Therapy and BIID
The following was taken (with permission) from a few posts on a Yahoo! mailing list.
The poster said:
As an adult I underwent twice-weekly psychotherapy for almost ten years in an attempt to overcome this desire/dream. It hasn't worked in one sense: I am not "cured" of BIID. But therapy has helped me enormously to crystallize my feelings and help me accept who I am and what I want.
What kind/style of psychotherapy was it? Was it always with the same therapist??? Were courses of medications attempted as well? Did the therapist(s) know about BIID before hand or did you have to educate them? If you had to educate them, what was their reaction and how did you tell them about it? Tell us all!
To which the poster responded:
It was the same therapist. MY understanding is that it was a psychodynamic approach, but that there was no one defined school of psychiatry involved. The therapist is reasonably well-known among his peers. No medication was sought or offered. I underwent therapy between 1994 and 2004. At that initial stage I don't think BIID was known or understood to anything like the same extent as it is today (not that it's much understood now). However, I did not experience any rejection or simplistic attempt to "cure" me.
Although I was a private patient, he also worked at an institute where transgender and similar issues are apparently part of the overall practice, so his initial mechanism for relating & responding to my own feelings was based on his experiences in that parallel but separate field. As the sessions went on over the months I sensed that he started off with a very sketchy knowledge (and so did I) and we both moved to a greater understanding as time went on, in both our cases through external learning and research, as well as our own discussions.
In my case, I initially explained how I felt as a person with BIID (not that I understood it to be that at first or defined it as such), what it was doing to me, how it affected me. Although I was not "cured" of BIID, in fairness over all that time we discussed & explored many other issues too: it would have been incredible were I to have spent almost 1,000 hours talking exclusively about BIID. Other parts of the therapy were very helpful and I benefited enormously from it overall.
That meant that at one point I began to question whether my BIID issues could not be resolved through therapy too. As time went one, it became obvious to me although not to him that this was less likely. Based on my experiences, my reaction is that good therapy can be enormously useful in helping people who are unsure of whether they have BIID to realise whether this is the case one way or the other. It minimises the chance of someone making a wrong decision she or he may later regret. It may help people with actual BIID or it may not, I wouldn't like to say and am loath to infer anything from my personal experience.
What I can say is that today I feel infinitely happier and emotionally healthier than, say 5 or 10 or even 15 years ago. I also understand myself much better and more deeply, hopefully.
Which is why I am more determined to pursue my aim in a way that maybe I should have done a long time sooner.