GIRES Research Award for 2001

See the GIRES Annual Research Awards page to read about the awards and the criteria used by the GIRES trustees in evaluating entries for the annual award.

Awarded to Bernadette Wren, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

GIRES is pleased to announce that the charity’s Research Prize for 2001 has been awarded to Bernadette Wren, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Portman Clinic, London, for her article “Early Physical Intervention for Young People with Atypical Gender Identity Development”.

This was published in the April 2000 issue of Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatery, a well established and widely-read multi-disciplinary journal devoted to issues of child and adolescent mental health.

It is read, among others, by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses and psychotherapists. The article deals with the clinical, moral and legal considerations associated with early physical intervention with transgendered adolescents. These issues badly needed an airing and GIRES shares the author’s hope that her article will open up the debate where arguments tend to become rather polarized.

Obviously this is a crucial matter for clinicians treating teenagers with a cross-gender identification. This article is, as far as she knows, the first focused approach to the matter in a specialist mental health journal.

The implicit recommendations the article contains relate to:

1.) The need to acknowledge the complexity of the issues raised by the adolescent with atypical gender identity development and the inappropriateness of trying to impose a simple model of diagnosing pathology and choosing a treatment modality.

2.) The clinician’s responsibility to be clear about:

  • The physical and psychological consequences for the young person of not intervening and therefore the problems with a cautious approach
  • The lack of clear empirical findings on outcome to guide decision-making
  • The legislation relevant to consent to treatment

The author has prepared a synopsis of her article. The prize was presented to Bernadette at the charity’s third annual general meeting on Sunday, 15 July 2001.