Sign the Petition: Psychology Today Needs to Add Trans/Non-Binary as a Third Gender Option

Jeff Guenther, LPC on Apr 21, 2019

Here is a statement that should be incredibly non-controversial: All online therapist directories that allow potential clients to filter therapists by gender should include at least three gender options. They should be “Trans/Non-binary”, “Female” and “Male”.

The leading therapist directory in the country, Psychology Today, does not allow their website visitors to filter for therapists that identify as Transgender and/or Non-binary.

TherapyDen and Gaylesta (national directories), and Open Minds (a Bay Area directory), have started a petition asking Psychology Today to add a third gender option to their site. You can sign the petition here. Please share on social media and help us get enough signatures to make a difference.

Why should therapist directories have a Trans/Non-binary gender option?

People who are, or who have, questioned their gender identity should be able to easily find a therapist that has done the same thing. It’s as simple as that. I’m not saying that a cisgender therapist can’t be helpful if they are fully trained and competent in treating people that are facing transgender and non-binary gender issues. They can be fantastic matches. But many people want to see a therapist who has had similar experiences in life and they should be able to easily and quickly filter for one on a therapist directory.

Listen to this week's episode of Say More About That. I'll chat with two therapist advocates in the field about why it's incredibly important for Psychology Today to add a third gender option. And we'll tackle what might be getting in the way for them. Click play below or listen on Apple Podcast or Spotify.

There really is something about being able to fully empathize and comprehend what a client is going through based, not just on training and education, but real world experience. If a client knows that their therapist has lived and experienced some of the same things they have, then a trusting therapeutic relationship can form that is vital to the healing that takes place in counseling.

And it’s not like people haven’t been asking for more gender options on the Psychology Today directory. They have likely gotten hundreds, if not thousands of requests, to make the change. But for reasons that are not clear, they have declined to update their site to reflect this popular requested filter option.

What Psychology Today has done recently is not good enough

Recently, Psychology Today has included progressive and modern categories that therapists can select and display on their profile. One of those categories is “Open Relationships/Non-Monogomy.” That category was added due to the work of Dr. Schechinger and APA Division 44.

While it is definitely a step in the right direction and has been a long time coming, these new categories can not be searched by people that are trying to filter through therapists on the Psychology Today directory. For example, if you are searching for a therapist who is “Transgender Allied,” you’ll need to click through each therapist profile and scroll down to see if they have selected this category. It’s not as easy or intuitive compared to a site like TherapyDen. When you search and filter for a therapist at, you can select “Trans/Non-binary” as well as “Open Relationships/Non-Monogomy” and it will display all the therapists in your area that are trans/non-binary and specialize in treating open relationships and non-monogamy issues.

Not adding trans/non-binary as a gender option that can be filtered for sends a powerful message about what genders Psychology Today thinks are more important.

And trust me, this is not a technology issue. They can easily add more gender options to their search filters. I run a therapist directory and know first hand how incredibly easy it would be to add a gender option. At most it would take a developer an hour to add the gender option.

So while it’s nice that Psychology Today has added more categories that people can display on their profile, it does almost nothing to help the potential client who is scrolling through hundreds or thousands of therapists trying to easily find a therapist that is trans/non-binary.

Therapist directories need to evolve with the times

The mental health landscape is evolving quickly. Stigma around mental illness is dwindling and more people than ever before are open to the idea of working with a therapist. Mental health benefits are now included in all insurance plans because of the Affordable Care Act. People who are a part of marginalized communities, especially those vulnerable to mental health issues, should be able to access counseling services easily. Therapy is no longer for the rich and privileged. As a more diverse population starts reaching out for mental health services, therapist directories have a responsibility to evolve with the times and meet the demand.

Therapist directories like TherapyDen, Gaylesta and Bay Area Open Minds, along with others, are leading the charge when it comes to progressive therapist directories with modern search functions. And I hope more therapists sign up for those directories and more people use them to find a good counseling match. However, as it has been for many years, Psychology Today has captured the top spots in online search results. And until more progressive directories replace Psychology Today in the top position, we want to be sure that all counseling directories are providing the right tools for every kind of person that is seeking therapy. Psychology Today could evolve into a more inclusive, accepting and welcoming space and whether their decision not to is discrimination or simply laziness, there is no excuse. It’s 2019 guys!

In order to get the attention of Psychology Today, and hopefully motivate them to create a third gender option as a search filter, we have created a petition that everyone can sign. Whether you’re in the mental health field or not, we want you to sign the petition. It will only take a minute and could go a long way to making a real difference.

Listen to this week's episode of Say More About That. I'll chat with two therapist advocates in the field about why it's incredibly important for Psychology Today to add a third gender option. And we'll tackle what might be getting in the way for them. Click play below or listen on Apple Podcast or Spotify.

Jeff Guenther is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Ashville, NC.

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