Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Eva Feindler, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Carole Filangieri, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Rae Egbert, Psy.D.


As more families are seeking professional help to navigate issues surrounding gender, there is a growing need for clinicians who can assist in the family transition that accompanies an individual’s gender transition process (Coolhart, Ritenour, & Grodzinski, 2018). While family therapy literature is currently expanding to address families with a transgender member, existing psychological thought mostly centers therapeutic focus on the identified transgender individuals and their parents, neglecting the roles and experiences of siblings in this process (Blumer, Green, Knowles, & Williams, 2012). The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of those who had a sibling disclose they are transgender, with particular interest in how the process of disclosure and transition affected the sibling relationship as well as how those experiences may relate to or differ from parent-child relationships. Thirteen cisgender individuals who have a transgender sibling participated in individual, semi-structured Zoom interviews with the principal researcher. Data was recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using “grounded theory” methodology as explained by Auerbach and Silverstein (2003) to produce themes, theoretical constructs, and form a cohesive narrative. Through the analysis, four domains of experiences were identified: affective reactions, individual change processes, dyadic relationship processes, and family system processes. The discussion examines the data and theoretical constructs against existing literature and family systems theory. Recommendations are offered to clinicians and future researchers to facilitate change, provide support, and develop better understanding of the experiences of this population.