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Beyond the Gender Binary: Broadening Our Lens and Strengthening Our Work


Melisa Bailey_photo
Melissa Bailey

People often think about gender in terms of two categories, but this may not adequately fit our clients’ experiences. Clinicians can benefit from cultivating a lens that encompasses the continuum of gender identity and expression. Our sense of ourselves as gendered individuals affects our self evaluation, our preferences, and our relationships. As clinicians, it is important to understand our own gender assumptions and the ways that we may collude with or challenge our clients’ experiences. This workshop will help us to explore our own beliefs about gender and gender roles and presents an approach to broaden our options for working with clients.

Avery Cook, MSW, LCSW is a Clinical Coordinator at the Counseling and Wellness Services at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she supervises MSW students and engages in clinical work with individuals on issues involving gender identities and expression, LGB culture and identity development, as well as anxiety, depression, and crisis intervention. She currently serves on the board of the Mental Health Association Orange County, collaborates with the LGBTQ at UNC to serve transgendered students, and conducts Safe Zone trainings for the UNC community. She also has a private practice in Chapel Hill.

Melisa Bailey, MA is completing her pre-doctoral internship at UNC’s Counseling and Wellness Services in clinical psychology. Her professional interests include feminist theory, LGBTQ issues, the process of meaning making with clients, and work with trauma survivors. She is currently a liaison to the LGBTQ Center at UNC.  She is an adjunct faculty member in the M.A. Forensic Psychology department at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and has taught courses on Diversity and Clinical Interviewing Skills. She attends The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.