chapter  ONE
8 Pages

Development and mental health: the issue of difference in atypical gender identity development

ByPeter Wilson

The task of intervention is formidable, involving a wide range of psychological, social, and physical responses, dependent on a full assessment of the individual child and the family. It is important, in carrying out any kind of intervention, to hold in mind two key considerations: firstly, the developmental context and, secondly, the mental health context in relation to the paradox of such difference. Whether at an intellectual, cognitive, physical, social, or emotional level, development consists of varying processes of differentiation—between different parts or elements within the individual and between the individual and others. The essence of mental health and of development is the capacity to keep possibilities open, to refuse to foreclose on their development, and to maintain respect for self-integrity. The developmental influences in gender organization are complex; clearly more research is needed to understand the interplay of genetic, biological, familial, psychological, and social factors in the developmental process of atypical gender identity organization.