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Differences in Sexual & Reproductive Development, Auckland, 25 August 2017


Fri, Aug. 25, 2017

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Psychology support within Women’s Health

One day training for psychologists, therapists, social workers: Differences in Sexual & Reproductive Development (DSD)

A recent review of the clinical psychology role within the Female Multidisciplinary Clinic at Auckland DHB highlighted the need for expanding our communication and experience.

Our clinic works with adolescents and older women who are referred for diagnosis and treatment of Difference in Sexual & Reproductive Development (DSD). The majority of adolescents and young adults presenting between 12-18 years identify as female and either heterosexual and/or sexually fluid. The FMC criterion for referral includes the following diagnoses:
• MRKH & any other uro-genital difference that prevents menstrual flow
• Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (Partial & Complete)
• Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia CAH (including salt wasting CAH)
• Turners Syndrome
• Gonadal Agenesis
• Young women from Starship Hospital who have been treated for cancer and have Ovarian Insufficiency Syndrome

Brief Background: The past practice of surgical vaginoplasty in the absence of psychological and physiotherapy support often led to selfreports of poor or no sexual functioning and poorer mental health. For the past twenty years I have worked in the area of DSD at National Women’s within a multidisciplinary framework (Endocrinologists, Gynaecologists, Physiotherapy and Psychology). As a psychologist I sit alongside young women and assist them to critically reflect on contradictory information from peers, social media and medical recommendations to identify their own preferences and desires and how this influences their decision making around treatment. My role is to facilitate decisions that reflect the young woman’s sexual and intimacy preferences, and promote sexual and general wellbeing.

Many young women, when ready, can choose to dilate a wider and longer vagina under physiotherapy guidance, and compared to the past, this treatment process makes it a very rewarding and exciting area to work in. I observe young women go from disinterest, distress to thriving within their world with confidence and choice to be or not to be a girlfriend, with or without a larger vagina.

We are offering a one day training to extend this expertise and psychological network throughout New Zealand. The training will be free for DHB
staff and a small charge for private practitioners.

Please download the flyer here for the proposed program.

To register your interest or for further information please contact Dr Prue Fisher, Clinical Psychologist or call 021353584.