Therapy is often a sticky subject. Similar to crossdressing, it does not harm others, is beneficial to the individual, and is more common amongst people than one might believe. Although, there is a large shadow that brings waves of silence when the word is brought up. In all practicality, the act of speaking to a therapist or dressing up in the garments of the opposite gender is no different from visiting a doctor.
- When one is down with the flu, one would visit a doctor for medicine to help recover faster, get advice, and help in avoiding catching a virus, or to better understand one’s physical body.
- We speak to a therapist to recover from a difficult stage in our life, gain insights to better handle our struggles, or provide us with encouragement and a listening ear.
- We put on pieces of various fabrics, cut and sew into shapes, that fit the human body, apply colored pigment on our faces, and emulate the characteristics of another gender. The same way an actor/actress in a movie or play does.
I am sure you see the relation between all three of these acts. Despite this, crossdressing and therapy can carry a social stigma. It is more prevalent in cis-men, as we are not encouraged to speak about our feelings. I’m sure many would agree, it is easier to express our feelings when we are en femme. Words flow smoother, and there is no longer a barrier between expressing outside how we feel inside.
A crossdressers guide to online therapy:
With the gift of the internet, therapy has become more affordable and convenient. Online therapy sessions can be done via chat, call, or video. This saves time and finances by not commuting to the physical therapy sessions. Also, for those who are more private or shy (like me), communicating with a therapist via chat can ease the process of sharing and opening up. One can switch between the different forms of communication in contrast to the traditional face-to-face format.
What therapy is (and should be)
- A regular act of expressing one’s feelings and thoughts without judgment.
- An outlet to share with an objective/neutral perspective
- A process of reflection and self-empowerment
- Purging and healing from past trauma
What therapy is not (thankfully)
- receiving life advice such as “If I were you I would do this!” (Like we need more of that!)
Having personally attended both in-person and online therapy, I would like to share my opinion of the pros/cons of online therapy:
Benefits of online therapy compared to traditional (in-person) therapy
- Options for communication with a therapist
- Time and resources saved from commuting to sessions
- Much more affordable as compared to traditional therapy
- The option to change therapist without prior notice
- The ability to remain relatively anonymous to better share and open up
Cons of online therapy compared to traditional (in-person) therapy
- Lack of the comfort and trust of being physically present
- A therapist may be unable to read you (better in person to observe your body language)
- Having the quiet private physical space to share
Storytime with the Belladonna:
My therapist was the first person I openly shared my crossdressing ambition and experience with. My spouse is aware of my crossdressing, though we have never quite discussed it. I told her early in our relationship, but the shame and fear were so great we never continued to talk about it. She has not seen me fully dressed (in all my frills and lace!).
Over the span of several months, I dropped a message or two every few days to better understand her as a person and what she might think. All in working my way up to become comfortable enough to reveal I was a crossdresser! After that, I leaped to speak to my therapist in real time via chat. I did not opt for the video or phone call options as I felt by communicating via chat, I was able to better think and word my thoughts. I never felt judged, or pressured to open up or to have to make decisions/take actions.
Over the span of several months, with regular sessions: I unpacked my childhood, my struggles with my previous job, my family experience, and most crucially, my overwhelming shame of being a crossdresser. I recounted all my experiences, beginning at the age of seven with trying on my mother’s garments to my first experience contouring my face with makeup at the age of 32. I realized I had been crossdressing for the past twenty-five years! An integral part of my life was hidden away because of the fear and shame I was feeling, due to the lack of approval from myself.
I was encouraged to work on improving my relationship with myself as a person. Slowly, I changed my perception of crossdressing from an act of fear and shame to realizing what crossdressing truly is to me: An act of self-care and love. Over time, I found the courage and bravery to take photos, compose journal entries, and start sewing garments for myself. Having lived the majority of my life providing for others, it was important for my well-being to gift and care for myself, too. As the Bluest Belladonna, I can encourage and comfort my inner child. I can be sweet, tender, and vulnerable in the safe kingdom I have built within myself. Not to mention being alluring, glamorous, and graceful!
Therapy encouraged me to realize and accept that I am in full control and hold the power in my life. Therapy is not the key to fulfillment, but a guide to help us find the key we have been holding onto the entire time. Our struggles and challenges will always be there; therapy helps us cope in an independent, healthier, and substantial manner.
My therapist encouraged me to rebuild my trust in people. To open up to like-minded individuals with similar experiences to myself; thus, here I am on Crossdresser Heaven!
Please do contact me directly if you need any help/recommendations or have any questions about online therapy
With all my support and encouragement,
The Bluest Belladonna