Stella had her own intense experience with gender as a child, and the resolution of her gender distress has made her curious about the wisdom of early intervention. She hosted the UK’s Channel 4 documentary on the topic, Trans Kids: It’s Time To Talk. In addition to facilitating group support meetings and working with individual clients, Stella is a leader in Genspect, an international organization of parents who advocate for their gender-questioning children.
Noticing parallels between gender exploration and other social phenomena, Lisa began investigating what might be contributing to the rising number of trans teens. In her private practice, she has also worked with clients who were detransitioning and regretting their medical gender interventions. Lisa has written on the topic in the Jungian Journal, Psychological Perspectives and for Quillette.
While working as a school counselor, Sasha started her school’s first GSA to create a safe space for LGBT kids to discuss their evolving sense of identity and sexual orientation. She noted that, in some cases, gender dysphoria emerged after young people adopted a trans identity, rather than the other way around – especially following heavy social media and internet use. She was prompted, like Lisa and Stella, to take a deeper look into the phenomenon of adolescent gender-questioning.
The three therapists crossed paths through their shared interest in creating more individualized and responsive treatment approaches for gender nonconforming kids and their families.
Since around 2017, Lisa, Stella, and Sasha have worked together to pioneer compassionate and gender-expansive practices for working with teens, young adults, and families. They offer a refreshing perspective that is both cutting edge, based on the latest research and developments, and also intuitively resonant for parents, teachers, therapists, and other adults who care about dysphoric youth.
Together, they have created a view of gender which sees it through a wider lens, opening the discussion and making it more expansive. They founded a Wider Lens Consulting in 2021 after recognizing the tremendous demand that existed for nuanced, reflective practices around supporting LGBT youth.
More about Lisa, Stella and Sasha
Lisa Marchiano, LCSW is a writer and Jungian analyst in private practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
She is the cohost and creator of the popular podcast This Jungian Life. She teaches at the C.G. Jung Institute of Philadelphia, and lectures widely on Jungian topics. Her writings have appeared in Quillette, The Journal of Analytical Psychology, and Psychological Perspectives, among other publications. She is the author of the book Motherhood: Facing and Finding Yourself, published by Sounds True. You can find her on Twitter at @LisaMarchiano.
Stella O’Malley is a psychotherapist, bestselling author, and public speaker.
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 Irish Independent, the Sunday Independent, RTE, Newstalk FM and other national media. Stella’s first bestselling book, ‘Cotton Wool Kids’, was released in 2015 while Bully-Proof Kids was released in 2017 and ‘Fragile: Why are we feeling more anxious and overwhelmed than ever before’, was released in 2019. Stella is also the resident psychotherapist for the popular RTÉ series, Raised by the Village, a family programme that helps troubled teenagers reconnect with themselves and their families. She holds a B.A. in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a M.A. in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Sasha Ayad is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked with adolescents for over 13 years.
She earned her B.S. in Psychology and Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology from the University of Houston. She worked for many years with children on the autism spectrum and conducted individual and group therapy with women and children impacted by domestic and sexual violence. Sasha also developed and ran the first counseling program at a state-supported residential facility for adults with intellectual disabilities and concurrent mental illness. In more recent years, Sasha worked as a middle school counselor for underserved populations at a large charter school system in Houston. She has been in private practice since 2016.