Ms Helen Young1, Ms Penne Mattes2
1MNCLHD, Coffs Harbour, Australia, 2Academic Australian Catholic University, Sydney , Australia
Tea and Chat: reducing isolation of trans-women living within NSW Mid North Coast Local Health District
This paper explores the outcome of the establishment of a therapeutic social support group for trans-women in regional NSW. The group was initiated in response to a request, by three trans-women, for assistance with make-up and dress education, but evolved into an holistic, therapeutic, social support group, which includes the wives of the trans-women
The paper reports the attendees’ responses to their involvement with the group, over a period of two to three years, and the observations, over this period, by the Social Worker who convened the group. It examines available literature on the effectiveness of social support groups, in assisting people experiencing change and social isolation.
The group has grown from three to ten participants. Group attendees report a reduced sense of isolation, and that they can be ‘themselves’ when they come to group, as they are with like-minded women. Wives of the trans-women report an increased sense of well-being. Attendance at the group has led to some on-going close friendships.
Attendance by trans-women, and their wives, at a therapeutic self-support group has improved participants’ sense of community connection, their mental health and sense of well-being.
Helen – twenty years plus as social worker, group facilitator, educator, yoga instructor and shiatsu practitioner.
Penne – over forty years of experience as Social Worker in the field, researcher, manager, educator and academic