• Meg-John Barker
  • Alex Iantaffi
Part of the Critical and Applied Approaches in Sexuality, Gender and Identity book series (CAASGI)


This chapter overviews psychotherapeutic and counselling practice with non-binary clients. It outlines what is known, to date, about the mental health of non-binary people, and then explores the ways in which the major psychotherapeutic approaches understand gender identity and expression, and what this means for non-binary client experience. The chapter also covers good practice with non-binary clients, including requirements in terms of counsellor levels of understanding and reflexivity. It overviews the most common issues which non-binary people bring to therapy and how practitioners might work with these, while being aware of the diversity of non-binary people and experiences. Key ethical and practical points are dealt with, and alternatives to conventional forms of therapy are also explored.


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Further Reading

  1. Barker, M. J., & Richards, C. (2015). Further Genders. In C. Richards & M. Barker (Eds.), Handbook of the Psychology of Sexuality and Gender (pp. 166–182). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  2. Kermode, J. (2016). Images of Non-Binary people: How Poor or Absent Representations of Non-Binary People Contribute to Poor Understanding of Lived Experiences. In P. Karian (Ed.), Critical & Experiential: Dimensions in Gender and Sexual Diversity. Eastleigh, UK: Resonance Publications.Google Scholar
  3. Richards, C. & Barker, M. (2013). Further Genders. In C. Richards & M. J. Barker (Eds.), Sexuality and Gender for Mental Health Professionals: A Practical Guide (pp. 71–82). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Beyond the Binary: A magazine for UK non-binary people. Retrieved from

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meg-John Barker
    • 1
  • Alex Iantaffi
    • 2
  1. 1.The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  2. 2.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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