D17 Self-care Sessions

December 17, 2020 @ 3:00 pm 10:00 pm

These free guided sessions are led by TGM therapists specifically for the sex-worker community. Pre-registration is required but there are no fees. You’ll keep your camera and audio off – just log into the session, kick back, and follow along! For about 30 minutes after each session, the therapist will be available by chat to answer questions and provide resources. For sessions that require supplies, you can request a free supply package if you register by 12/6.

Registration is password protected; contact SWOP USA chapter coordinator for the password.


December 17
3:00 pm – 10:00 pm CST
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The Gracious Mind

Virtual Meeting

Getting Ready to Change: Small Bites with Dr. Karen McDowell

December 16, 2020 @ 12:00 pm 12:30 pm CST

A new year is coming, and with it, the promise of change. But change can be scary, overwhelming, and hard to face. Join us as we discuss what it means to prepare yourself to change.

real-time ASL interpreter

Free Donate here

The Gracious Mind


DeafParented: Neither/Both

December 13, 2020 @ 1:00 pm 3:00 pm CST

An exploratory workshop for children of D/deaf parents. Dig into cultural qualitites, roles, communities, and identities in the context of DeafMeetsHearing* culture. Moderated chat discussion open during the workshop, with question-and-answer afterwards.


The Gracious Mind


Virtual Meeting

Loneliness: Small Bites with Dr. Karen McDowell

December 2, 2020 @ 12:00 pm 12:30 pm CST

In this week’s Small Bites, Dr. McDowell will be talking about managing loneliness. The holidays can be difficult, but things feel especially rough this year. Learn a little bit about managing loneliness and incorporating realistic self-care strategies can make the season go more smoothly.

Live ASL interpretation provided.


The Gracious Mind


Boundaries and Self-Care for Sex Workers

November 16, 2020 @ 3:00 pm 4:00 pm CST

This 5-week class meets Mondays 3-4pm CST

Monique and Jacky teach this class in a small-group format to allow maximum participation and connection with others. Explore ways to set boundaries with family, friends, clients, and nosy relatives as we enter the holiday season. You deserve support, and we’re here to help.

Free Class fees are covered by SWOP USA


The Gracious Mind


Virtual Meeting

Boundaries and Self-Care for Sex Workers

November 10, 2020 @ 6:00 pm 7:00 pm CST

This 5-week class meets Tuesdays at 6:00pm
Monique and Vy teach this class in a small-group format to allow maximum participation and connection with others. Explore ways to set boundaries with family, friends, clients, and nosy relatives as we enter the holiday season. You deserve support, and we’re here to help.

Free The cost of this class is covered by SWOP USA


The Gracious Mind


Virtual Meeting

What is “Psychological Testing”?

by Dr. Karen McDowell

Psychological testing may sound kind of intimidating, but once you understand what it is and how it can help, you’ll find that it can be quite interesting and useful. If you’re experiencing symptoms like mood swings, memory problems, anxiety, sleep disruption, brain fog, or other signs that you’re not functioning at your best, testing can be a straightforward way to get some answers.

It starts with a question…

photo of person s palm

There are lots of different approaches to psychological testing, but they all generally start with what’s known as a “referral question.” When I get a call from a psychiatrist, neurologist, or other professional, they’re usually asking me to answer a specific question – often something like this:

“Does this person have dementia? What kind of memory impairments are present?”
“Is it anxiety or something more severe?”
“What kind of depression are they experiencing?”
“Can you find out if this is bipolar disorder, or something else?”
“I suspect PTSD but need a formal diagnosis”
“Can this person tolerate a major surgery right now?”
“What kind of treatment does this person need?”

Although your medical doctor may recommend testing, you don’t need a medical referral to get testing – you can refer yourself! All you have to do is contact your chosen psychologist and tell them what symptoms you’re experiencing and what question(s) you want answered.

What happens at a testing appointment?

woman smiling while using laptop

All testing appointments include a comprehensive interview where you talk directly with the psychologist. This interview will last for about an hour, during which you’ll be asked about your developmental history, education and work history, medical history, mental health history, eating and sleeping habits, current living situation, and all of your questions and concerns.

It is important that the interview be thorough and that you are as honest as possible. Psychological testing has a lot to do with your specific situation and circumstances, so this information is a critical part of good assessment.

After the interview, the psychologist will administer what’s known as a “battery” of tests. Good psychological testing does not rely on just one test – instead, psychologists use a combination of tests to try to get a good picture of what’s going on from a variety of perspectives. Think of it like a net – we want to cast a wide enough net to cover all the potential issues, and see what comes up as a result. The testing battery refers to the specific tests your psychologist chooses to use for your situation – and there are thousands of reliable tests to choose from.

Much of the testing can be done via telehealth, but there are some components that may require in-person visits. Sometimes those in-person encounters can be done via telehealth if there is someone in your environment who can assist with the process.

Types of tests.

stack of books with magnolia flower on white table

Subjective tests
You will probably be asked to fill out some questionnaires asking you to describe symptoms, respond to prompts, or select preferred answers. These types of tests help us understand how you are functioning from your own point of view. For example, you might be asked to fill out a depression or anxiety inventory, or answer questions about your executive functioning. Sometimes, family members or other people are asked to fill out subjective inventories to get their perspective on what’s happening.

Objective tests
Depending on what question(s) your psychologist is trying to answer, they may choose some objective tests as well. These are performance-based tests that can measure tons of different things. If you’re testing for ADHD or learning disorders, your psychologist will want to know how you perform on working memory, processing speed, visual-spatial reasoning, verbal reasoning, and other cognitive tasks, as well as skills such as math and reading. If you are concerned about memory loss or dementia, objective tests can measure more in-depth performance on short- and long-term memory tasks, visual working memory, auditory memory, complex processing, planning, problem solving, and other executive functioning skills. These are just a few examples – there are thousands of objective tests for a variety of needs.

Projective tests
Sometimes, your psychologist will want to assess some things that can’t really be measured subjectively or objectively, because they are so unique to you. Examples of projective tests are personality assessments, interpreting a series of pictures, or the infamous Rorschach inkblot test. These types of tests are really interesting and do an amazing job at digging below the surface to figure out what’s going on. When these tests are used, they are typically combined with the comprehensive interview as well as subjective and objective tests, so that your psychologist gets an in-depth picture of how you are functioning.

After you’ve done the testing.

person holding a puzzle

Once you have completed the testing battery, your psychologist will need a little bit of time to put together all the pieces of the puzzle. They will review all your tests results in the framework of your life and your concerns, and they will identify any possible problem areas that may need attention. The psychologist will prepare a report that includes the information you provided, the results of all the tests they administered, and the conclusions they drew from that information. Then, the report ends with recommendations for next steps.

A week or two after your testing session(s), you’ll meet with your psychologist again for a “feedback session,” where they will go over all the test results with you, tell you any diagnoses they made, and then discuss the recommendations. You’ll have the chance to ask questions about the results and the recommendations during that meeting, and you can let them know if you need additional documentation.

Who gets to know the results?

woman in red long sleeve shirt

This is a common question – “will these results “follow” me around afterwards?” Just like with any other medical appointments, your information is protected by law and cannot be shared with anyone without your specific consent. Here are a few exceptions to that rule:

  • If you use insurance to pay for testing, the insurance company does have a right to request a copy of the test results and reports, and may keep those on file.
  • If you are a minor, your legal guardian has a right to access your records.
  • If a judge or the state licensing board orders that records be disclosed, the psychologist must comply.
  • If, during the course of testing, you disclose intent to harm yourself or others, your psychologist may be legally obligated to notify certain people.

When you meet with your psychologist, they will go over the privacy laws in your state to make sure you understand, and that you consent to the evaluation.

You may want your psychologist to provide the test results to your medical doctor or psychiatrist to help inform how they care for you. If so, be sure to let your psychologist know and provide a signed release. You may want to provide your school, workplace, or other organization with documentation of your diagnoses to ensure you can get appropriate accommodations or support. If that is the case, your psychologist can provide documentation of diagnoses without disclosing your entire testing process.

What if I don’t agree with the results?

shocked female worker in modern workplace

Psychological testing is both an art and a science, and you may find that you disagree with the results of an assessment. It is important to talk to your psychologist about why you disagree during the feedback session, so they have a chance to address your questions and clarify anything you don’t understand. If you continue to feel the results were inaccurate, getting a second opinion is absolutely an option – another psychologist can do a similar evaluation and compare results with you.

Culture and background have a lot to do with getting accurate test results, so psychologists are required to undergo training in multiculturalism and assessment issues within various populations. When selecting a psychologist to use for your assessment questions, be sure you are working with someone who has knowledge of and competence in any social or cultural identities you may live in.

Low-cost counseling

If you or someone you love needs counseling, assessment, or advocacy, look no further! Our excellent clinicians can provide you the support you’re looking for via telehealth, anywhere in the state of Texas. Contact us today for help!

TGM Press Is On Its Way!

We couldn’t be more excited to announce that TGM press will be launching December first! With a focus on publishing high-quality, low-cost reading materials, workbooks, and journals, TGM will quickly be on your bestseller list!! You can find our newest titles through our shop in just a few weeks!

Are You Respecting Your Transgender Loved Ones?

“When I first came out as transgender, I was surprised to find that many people in my life wanted to support me. I received a lot of encouraging words, often from the folks I least expected.

It meant the world to me to be surrounded by people who just wanted me to be myself and be happy! In a society that can often be so hostile towards transgender people, having loved ones in our corner can make all the difference.

But I quickly realized that there’s a distinction between stating your support and actually respecting my identity. A lot of people talked the talk – but that didn’t always translate when it came to actions.”

See the tips here.