Professional, patient and media forces tend to oversimplify the complexity of the gender dysphoria syndrome. Because sex reassignment surgery may be helpful to some patients with the syndrome and harmful to others, mental health professionals need to competently perform differential diagnoses of both the gender disorder and the associated psychopathologies. This frequently involves distinctions between subtle forms of psychosis, character pathologies of varying severity, and major developmental problems. Surgery should not be considered the only, or the best, treatment for the syndrome. Contrary to popular belief, psychotherapy can help many patients, especially those with secondary gender dysphoria.