VISTAS Counseling Families and Adults

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.



The Development of Gender Identity

Nicola Barden

2005

Gender is fundamental to identity, to a sense of a recognizable individual and collective self in the world. It is treated as a given: there is no question as to whether one has a gender, only to which one it is, from a choice of two. This seems obvious. Yet… when one enters an area of gender ambivalence, the discomfort it engenders and the desire for clarity in themselves could be taken as evidence of an attachment to gender certainty that merits further investigation. The world of gender is not as clear cut as we like to present it. The postmodern world highlights this as people cross genders, play with gender roles, and refuse gender categories in ways that demand a response whether supportive or neutral or pathologising. Counselors, too, need to rethink their position on gender if they are to meet the new gender demands that clients bring to them.

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