Broaching Partially-Shared Identities: Critically Interrogating Power and Intragroup Dynamics in Counseling Practice With Trans People of Color

Document Type


Publication Date



Background: Much of the literature on transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) experiences in counseling focuses on White experiences with few recommendations for trans people of Color (TPOC). Research suggests mental health care providers lack intersectional sensitivity with TPOC, lack knowledge of TGNB issues and engage in microaggressive behaviors, notably with Queer-identified clinicians. Aim: To explore issues of power and privilege in the counseling relationship with Queer-identified clinicians and apply the multidimensional model of broaching behavior with TGNB clients of Color. Method: A critical review of conceptual and empirical literature focusing on the interaction and impact of client and clinician race, gender, and sexual/affectional identities in the counseling relationship is presented. Informed by the authors’ counseling experiences and respective positionalities as a Black Queer ciswoman and a White Queer transman, the multidimensional model of broaching behavior is applied to a composite case vignette. Results: The model provides a practical tool to facilitate critical conversations of power, privilege and identity in the counseling relationship. Conclusion: With a dearth of scholarship addressing the role of cisgender or White privilege in the counseling relationship, this article outlines strategies to broach issues partially-shared identities with TGNB clients of Color. Recommendations for culturally informed counseling practice, supervision and research are also provided.