Experienced psychologist to reflect on clinical work with gender variant children and adolescents

Clinical Psychologist and Systemic Psychotherapist Dr Bernadette Wren will be delivering a public talk on the complexity of clinical work with gender diverse children and adolescents on 6 February.

For the University’s first Psychology Cultures Seminar of 2018, which will take place in Bennett Lecture Theatre 8 from 2.30-4.30 pm, Dr Wren will discuss a contemporary ‘crisis of meaning’- focusing on how conflicts in the field relate as much to the very possibility of making meaning, the right to make meaning and the appropriate focus for meaning making.

Dr Wren is Trust-wide Head of Psychology at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, working clinically with transgendered young people and their families in the Trust’s Gender Identity Development Service.

For many years Dr Wren has taught clinical research methods across several Tavistock courses, and is currently an Honorary Senior Research Associate in the Dept. of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at UCL. She has published several widely-cited papers based on her work regarding the care of gender diverse children.

Dr Wren said: “In this talk I will try to elucidate why the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is a clinical service like no other, sitting as it does at the intersection of a range of deeply contested and radically unresolved (possibly unresolvable) social and cultural issues of our time.

“There are powerful oppositional dynamics operating in the field, knotted into bigger issues of knowledge and authorisation that we are facing in contemporary society. And it is this that militates so powerfully against developing shared understandings of what is ethical and compassionate practice, what ‘good’ care looks like and who should have a definitive say in treatment decisions.”

Dr Arabella Kurtz, from the University’s department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, added: “Bernadette Wren is a skilled and thoughtful practitioner with an academic training in philosophy; she brings this unique combination of perspectives to bear in her compassionate and nuanced account of the work of the Tavistock Gender Development Service”.