Episode 136

136 - Gender as a Communication, It's Not What You Think with Maggie Goldsmith

Published on: 13th October, 2023

In this episode, Maggie Goldsmith joins Sasha and Stella for a conversation about the psychodynamic approach in understanding gender identity issues, particularly in children and adolescents. Maggie shares her personal journey, shedding light on how rapid onset gender dysphoria (ROGD) can signal a need for change within the family dynamic. She puts an emphasis on the importance of delving into unconscious processes that shape identity and behavior. The discussion covers theories about how key developmental stages, such as symbiosis and paranoid schizoid positions, can impact self-perception and relationships. Psychodynamic therapy is highlighted as a tool for deeper exploration, benefiting both the child and their family. Maggie also highlights how parental anxiety can affect the parent-child relationship, so self-care is crucial for both the parent and child's well-being. Sasha, Stella and Maggie share anecdotes about how different children may respond to discussions about gender identity and how parents need to adapt to their child's unique needs and circumstances. The conversation underscores the importance of open communication and maintaining a healthy relationship with the child throughout their journey of self-discovery.

Dr. Maggie Goldsmith is the author of the PITT essay “To My Daughter’s Therapist: You Were Wrong”, which was the first essay from the PITT Substack to go viral and put PITT on the map. It can be found in a recently published book that includes 75 essays by parents who have gender questioning children.

Since her first Wider Lens episode (#85), she has been very busy with a full caseload of kids and families impacted by gender dysphoria. Dr. Maggie’s approach to this work is grounded in object relations theory and supported by an understanding of human development throughout the life course. This places the family and the parent-child relationship in a position of primary importance as they manage and repair the inevitable ruptures of adolescence.

This is a captivating conversation, offering a unique perspective on the intersection of psychoanalytic theory, gender identity, and the practical implications for clinicians and parents alike.


Mother-Daughter Story: "I Didn’t Want to be Yours Anymore" w/ Dr. Maggie Goldsmith




Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans: Tales from the Home Front in the Fight to Save Our Kids


PITT Substack Articles

  Trans and the Myth of Sloppy Parenting


  To My Daughter's Therapist: You Were Wrong


Connect with Therapists:




Order Our Book – When Kids Say They’re Trans: A Guide for Thoughtful Parents


Support the Show & Access Exclusive Content


Join the conversation on YouTube


If you liked this episode, more episodes you might find interesting:

Episode 35 - Communicating About Gender: Translating Between Parent & Child


Episode 75 - Borderline Personality: Distorted Attempts to Integrate - A Conversation w/ Lisa Duval


Episode 84 — Denise Caignon From 4thWaveNow: The View From Behind the Scenes


Episode 98 — StoicMom: Using Her Child’s Trans Identity for Personal Individuation


Episode 109 — What If We Are All Wrong: A Mother’s Regret with Rose


Episode 110 — Pathologizing Normal: The Lure of Identity Labels & Diagnoses


Please visit www.widerlenspod.com to explore more content, access additional resources, or to join our listener community.

Watch us on YouTube: www.youtube.com/@widerlenspod

For more information about Sasha’s & Stella’s parent coaching membership groups:

Sasha Ayad: https://inspiredteentherapy.com/parents-start-here 

Stella O’Malley: http://www.stellaomalley.com/parent-coaching

To learn more about our sponsors, visit:



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About the Podcast

Gender: A Wider Lens Podcast
Two therapists explore the expanding concept of "gender" from a psychological depth perspective.
Gender dysphoria has become a minefield for public discussion, with many afraid to express their views or question the narrative. Our mission is to examine this important and complex topic from a range of perspectives, but always through a psychological lens. By openly considering and examining gender identity, transition, and the transgender umbrella, we hope to give all interested parties permission to engage these fascinating topics with less fear and more honesty. Interviews and discussions will involve clinicians, medical professionals, academics, transgender people, parents, detransitioners and other interesting individuals whose lives have been touched by the concept of gender.

Conversations between two practicing therapists give listeners an opportunity to contemplate gender from a depth perspective not currently taken up in most of today’s accessible debates. As a result of their work with gender dysphoric therapy clients as well as their personal divergent experiences with gender, Stella and Sasha hold a refreshing and informed perspective.

Is gender identity a facilitation of development and expression of creativity, or can it be a defense against painful existential realities of living in a human body? What can we discover about masculinity, femininity, identity, gender performance, and sexuality when we peer beneath the surface and dive into a deeper psychological exploration? What is the relationship between body, mind, identity, culture, and psyche?

This podcast engages listeners in an intimate and fascinating behind-the-scenes inquiry about a topic as taboo as it is salient today.

Thank you to our sponsors:
Genspect - an international organization which offers an alternative to WPATH. Providing a range of education, resources and supports to anyone impacted by gender distress, Genspect unites many different organizations globally, and gives voice to 1,000s of previously untold stories. For more info, visit genspect.org.

GETA - an association of therapists who believe that individuals experiencing gender related concerns ought to be treated using a whole person approach. GETA connects like minded clinicians, provides educational resources and trainings, and helps people with gender dysphoria find support. For more info, visit genderexploratory.com.
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About your hosts

Stella O'Malley

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Stella O’Malley is a psychotherapist and author who works in private practice in Ireland. Her work focuses on parenting, family dynamics and working with teenagers.

Much of Stella’s counselling and writing focuses on mental health and the importance of well-being and she is a regular contributor to the media. She is also the resident psychotherapist for the current TV series, Raised by the Village, a family programme that helps troubled teenagers reconnect with themselves and their families.

Stella's first book, Cotton Wool Kids, was released in 2015 while Bully-Proof Kids: Practical tools to help kids grow up confident, resilient and strong was released in 2017. Stella’s latest book Fragile, was released in 2019 and focuses on overcoming anxiety and stress.

Stella was the presenter of the documentary Trans - Kids: It’s Time To Talk broadcast on Channel 4 in November 2018 and she contributed a chapter to the 2019 book, Inventing Transgender Children and Young People.

The Jungian analyst, Lisa Marchiano, and Stella launched Secrets of the Motherworld in September 2019, offering thoughtful exploration of the most intimate aspects of motherhood in a bid to help mothers feel less alone.

Stella is a Clinical Advisor for the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners. She is also the lead facilitator for the Gender Dysphoria Support Network.

Stella holds a B.A. in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a M.A. in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Sasha Ayad

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Sasha Ayad is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works in private practice, and has treated adolescents for over 10 years. Her work focuses on teens and young adults struggling with issues of gender dysphoria and gender identity.

She became interested in the sharp rise in teenagers who declare a trans identity for the first time during adolescence. She discovered, through working with hundreds of families, that many teens were developing gender dysphoria only after adopting a transgender identity. She questions the practice of medical transition for children and teenagers, and her clinical work focuses on developmentally appropriate, least-invasive-first talk therapy.

Sasha is also a founding member and Clinical Advisor in the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners.

Sasha’s previous work experience includes:
- School counselor for middle and high school students at a charter school for underserved communities

- Behavioral therapy with children on the autism spectrum

- Individual and group counseling for women and children impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence

- Developed and ran the first counseling program at a large state supported living facility for adults with intellectual disability

Sasha holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology.