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Advanced Training Program in Transgender Mental Health

Transgender, gender non-binary, and gender expansive children, youth, and adults are finding their voices and seeking support to live authentically. Many will seek out a therapist or counselor to provide support in addressing a spectrum of life challenges and promote their health and well-being. Few, if any, master’s and/or PhD counseling programs offer information and training specific to supporting the needs of transgender individuals. 

About the Program

The Advanced Training Program in Transgender Mental Health at Widener University aims to fill this training need in our community. The program is for licensed mental health professionals who are working with or plan to work with transgender, gender non-conforming, and/or gender expansive children, youth, or adults.

Over the year-long training, participants can expect to:

  • Incorporate the new skills and training into exceptional care for your transgender clients
  • Receive monthly readings that will begin with theory and build on specific skills and topics
  • Attend a two-day training on February 23-24, 2018
  • Attend a two-day training on September 28-29, 2018
  • Participate in 40 hours of online supervision throughout the 12 months
  • Receive a letter of completion
  • Earn social work or psychology CEUs

Expert Trainers

Four experts in the field of transgender mental health care will lead the training and provide the on-going supervision. Each trainer will provide online supervision times that participants will sign up for at their convenience.  A total of 40 hours of supervision must be obtained for completion.

Linda HawkinsLinda A. Hawkins, PhD, MSEd, LPC

Linda started providing counseling to LGBTQ youth at the Attic Youth Center nearly 20 years ago. During the early years, she realized that the connection with transgender and gender expansive youth was a calling. In 2009, Linda completed her PhD at Widener University where her dissertation was focused on identity development of transgender and gender non-conforming youth. In 2014, Linda established the Gender & Sexuality Development Clinic at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Linda has provided lectures, training, and supervision in support of transgender children and youth for over a decade. Read full bio.

Michele AngelloMichele Angello, PhD

Michele Angelo, Ph.D has extensive experience working with people who identify as transgender, gender-variant, genderqueer or a variety of other self-identifications that don't quite fit the societal gender restrictions. She works with individuals (youth and adult), couples, families, churches, schools, and the workplace.  An important part of her work is holding to the intention to always remain respectful of where the client is on his or her path. While the majority of her clients are transgender, Michele also works with people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and questioning. Her approach is holistic and strengths-based.  Michele’s Ph.D. is in Human Sexuality and her specialization is in transgender identity as well as coming out as GLB or Q.  In addition to her private practice Michele’s practice also provides a meeting place for a national transgender support group (Renaissance Transgender Association) that meets on the 3rd Saturday of each month. She facilitates support groups for trans-youth, MTF transsexual adults, and parents of trans-youth.

Damon ConstantinidesDamon Constantinides, PhD, LCSW

Damon Constantinides, PhD, LCSW is a passionate therapist who cares deeply about his work and community. He provides individual, relationship, and sex therapy through his private practice and is a therapist and co-founder at Relationship and Sex Therapy Collective in Philadelphia, PA. Damon earned his Master in Social Work and Doctorate in Human Sexuality Education through Widener University. He specializes in working with trans and gender-non-conforming teens and young adults. He provided individual counseling and co-facilitated a support group for transgender youth for eight years at The Attic Youth Center, a LGBTQ center for youth. Damon works from social justice, narrative, and relational perspectives and is especially interested in providing, training, and writing about intersectionality and sex therapy with erotic minorities. Trained as both a clinical social worker and a sexuality educator, Damon also provides supervision, consultation, and training to other mental health care providers. He is an adjunct professor at Widener University where he teachers graduate level clinical sex therapy classes and previously taught as a adjunct professor at Community College of Philadelphia teaching an undergraduate human sexuality class. Damon has presented about best practices with trans and gender non-conforming populations at regional and national conferences including The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists Annual Conference, the Psychotherapy Center for Gender and Sexuality Trans Symposium, Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, and Gender Conference East.

Deidre AshtonDeirdre Ashton, LCSW

Deirdre Ashton, LCSW is a relational therapist who is passionate about working with couples, families, and individuals to navigate life challenges and transitions, and to live the lives they envision. She believes that we are all relational beings who are more likely to flourish when relationships are going well and to suffer when they are not. Deidre uses collaboration to activate and enhance clients existing strengths and relational resources to resolve difficulties, and challenge structural obstacles in order to help them reach their fullest potential. Deirdre is dedicated to providing support for her clients struggling to address depression, anxiety, relational conflict, intimacy issues, and communication issues. She provides affirmative care to LGBTQ* individuals, families, and couples in the coming out process, negotiating multiple aspects of identity, growing and nurturing their families, thriving in a hetero and cisnormative world.

How to Register

To apply, please submit a graduate application. The application deadline is Nov 30, 2017. Reviews begin Dec 1, 2017, and decisions will be made shortly after. The program will begin on January 16, 2018. For information about requirements, please visit the Application Requirements page.

Space is limited to 40 participants to assure individualized training experiences.

Cost is $5,000 per student, which includes all materials and food at the weekend training sessions. Tuition may be paid in installments. Please contact the Widener Financial Aid Services Department for questions about loans.

Scholarships have been created to assure that these trainings increase the number of therapists who are greatly needed in our community of support professionals. Therapists who are part of the following communities are encouraged to apply: people of color, transgender and gender non-binary therapists, and clinicians with strong religious affiliations. Applicants will submit a 250-word short essay sharing their personal connection to this work, their therapy role/goals, and how they will use the training to achieve their therapy/treatments goals. The grant application essay will be submitted as supplemental material on the application.


Ten percent of the revenue from this program will return to the community through funding scholarships, research projects, and student programs.