Nondegree Training Programs

Affirming Approaches for Transgender Individuals and Communities

Advance your skills in providing affirming therapy or education experiences for transgender individuals and become a stronger advocate for Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Gender Expansive and Non-Binary (TGNCNB) people.

Program Overview

Most programs lack comprehensive training for offering affirmative services for Transgender, Gender Non-conforming, Gender Expansive and Non-binary (TGNCNB) people. Due to this gap in training, Transgender and Gender Expansive communities struggle to find mental health services and education that fits their needs and affirms who they are. 

To address this need, Widener has developed two advanced training programs, one for education professionals and one for mental health providers, to support the TGNCNB community.  

  1. Affirming Schools for Transgender Students Program (Application now open)
    Designed for school counselors, administrators, educators, and other K-12 school staff in Pennsylvania, this program will give you the tools to become a gender champion in your school and community. 
  2. Affirmative Therapy for Transgender Communities (Application opening June 2021)
    Designed for mental health providers, this comprehensive online training will support you in offering affirmative therapy & becoming stronger advocates for TGNCNB people. 

Program for Pennsylvania K-12 Education Professionals

This program is intended to provide school counselors, administrators, educators, and other school staff the necessary tools to become gender champions in their school and community. The program is specifically tailored to effectively support K–12th grade students throughout the state of Pennsylvania. 

In this program, you'll learn from a skilled facilitator with extensive experience in creating affirming learning environments for transgender and gender non-conforming youth. You'll learn how to support individual students in their gender development, implement supportive school policy, and create affirming school and classroom environments.

As part of the program, you can expect to:

  • Attend five half-day, online sessions from 8:00 a.m. to noon (EST) on June 11, June 25, July 9, July 23, and August 6.
  • Receive personal consultation during September—November. You’ll hone plans for long-term change in your school and stay connected to a support network of education professionals.
  • Earn continuing education credits (CEUs) or Act 48 credits, where appropriate, and move one step closer to maintaining your certification.

Samantha King, MSW, MEd (she/her) is the family support and education specialist at the Gender & Sexuality Development Clinic at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Through this role, Samantha provides direct resources to families and supports gender expansive youth in school and community settings. Samantha collaborates with educators and providers to raise their awareness of gender identity and works to improve gender inclusivity through trainings and policy support. Over the past six years, Samantha King has worked with 250+ schools to create affirming learning environments for hundreds of transgender and gender non-binary youth.

See Samantha's profile page

Participants must work in some aspect of K–12 education in a Pennsylvania school. 

How to Apply:

Application Deadline: Applications are due by June 1, 2021 for the 2021 training community. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until seats are filled so please apply ASAP. Space is limited to 25 participants. 

Cost = $1,000

Scholarships have been created to assure that this training increases the number of education professionals who can provide affirming experiences for transgender students in Pennsylvania and that people of color and TGNCNB education professionals are among those doing this work. Education professionals who are people of color and/or TGNCNB are encouraged to apply for a scholarship for this program. 

To apply for a scholarship, please include a 250-word statement sharing your personal connection to the goals of the program and how you plan to use this training in your profession.

The essay should be submitted as supplemental material as part of your online application.

Program for Mental Health Providers

Over the yearlong training, mental health providers can expect to:

  • Incorporate training into practice of affirmative therapy and exceptional care for TGNCNB clients

  • Attend 8 online, half-day training days in 2022, either from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST or 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST depending on your preferred schedule. [Training dates for 2022 to be announced.]  

  • Participate in 30 hours of online group supervision

  • Receive monthly readings that will build TGNCNB knowledge base and skills

  • Build community with other TGNCNB affirmative providers

  • Collaborate on an ever-expanding resource database for TGNCNB affirmative services

  • Earn social work CEUs, in collaboration with the Center for Social Work Education

How to Apply:

  • Complete Widener's online application (expected to open in June 2021)
  • Provide Personal and Professional Goals Statement
  • Provide copy of Mental Health License (proof of Pre-Licensing also acceptable)
  • Provide copy of Liability Coverage

Application Deadline: TBD, for the 2022 training community 

Cost: $5,000

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 & gender non-binary therapists
  • Clinicians with strong religious affiliations 

To be considered for a scholarship, please submit a 250-word essay sharing your personal connection to this work, your therapy role/goals, and how you will use this training to achieve your therapy/treatment goals.

The essay should be submitted as supplemental material as part of your online application.

Program Highlights

transgender flag

Increase Knowledge, Skills, & Advocacy

These training programs provide a strong foundation of knowledge in the areas of Transgender and Gender Expansive identity development and TGNCNB advocacy so that you can better apply this knowledge in your profession.

PsyD MCJ Dual Degree University Center Student

Mentorship & Supervision

These programs bring together leaders in the field and community to generate a dynamic training and supervision program. Expert instructors will lead the trainings and provide on-going online supervision, which is scheduled at times that are convenient for your schedule.

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Next steps to apply

We’re glad you made the decision to apply. All applications and supplemental materials are submitted through the online application system. There is a $35 application fee to apply to Widener.

Get in Touch

We look forward to working with you and building up a community of TGNCNB affirming providers, educators, and advocates.