I received my master’s degree in the field of Mental Health Counseling in the mid-1990s and was licensed by my state board just a few years later. In graduate school, I took a course in Child Development that addressed what was then referred to in the DSM-IV—the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States—as “Gender Identity Disorder.” At the time, the diagnosis was rare, and the best course of treatment was individual and family therapy—and to allow nature to take its course.
Letting nature take its course meant allowing children to go through puberty. It was and is still known that “80 percent to 95 percent of pre-pubertal children with Gender Dysphoria will experience resolution by late adolescence if not exposed to social affirmation and medical intervention” (Michelle Cretella, M.D., American College of Pediatricians, 2018). Yet, today that knowledge is suppressed because the field of psychology has been hijacked by woke gender activists.
How institutions have been terrorized into “wokeness” is a complex issue, but it’s possible to deduce that it spread from academia, where administrators are largely politically and socially left-leaning. According to Samuel J. Abrams, Professor of Politics at Sarah Lawrence College, a majority of administrators have degrees in education, “and reports have shown that graduates of education programs are fixated on a narrow progressive view of demographics, identity, diversity and capitalism, as well as ideas about oppression they believe permeate American society.” In his Newsweek opinion piece, Professor Abrams explains that university administrators “adhere to a pedagogy that transforms their graduates into activists.”
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In 2013, Gender Identity Disorder was recast by the American Psychological Association as Gender Dysphoria following years of lobbying from activists who argued the former terminology unfairly categorized transgender individuals as mentally ill. With this pivot, gender confusion went from being classified as a mental illness to a feeling of discomfort “caused by the body and mind not aligning and/or societal marginalization of gender-variant people” (APA).
The DSM–5 further articulates that “gender non-conformity is not in itself a mental disorder.” The claim that Gender Dysphoria is caused by “societal marginalization” is dubious to begin with as the United States is one of the most lesbian-, gay-, bisexual- and transgender-affirming nations in the world.
To add to this confusion, Gender Dysphoria is not considered a mental illness while Body Dysmorphia, “an extreme disparagement of some aspect of appearance that is not supported by the objective evidence” (APA Dictionary) is. Individuals struggling with eating disorders often experience body dysmorphia and require interventions like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help change their disordered thinking.
Until 2015, “delusions” were defined in psychiatry’s diagnostic handbook, the DSM-IV as, “false beliefs due to incorrect inference about external reality.” Yet, today the field of psychology maintains that to be at odds with one’s biological sex, which is, in fact, a physical reality, is neither delusional nor a sign of disordered thinking.
The American Psychological Association has rejected mental health norms that require an individual’s thoughts to align with physical reality in order to promote a focus on emotional distress and to avoid labeling gender confusion as mental illness. And children who display any signs of gender variance or confusion are now being encouraged to explore “gender identities” apart from their biological sex.
Unfortunately, the influence of role modeling in identity formation is no longer considered or understood. The proof is in the explosion of kids today who are gender confused due to societal rejection of gender norms coupled with widespread promotion of gender confusion in schools, medical practices, therapy, and throughout the media. “A recent study has documented an increasing trend among adolescents to self-diagnose as transgender after binges on social media sites such as Tumblr, Reddit, and YouTube. This suggests that social contagion may be at play” (Littman L., “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports”).
The role of therapists today has largely been relegated in this mass confusion to function as “allies” in order to “accompany” and “affirm” gender identity and gender expression. In fact, most therapists live within states and territories where we are compelled by law to provide affirmative therapy which amounts to clinical activism. And Catholic therapists like myself who resist are being marginalized—forced to remain silent in order to work, or to leave the field entirely, creating an even greater echo chamber of misinformation and fewer treatment options.
The phenomena of professionals being coerced to leave the field of psychology to escape woke politics is generally not covered by the media, except to excoriate those famous enough to warrant public rebuke. Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychologist, author, and media personality was threatened with loss of license in 2022 by the College of Psychologists of Ontario for expressing viewpoints considered “unprofessional.” Mr. Peterson responded by filing an application for judicial review and has since refused to participate in the board’s demands to attend a “re-education” program for holding views that were, “insufficiently leftist, politically.”
Anecdotally, I have spoken with priests in the sanctity of the confessional who have guided me spiritually and have confirmed that other Catholic psychotherapists are finding it necessary to leave jobs unless they can find ways to practice independently. As Catholics, we are morally compelled to avoid becoming an accomplice to evil. And due to changes at the level of policies and guidelines, many of us in the field of psychology will soon be unable to practice in good conscience.
I want to do what I was trained to do; provide psychotherapy.
Individuals who are struggling with an incongruence between their experienced gender and biological sex should have the opportunity to explore how the impact of childhood adverse events, trauma, and social contagion may be associated with difficulty accepting the reality of their biological sex. Instead, many states have banned this exploration under the banner of “conversion therapy,” conflating true psychotherapy with potentially harmful attempts to “cure” an individual of homosexuality or gender confusion with pseudoscientific practices.
I would never recommend questionable or unethical treatment for Gender Dysphoria, which is precisely why I cannot forsake true psychotherapy for the unexamined path of “accompaniment” and “affirmation” of gender-confused individuals. The gender ideology movement itself is unscientific and lacks any evidence base.
There are consequences for professionals like myself when moral judgments arise followed by economic and social repercussions for holding “politically incorrect” or Christian views on gender. But even more tragically, there are lifelong consequences for the children who are being pushed by gender activists toward the use of cross-sex hormones and sent down a path of medical transitions with outcomes they have no true capacity to comprehend or consent to.
In order to protect children, we must unite to push back against “cancel culture” so that professionals who want to protect children—and children themselves—are no longer trampled by the gender industry.