Psychological Treatment for Gender Dysphoria Research Paper

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Clinical Psychology and Gender Dysphoria

Advancement of Clinical Psychology with Gender Dysphoria

Clinical psychology is recognized as a psychology branch that deals with the assessment and treatment of abnormal behavior, mental illness, and psychiatric problems (Brennan, 2003). Clinical psychology integrates the science of psychology with treatment of complicated human problems, which makes it a challenging and rewarding field. American psychologist Lightner Witmer introduced the term in 1907. Witmer defined clinical psychology as a field that studies individuals by experimentation or observation, with the intent of promoting change. A clinical psychologist will try to reduce any psychological distress suffered by a patient and enhance their psychological well-being. Previously clinical psychology focused on the psychological assessment of the patients, and there was little or no attention been paid to treatment. This scenario changed after World War II in the 1940s because there was increased demand for trained clinicians. A clinical psychologist will offer psychotherapy, diagnosis of mental illness, and psychological testing.

Gender dysphoria refers to a condition where an individual experiences distress or discomfort because of a mismatch with their biological sex (Steensma, Biemond, de Boer, & Cohen-Kettenis, 2011). The assigned biological sex at birth is done depending on the genitals appearance. The gender that a person identifies with is their gender identity. Biological sex and gender identity are the same for most individuals, but there are cases where there is a discrepancy. This discrepancy or mismatch will cause distress and uncomfortable feelings, which are referred to as gender dysphoria. This is not considered a mental disorder, but rather a medical condition that can be sorted with treatment. There are many ways that this condition will manifest itself in an individual. A person will identify with the opposite gender yet they have normal and secondary sex characteristics of one gender.

A clinical psychologist would be in a position to assist an individual suffering from gender dysphoria. The psychologist would perform a psychological assessment of the individual to determine why they identify more with another gender. The psychologist will attempt to lessen the burden by offering the individual help and treatment.

Religion and psychology

Psychologists have studied religion and religious practices for a long time. According to Leahey (2014) researchers have tried to understand various religious experiences like prayer, cult, and mystical experiences. This study began in early twentieth century, but it faded and was revived in the 1980s by the American Psychological Association. The APA began to investigate formally the aspects of religion in psychology. Most psychologists regard William James as the founder of this field. He was the author of the first psychology textbook Varieties of Religious Experience in 1902. Psychologists have tried to explain and understand the ways a person can be deemed religious. There are supernatural happenings that science cannot explain from a rational point-of-view.

People suffering from gender dysphoria and are religious are more likely to recover from their disorder. Religion has been shown to improve a patient's mental disorder if they are truly religious and spiritual. This is because the patient has found meaning in their life, and this assists them to overlook what is ailing them. Religious affiliation would offer a person suffering from gender dysphoria some relief, and this would be beneficial to the person. The person would not have to suffer mentally, as they would have their religion to assist them understand the feelings they are undergoing. The person would rely on religious texts to formulate and comprehend the situation, which would assist them in coping with their feelings.

Biology of psychology

The biology of psychology applies the principles of biology in the study of psychology. This theory attempts to investigate biological processes that underlie abnormal and normal behavior (Colomb & Brembs, 2010). Having a biological perspective is vital in three ways comparative method, investigation of inheritance, and physiology. The comparative method studies and compares different species of animals. This helps in understanding human behavior. Investigation of inheritance provides the psychologist with information regarding what the animal has inherited from its parents and the mechanisms of inheritance. Physiology analyses how the hormones and nervous system work, how the brain functions, and how structure changes can affect human behavior. Using these three biological aspects, a clinical psychologist can explain human behavior. This theory was formulated in the 18th and 19th century. Charles Darwin was the first to formulate this theory when he was working on his natural selection theory, as he was observing animals during his travels. Biology has the potential to explain a person's behavior. Biology of psychology supports nature over nurture, because the theory only analyses biological functions and structures. Nurture plays a big role in a person's behavior, and it is vital for a psychologist to analyze the person's behavior using their nurture too.

Biology does play a huge role in gender dysphoria. Using biological studies, a clinical psychologist would be able to establish why a person is suffering from gender dysphoria. Scientifically testing explanations will assist the psychologist to arrive at conclusive results. Clear predictions can be made from the analysis done, and one can see if the condition is genetic or is due to neurotransmitters. Biology of psychology has contributed immensely to the treatment of clinical depression that is mostly suffered by gender dysphoria patients. Genetics knowledge is vital especially for patients suffering from gender identity. Having the capability to perform gene mapping, the clinical psychologist can understand why the condition is manifesting itself in the patient. Having such data, the psychologist can offer a comprehensive treatment that might include suggesting undergoing a sex change.

Theories of intelligence

Intelligence is amongst the highly talked about subjects in psychology, but there has not been a standard definition of what precisely forms intelligence. There have been two different definitions from researchers in regards to intelligence. One defines intelligence as a single general ability, and the other believes that it covers a range of skills, aptitude, and talents (Miele & Molden, 2010). Theories of intelligence emerged around 1904 when psychologist Charles E. Spearman published his first article on intelligence. Spearman proposed what is known as the g factor, which means general intelligence. Spearman believed that there is only one way to define intelligence. The most recent ideas regarding intelligence were by Howard Gardner. He described intelligence based on skills and abilities, which enabled him to come up with eight intelligences. Robert Sternberg is another modern theorist who concurs with Howard, but he ascertains that some of the intelligences Gardner proposed could be viewed as individual talents. Stenberg proposal was a triarchic theory of intelligence, which distinguished intelligence using three aspects. There is also emotional intelligence, which is described as an ability that assists a person to perceive, understand, regulate, and express emotions. Other researchers have maintained that this are not forms of intelligence, but rather forms of personality traits.

Intelligence is vital for clinical psychology as it assists the psychologist to analyze gender dysphoria. Employing analytical intelligence would allow the clinical psychologist to use his or her problem solving abilities in order to offer guidance to a patient. Encouraging the patient to use his practical intelligence in order for them to adapt to the changes taking place in their body. The client should be encouraged to express their feelings and not be ashamed, which would ensure that the psychologist could use their observation and listening skills to determine the best treatment course. Intelligence is gained through practice and study by using appropriate tools. Problem solving is also a vital aspect of intelligence, which allows a person to understand a problem and transform it into a problem they can clearly define.

Theory of psychoanalysis

The theory of psychoanalysis refers to the influence that the unconscious mind has on a person's behavior. Sigmund Freud is the pioneer of this theory in late 19th century. Freud held on the belief that a person's mind was made up of three elements namely the ego, the superego, and the id (Stern & Stern, 2013). Freud also defined psychosexual stages that defined the unconscious and dream symbolism, both of which have remained popular topics among modern psychologists. Erik Erikson is another theorist who expounded on Freud's theories. He stressed upon growth throughout a person's lifespan. His theory of psychological stage is still influential today in the understanding of human development. The conscious mind is one of the aspects that Freud was interested with, and he defined it as everything that was inside a person's awareness. The ego has developed a defense mechanism, which it uses to guard against anxiety. The y safeguard the mind from thought and feelings that the conscious mind cannot deal with. The unconscious is a reservoir of thoughts, feelings, memories, and urges that are outside a person's conscious awareness. The unconscious influences an individual's behavior although they are not aware the underlying influences.

Using this theory one can see that a person's unconscious mind has an influence on their behavior. In regards to gender identity, a patient suffering from this condition would find that they…

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