed at birth, whether or not a person also experiences distress.


Many trans people experience mental health concerns which is understandable given the many external stressors and challenges some people face.

The diagnoses of gender dysphoria and gender incongruence more accurately reflect trans people’s experiences and help them get the health care they need. Not only has the language used by health professionals changed, but the way gender diversity is viewed has also shifted.

Treatment & support

Professionals agree that nobody's identity is considered a disorder.

The World Professional Association of Transgender Health Version 8 (WPATH 8) states that gender dysphoria and incongruence can be alleviated through medically necessary Treatments, procedures or services that health care professionals determine are essential for diagnosing or treating a medical condition based on established medical guidelines and individual patient needs. treatment. Before, people needed to be assessed by a psychologist or psychiatrist prior to medical transition Process of undergoing the medical steps a person deems necessary in order to more closely align their physical body with their gender. This may include hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgeries. , but now, for most people, it’s not required. Today, many people can access different types  of care through their primary care provider or another provider who has received training in trans health.

Finding the emotional and mental wellness support that you need is essential. For some people, this might be a peer support group. For others, individual counselling is a good option because it can be tailored to meet your unique needs.


Finding the right fit

If you decide to get counselling, take the time to find a counsellor who makes you feel comfortable. Some counsellors may have experience working with trans people, while others may not have that experience. It’s okay to ask potential counsellors about their familiarity with trans issues before meeting with them.

The key is to find a counsellor who supports you. If the first one you visit does not feel right, try someone else until you find a person who works for you.

How mental health supports can help

Though not every trans person will experience emotional stress or feel the need for counselling, there are some practical reasons why mental health supports are beneficial. 

Having a counsellor may be helpful if you are socially or medically transitioning. Transition is when many changes may happen, such as coming out to family or friends, entering into a new relationship, beginning hormone replacement therapy or planning for a surgery

Having a counsellor can be comforting because they can reassure you that your feelings are normal and support you through successes and challenges. Everybody goes through emotional ups and downs in life.

Reasons you might go to a counsellor

There are several reasons you may seek counselling:

  • You might be exploring your gender or having some complicated feelings related to your gender or transition.
  • You might be feeling stressed about coming out to a loved one or feeling sad, depressed or anxious about transitioning.
  • You might be feeling suicidal.
  • You might be searching for peace and balance.

All of these experiences are good reasons to seek out mental and emotional health support. A counsellor can work with you on your goals, help you manage anxieties and help you explore healthy coping strategies.

Need support?

Contact our team of experienced health navigators for information about gender-affirming care in B.C.