Gender identity development service (GIDS)
We see children and young people (up to the age of 18) and their families who are experiencing difficulties in the development of their gender identity. This includes children who are unhappy with their biological sex.
Some may be boys who prefer to play the role of a girl and some may be girls who prefer to play the role of a boy. Some children may feel comfortable only when playing with peers of the opposite sex, or may frequently cross-dress.
We also offer counselling to children of parents with trans-sexualism or other gender identity problems.
This specialist service is unique to the NHS. We have a multidisciplinary team, with experts in child and adolescent psychiatry, psychology, social work, psychotherapy and paediatrics.
We aim to understand the nature of the obstacles in the development of gender identity, and to try minimise their negative influence.
We think that relationships are as important as other factors in contributing to the young person's difficulties. We therefore pay attention in our work to what is happening within the young person's relationship with the family, school and other social agencies.
Our approach is always tailored to the needs of the individual families. The whole team contributes its expertise to decisions we make about treatment, so that all perspectives are taken into account.
We recognise that atypical gender identity development can be an extremely distressing condition, and we endeavour to help young people and their families cope.
Through our therapeutic work we aim to:
- foster recognition and non-judgemental acceptance of gender identity problems
- ameliorate associated behavioural, emotional and relationship difficulties
- encourage exploration of the mind-body relationship by promoting close collaboration among professionals in different specialties, including a paediatric endocrinologist
- enable the child or adolescent and the family to tolerate uncertainty in gender identity development.
The findings of the assessment may recommend:
- family therapy
- individual psychotherapy and parental support/counselling
- consultation to the network, with or without further direct involvement with the young person and their family
- intermittent reviews to monitor gender identity development
- group work for parents
- referral to the Paediatric Liaison Clinic for physical assessment
- a combination of the above
We accept referrals from across the UK and the preferred route of referral is through a local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). However other professionals in Health, Social Services and Education departments, as well as young people and their families, can contact the Service directly to discuss a possible referral. Unfortunately, however, we are unable to accept self-referrals from young people or their families.
Information for referrers