Book Review: “On the Couch with Dr. Angello,” Book on Trans Youth Issues

| May 7, 2018

This month’s book is one I read a few years back. I re-read it for this review. The author is Dr. Michele Angello, who is a Philadelphia area Gender therapist specializing in Gender variant youth. She is also a friend of mine, but that won’t stop me from giving an Honest review. (Got that, Michele?) (Giggles.)

I remember reading it back in 2013. My first impression was “wow — really poor editing/proofreading. There are spelling and grammar mistakes. But, to paraphrase a famous old country doctor “Dammit Sophie, she’s a doctor, not an English teacher!” (I was an English teacher.)

Okay, so much for nit-picking. As can be surmised from the title, Dr. A. (is it okay if I abbreviate, Michele?) this book is a “how-to” for Parents of kids who are Gender variant (the focus is mainly on Transgender.) The book is organized logically, with chapters on Family, Peers, School, Puberty, Religion & Spirituality, and Physicians. Oh, and props for the inclusionThe book/explanation of Erikson’s 8 Developmental Stages. (for people who didn’t have psych in school.) Each chapter goes chronologically, starting with the younger set and progressing to older. Except for the chapter on puberty. Duh.

There were two sections of particular interest to me. The first was spread out a bit. Dr. A. discusses the various consequences of everything going wrong. For example: not telling anyone; parents are absolutely against the idea of their child being transgender; rumors among peers in a school setting; in other words — my life.

She mentions some of these through the text, but has a nice summary on page 57. It reads pretty much like a Transgender Greatest Hits. Most (but not all) of the Transgender people I know have one or more of these. I have/had Four.

Anxiety and Depression
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder
Conduct Disorder
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Substance Dependence
Dissociative Disorder (Depersonalization)

Yeah. Great stuff. Survey says… *ding ding ding* You’re a mess!

The second section is a discussion of the use of hormones and blockers for teens. There are compelling arguments on both sides of the debate. A lot of the “against” that I’ve seen is “It’s permanent — there is no going back.” Well no kidding! What part of “Consistent” and “Persistent” didn’t you understand, genius? If I had the opportunity for Blockers back in the day, I would’ve jumped at the chance. I was a late bloomer anyway, so… In any event, the case of testosterone poisoning I have is nasty. I am tall, broad, and have the facial structure of a Neanderthal. Yay.

Dr. Angello

Dr. Michele Angello (from her website)

In any case, for just the lay reader, or a grown transperson, this book really doesn’t have much in it that you haven’t seen elsewhere. However, for the parent of a trans child, this book is Crucial — absolutely necessary. I have recommended it to a few parents in my day (as well as recommending they contact Dr. A.) Side note: a few times, random strangers would approach me at the bookstore where I used to work, and ask me for advice on this topic. They trusted a complete stranger with this secret based only on the fact that I “look transgender.” That’s desperation.

So, as I said — crucial for the Target audience.

Michele, you can send the check to…

 

On the Couch with Dr. Angello: A Guide to Raising & Supporting Transgender Youth by Dr. Michele Angello  9780989277204

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Category: Product Review

About the Author ()

Read Sophie's blog here. View her contribution to The New York Times transgender stories article. She has also been featured in an article on Philly.com.

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