Characteristics of Gender Dysphoria

Gender Dysphoria pic
Gender Dysphoria

A licensed psychologist, Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., has maintained a private practice in Rockville, Maryland, for more than 25 years. Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., possesses a special interest in the diagnosis and treatment of Gender Dysphoria.

Formerly known as gender identity disorder, Gender Dysphoria affects those whose identified gender differs from their assigned or physical gender. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, specifies that for the diagnosis of gender dysphoria to be valid, the person must experience significant distress due to the incongruity between birth and self-identified gender. However it is well established that the psychological expression of a gender preference does not in and of itself indicates a “mental disorder”.

The distress associated with Gender Dysphoria may take the form of a desire to live and interact with others as the other gender. It also can, but does not necessarily, involve a desire to change one’s physical sex characteristics to match the gender with which the individual identifies.

The diagnosis may be present in children too. Children with Gender Dysphoria show a prolonged interest of at least six months in duration in the clothes, interests, and playmates associated with the identified gender and may desire to take on the other gender’s sex characteristics.

Gender dysphoria in children does not necessarily guarantee the same diagnosis in adulthood. However, those who are most definitive, persistent, and unwavering in their expressions of identification with another gender are more likely to present eventually as transgender adults.


New PTSD Study Points to Benefits of an Intensive Treatment Approach

American Medical Associationpic
American Medical Association

A longtime Maryland private practitioner, Uzi Ben-Ami, PhD, offers psychotherapy services to patients that include families, individuals, and children. Among the areas in which Uzi Ben-Ami, PhD, has extensive experience are bipolar disorder, PTSD, and trauma-related stress.

A recent Journal of the American Medical Association paper brought attention to “Project Remission” and the potential of expedited PTSD care to achieve positive results. Spanning several Army medical centers and veterans centers, the study compared the conventional eight-week “Spaced-PE” prolonged exposure therapy course with a two-week intensive “Massed-PE” course.

Prolonged-exposure therapy typically involves weekly counseling sessions that center on the repeated recounting of the traumatic memories associated with PTSD. Patients listen to recordings of these experiences over a period of months and also engage in field trips that bring them to places connected with persistent anxieties.

The newly developed Massed-PE approach compresses this approach with audio recordings listened to on a daily basis. In addition to field trips, participants engage in controlled breathing training and receive PTSD education. Concerns that the compressed program would prove overwhelming to participants proved unfounded, with the 14 percent dropout rate associated with “Massed-PE” significantly less than the 25 percent dropout rate associated with “Spaced-PE.”

While many long-term obstacles concerning successful recovery from combat-related PTSD remain unresolved, the findings suggest that many cases can be treated to remission through an intensive approach.

The Four Major Symptoms of PTSD


PTSD pic

A Licensed Psychologist who has spent more than 30 years working with clients on a wide range of mental health issues, Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., operates a suburban private practice in Rockville, Maryland. In his work with individuals, families, and children, Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., has helped many clients cope with post-traumatic stress disorder so that they can lead healthy and productive lives.

When considering a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, there are four main symptoms to look for in the patient. The first involves the patient reliving the traumatic event through nightmares, flashbacks, or through other conscious external stimuli (sights, sounds, smells, etc.) that are referred to as triggers.

The second symptom involves the patient actively trying to avoid situations that elicit memories of the traumatic event. For example, a patient who experienced a traumatic car accident may avoid driving or even riding in cars altogether.

Third, a patient may exhibit a negatively changed belief or feeling about something based upon the trauma they experienced. This can involve bouts of paranoia and/or isolation as the patient attributes the trauma to interpersonal relationships.

Finally, the patient may present with hyperarousal, meaning they may constantly be “on edge” due to an ongoing perception of being in danger. Hyperarousal can manifest itself as irritability, insomnia, or difficulty concentrating.

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