Gender Development Clinical Services

We will work with you to determine the best care for you and your family. As specialists in pediatric and adolescent gender development, we recognize that when it comes to providing effective care, each patient and family has unique needs. Our goal is to keep our families informed of their treatment options, supporting them with medical and behavioral health care along the way.

Medical Services

We provide services including pubertal suppression, menstrual suppression, hormone therapy, and referrals for gender-affirming surgery. Lean more about our services:

Click here to Download our Gender Program Roadmap

Behavioral Health Services

Patients referred for behavioral health support within our Gender & Sex Development Program may benefit from the services outlined below.

Click here to learn about our mental health support for transgender & gender questioning youth

  • Initial Psychosocial Screening - All patients new to the multidisciplinary gender clinic meet with one of our behavioral health providers for a general psychosocial screening with the goal of identifying potential behavioral health and supportive service needs. This screening is informed by several questionnaires assessing gender dysphoria, behavioral and emotional concerns, and parenting stress and support which we will have you complete before your initial appointment. Patients may be referred for behavioral health supports with one of our in-house behavioral health providers or referred to clinicians in the community, as needed.

  • Comprehensive Diagnostic Assessment - This assessment occurs across two to three sessions lasting 60 minutes each. In each of these sessions, the patient and their family will meet with one of our behavioral health providers who will conduct a comprehensive assessment on matters related to the child/adolescent’s psychological, behavioral and social well-being. The assessment will also focus on matters specific to the child or adolescent’s gender development (e.g., identity exploration, identity formation). This service may be used for gender expansive youth who are already in treatment with a behavioral health provider but may be seeking additional consultation on gender issues. The family will receive recommendations for treatment on the final session of the assessment period.
  • Individual and Family Psychotherapy - When indicated, families who have completed a Comprehensive Diagnostic Assessment may continue to meet for gender-affirming and/or evidence-based psychotherapy with one of our behavioral health providers. The behavioral health provider will meet with the patient, their parents and/or families (including siblings, when indicated) at a frequency that is guided by the focus of treatment. When necessary, the provider will consult with the patient’s primary care or prescribing physicians.
  • Group Psychotherapy - When indicated, families who have completed a Comprehensive Diagnostic Assessment and/or families already in individual/family psychotherapy may continue to meet for gender-affirming group psychotherapy. Group psychotherapy is conducted periodically by our behavioral health providers and groups may involve patients only, parents and/or siblings.

What to Expect Before, During & After Appointments

We understand our wait is long and want you to know there are many things families can do before seeing us. Please check out the following links for additional resources and support, such as groups, websites, books and other media. We strongly encourage you to confirm any group meeting days, times and locations.

Please call 1.800.KIDS.DOC (1.800.543.7362) to schedule an initial intake call. Because no two patients’ needs are the same, our social worker will help you determine details of your first visit. Families may meet with a medical provider, a mental health provider or both during their initial visit.

After your initial intake call, if an appointment is scheduled in our clinic, it is important to register your/your child’s insurance information. You can do that by calling Lurie Children’s Registration at 312.227.1333. In an attempt to answer the most commonly asked insurance questions, we have put together a guide you can find below. We also recommend contacting your insurance company to verify that your policy will cover appointments in our program.

For financial related FAQs, click here.

If you decide to meet with one of our medical providers during your first visit, they can tell you more about available treatment options.

If you choose to meet with one of our gender-affirming mental health providers during your initial visit, this initial evaluation will consist of getting to know you and the patient, discussing any gender-related questions or concerns and determining how individual or family therapy can be helpful.

At a typical first appointment a patient and parent/caregiver should expect to discuss:

  • Any medical and social history including questions pertaining to the timing, trajectory and consistency of any gender identity-related issues
  • Any past medical history including a detailed discussion of any prior hospitalizations (medical or psychiatric)
  • Any current (or past) experiences with counselors/therapists that have involved gender issues
  • Aspects of parental and family support
  • A treatment timeline, plan and expectations moving forward

And to expect:

  • Potentially having blood drawn in preparation for medical treatment 
  • Potentially undergoing a physical exam

Following your first visit, our medical and mental health team will review your information collaboratively in order to provide recommendations. We will consult with your existing mental health provider, if you have one. Our social worker will help provide you with referrals for services either within or outside of Lurie Children’s. We will help get you scheduled for a follow-up appointment, if needed.