Columbia Gender and Sexuality Program (GSP)

Columbia Gender & Sexuality Program (GSP)

The Columbia Gender and Sexuality Program (GSP) provides compassionate, personalized, and expert care to children, adolescents, adults, and families across the gender and sexuality spectrum.   

Gender and sexual identity are vital to how we view ourselves and present ourselves to the world. Finding an identity that is representative of who we are is not always easy, and it can be especially challenging for those who identify in a way that does not conform to traditional views of gender or sexuality. We are here to help. 

Led by Drs. Walter Bockting and Kareen Matouk, the experts at GSP are known across the country for competent and sensitive counseling and care geared to the needs of transgender, nonbinary, and gender diverse individuals and their families. Everyone’s journey in defining their gender identity and sexual orientation is unique and we are here to provide affirming support at every step of the way.

The majority of transgender, nonbinary, and gender diverse children, adolescents, and adults are resilient in the face of prejudice and lead healthy, happy lives. However, for some, stigma attached to nonconformity in gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation can lead to significant mental health concerns, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidality.

Our specialized interdisciplinary team across Columbia University Irving Medical Center offers services ranging from psychotherapy and medication management to hormone therapy and surgery. We utilize an evidence-based approach to mental health care that is focused on instilling pride and celebration of gender diversity. Our services are designed to help transgender, nonbinary, and gender diverse children, adolescents, adults, and their families by facilitating identity development, social support, and self-acceptance across the lifespan. Our clinic also serves cisgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer youth to promote their mental health and wellbeing.

GSP is ready to help parents and family members impacted by a loved one’s gender or sexual identity, fostering communication, mutual respect, and support. We work with families from various cultural and religious backgrounds, many of whom are struggling with understanding or accepting their child’s nonconformity in gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation, and who may be unsure how to proceed. We provide education related to gender dysphoria and thoughtful guidance related to questions that can arise regarding gender identity and role, including social transition and gender-affirming medical interventions. Our family approach also involves direct advocacy to assist in creating safe and affirming spaces in all aspects of an individual’s life. Thus, we work collaboratively with schools and other groups and organizations to ensure positive outcomes for individuals who are transgender, nonbinary, or otherwise diverse in gender and sexuality.

Dr. Bockting & Dr. Sevlever Talk About the Importance of the New Columbia Gender Identity Program

The Gender and Sexuality Program team provides a range of services tailored to each patient’s needs, including:

  • Comprehensive psychiatric evaluations to assess gender dysphoria in the context of overall psychosocial development and health
  • Specialized psychotherapy to engage children, adolescents, and adults in a process of exploring their identity, and find a gender expression that is comfortable
  • Evaluation and referral for gender-affirming medical interventions, such as puberty suppression, gender-affirming hormone therapy and/or surgery
  • Tailored treatment planning that involves collaborative input from patient, families, and other health professionals involved in the care of the patient
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Family and couples therapy
  • Supportive group therapy for individuals and family members  
  • Medication management for psychiatric conditions
  • Expedited referral and coordination with other specialty services across Columbia University Irving Medical Center, community partners, and affiliated organizations

Group Therapy at GSP

Gender Identity Group Therapy

Leaders: Kareen Matouk, PhD
Location: Virtual
Age Range: 18+
Meeting Time: Wednesdays, 4-5 pm
Insurance/Cost: Aetna, Columbia University Employee Insurance Plan Accepted, otherwise $160/session
Description: This adult gender affirming psychotherapy group for transgender and gender nonbinary individuals offers support over the course of participants’ identity development. This may include such goals as exploring gender identity and expression, making informed decisions about gender-affirming medical interventions, maintaining strong relationships with family and friends, and pursuing other life goals. Topics addressed may include coping with minority stress, finding a comfortable gender expression, support from transgender and gender non-binary peers, self-acceptance, sexuality and relationships, and family and community.

Parent Group for Parents of TGNB children

Leader: Felix García del Castillo, PhD
Location: Virtual
Age Range: 18+ (Parents)
Meeting Time: Wednesdays, 5-6 pm
Insurance/Cost: UHC-CU, Aetna, $160 for self-pay
Other Notes: Open group, outside therapist or psychiatrist recommended
Description: The group offers support to parents of TGNB and gender expansive children. Most parents have children who are adolescents/young adults. The group provides psychoeducation related to topics that impact the lives of TGNB individuals as well as support to parents as they navigate their child's transition and life as a TGNB person.