Date of Award

Fall 12-1-2017

Degree Type



Department of Counselor Education

First Advisor

Summer Reiner


Trans individuals as a population are more likely to endure the effects of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations as well as discrimination, violence, and traumatic experiences compared to the general population. To begin to understand these experiences, five trans women participated in this study in order to explore their mental health symptoms with the quality of their relationships with their family, friends, partners, and within the community, specifically counselors. As a result, participants grounded their identity in their religious or spiritual beliefs in order to counter their families’ dismissal of their identity. Participants disclosed the nature of their experiences regarding the pressure to meet societal expectations, dealing with their mental health, trauma, and social isolation as their identity development progressed. Implications for counseling are discussed as it relates to building resiliency and using the counseling relationship as a beginning to establish support.