As the head of the clinical and therapies teams, I work in the background to ensure the patient receives the best possible care, and the right care at the right time. I see Trypanophobia, fears, and phobias all of the time. I also have the privilege to work with complex cases together with other professionals such as social services, the NHS, and other organisations.
- An overbearing fear of needles within a medical setting. Usually, patients that suffer from Trypanophobia will avoid getting their blood drawn, getting vaccines, or going on an IV. It’s very common, and can affect or delay medical procedures.
Over the years, we have supported patients with a number of fears and phobias. One example is when a young person had a needle phobia and struggled to have their routine blood taken. GenderGP has helped patients with fears such as Hemophobia (fear of blood), Tomophobia (fear of medical procedures), White Coat Syndrome (fear of doctors), and like this young person, Trypanophobia (fear of needles).
Often, specific phobias like these feel overwhelming and unreasonable, as they are unlikely to pose any real danger, but rather cause anxiety and avoidance. Oppresanzised and marginalised groups such as the trans and non-binary population are at greater risk of suffering from phobias. These phobias can develop as a result of having a negative experience or panic attack related to a specific healthcare situation.
This young person’s parents contacted GenderGP to explain their concerns over their child’s needle fear (Trypanophobia). This phobia posed a particular issue. As with many transgender and non-binary people receiving hormone treatment, they require regular blood tests to ensure the treatment is working and they are healthy.
The GenderGP team sprung into action to look at various options for this young person to monitor their hormone levels. The GGP team showed their true colours in all their glory! It started with the pathology team looking at a range of hormone testing methods: standard IV testing, fingerprick test, the Dutch hormone test, which in this case, was ideal as this was a urine test.
From there, the therapy team supported both the young person and mum during their time of need through family and parent counselling. GGP offered this young person hypnotherapy and worked with them to find coping strategies to get through the difficulties and anxiety they faced around needles, and their Trypanophobia. All whilst the pathway team and medical team supported them with hormone treatment and regular communication.
Some months later, I sat in a multi-agency meeting with the family, GenderGP’s lead of therapies, and other professionals. We discussed the progress of this young person and how GenderGP assisted them with receiving the healthcare they so desperately needed in a safe, timely manner.
Also participating in this call was the young person, who had now received their first blood test and had vaccinations. They sat up straight, their smile beaming through the camera as they spoke independently to a virtual room full of adults for the first time. Their voice was full of confidence and happiness. I thanked them for their strength during their difficult journey.
The local authority and social services professionals asked to use GenderGP for support in future cases with trans and non-binary youth. Both the lead therapist and I were immensely proud of this and agreed to work and support them going forward.
After the meeting, I reflected and realised what a difference GenderGP has made to this young person’s life, their family, and the professionals involved in this case. We have not only enabled them to be vaccinated and have their routine blood test but also empowered them to overcome adversity. They no longer hid from the camera but instead sat there beaming while talking about their future!