Relevance of Including Transgender Competencies in Mental Health Counseling Graduate Programs

Shakuntala Melissa Ramdas, Pace University


Mental health graduate programs with an affirmative stance currently provide students perceived transgender counseling competencies, during graduate training. These competencies will help students develop their clinical skills to best support their transgender clients. This study explored the influence that affirmative counseling training and social desirability have on mental health graduate students’ transgender counseling competencies and knowledge. Since there are no current measures to assess students’ actual knowledge, a transgender questionnaire was also developed for this study. There were 217 mental health students from five different graduate programs in New York. Participants in this study indicated that their prior personal or professional contact with transgender individuals made them aware of the issues these individuals face by being a part of a sexual minority group. Additional results indicate that students’ affirmative counseling training correlated with their perceived transgender competencies. There was an inverse correlation between affirmative training and actual knowledge. There was also a small correlation between affirmative counseling training and social desirability. Future implications, such as the need for graduate programs to provide students with actual transgender knowledge in their curriculum, are also discussed.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Mental health|Health education

Recommended Citation

Ramdas, Shakuntala Melissa, "Relevance of Including Transgender Competencies in Mental Health Counseling Graduate Programs" (2019). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI27543640.



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