Psychology: Replacing the Couch with Knife and Injection

The psychology profession, growing ever larger, seems more and more to have given up on counseling. Why spend time talking when you can prescribe a drug or provide a surgical procedure that will make the problem go away?

Tracy Shannon considers herself a “trans-widow. The mother of three lost her husband to autogynephilia, a term coined by psychologist Ray Blanchard (1989). It describes a sexual response characterized by sexual arousal over the idea of being or becoming a woman. (Its female counterpart is autoandrophilia.)

Shannon says that when her husband started shaving his legs, she at first shrugged it off as quirkiness; however, when she noticed that said shaving made him sexually aroused, she became very concerned. Sometime later, the couple visited a counselor, and I’ll bet that you can guess the rest of the story.

That counselor was all about Tracy Shannon recognizing her husband’s needs and allowing him to pursue that which makes him feel good: the leg shaving, the makeup, the cross-dressing; a course of action that ended up including a little thing called hormone treatment—something he pursued in secret for years. The consequent destruction of his masculinity brought the marriage to an end. 

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Today, Shannon runs the Texas chapter of Mass Resistance, an organization founded in 1994 to “confront assaults on the traditional family, school children, and the moral foundation of society.” As of this writing, sixteen states have Mass Resistance chapters.

Shannon is exasperated that strangers often ask her if her ex-husband is happy now. In her words, “If my ex had simply just left for a younger, hotter edition, nobody would say something that cold to me. But I get that all the time,” she said.

“I think that is the most insulting thing because a commitment to marriage should mean something…Children mean something.”

“They just wanted their dad,” she says, explaining that her children have suffered a great deal. “Between three kids, there’s been six suicide attempts on different levels of how serious they were.”

Shannon, of course, is not the only trans-widow. She says that, “In my gut, I knew it was a form of infidelity, like an elusive ‘other woman’…but until I learned what an autogynephile was, I had no word or explanation for what I witnessed.”

And what of the bigger picture? What of all the other philias? What are we to make of doctors cooperating with disease—perhaps even enshrining it? 

Autogynephilia is a type of paraphilia; that is, a condition where individuals gain sexual gratification and arousal from situations, individuals, or objects that are extreme and atypical. Many people have harmless sexual triggers—for example, a pink dress or a certain cologne. A paraphilia, on the other hand, is a sick, debilitating desire. 

For example, there’s Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), a rare paraphilia also known as apotemnophilia: a compulsive desire to lose one or more healthy limbs through amputation or an inordinate desire to have sex with an amputee, a disorder that also often involves eroticizing a wheelchair, a pair of crutches, or an actual body stump. 

Apotemnophilia was, not all that long ago, sometimes surgically treated by the actual removal of healthy limbs. Of course, it was just a matter of time before the amputee might develop a desire for further amputation, so the procedure is no longer done.

How much longer will unscrupulous surgeons amputate healthy sexual organs in the impossible mission of satisfying unhealthy desires? Some will do so as long as there’s money to be made (with impunity). 

Elsevier claims to be “a leader in information and analytics for customers across the global research and health ecosystems.” A search of transgenderism on their site turns up eighty-seven publications, many of them presenting medicine supportive of transitioning, leaving one with the impression that a favorable attitude toward transitioning is a forgone medical conclusion. 

To be clear, autogynephilia is not the only driver of transgenderism, a term which, according to Johns Hopkins’ scholar Paul R. McHugh, has no legitimacy as a word because changing genders is just another medical myth, an impossibility. For this, McHugh has, expectedly, been attacked, not only by the woke Left but by what is thought of by many as the keepers of Western medicine: the AMA and the American Psychological Association—two of the world’s most powerful and pathetically worshipped labor unions.

Some proponents of transgenderism admit that the suicide rate of transgenders is extremely high, and they quickly place the blame on an inability to fit into a society that is less than welcoming. However, that claim could only be legitimately made if it were possible to do a study using a control group—the very thing that is always lacking in psychological science; the reason that it will always remain a soft science. 

One of the only groups that could in any way be perceived as a control group is the folks who have transitioned and then decided to return to their original gender identity—a group in which the trans industry seems rather disinterested. 

For many a transgender person, it seems that, for a time, with the approval and encouragement of others, the thrill of the experiment suffices. However, that thrill, and the illusion that brings it, wears thin with time; and when it does, it is often too late for physical restoration. 

In partaking of the forbidden fruit, our first parents sought to possess not goodness, and certainly not godliness; they desired the impossible: godness. On the other hand, seeking the achievable—godliness—involves recognition of the deep crevasse between human nature and the nature of the divine; it is the desire for neither equity, nor equality, but for incorporation of ourselves into the Trinity, and of Trinitarian love into our hearts. 

Conversely, in the human sexual realm, the desire to possess the otherliness of the complementary sex, rather than the personal otherness, is the deification of one’s own desire—in Tracy Shannon’s words, the “elusive ‘other woman.’” Our natural concupiscent sexuality is jealously possessive of the desired other. Ironically, the vain attempt to possess sexual otherliness involves no other person; its staying power depends only upon the sustained thrill of the would-be possessor, for whom day-to-day existence becomes a sexual drama.

That sexual actor is on the stage every waking hour—the show must go on. However, society is fickle—fashion driven—and the curtain-calls lessen, or cease, and the player looks in the mirror and finds a victim in a dressing room wondering why he/she is still in costume and makeup. 

Possessing the otherliness is a fleeting impossibility: a lonely thrill that fades. Such sexual experimentation is ultimately desexualizing. And sexual gratification, in and of itself, is not even remotely sufficient to engender joy or fulfillment. 

Desexualization is a demonic goal. The great dealers in death hate sex and sexuality nearly as much as they hate the Almighty. Sex is ultimately inextricable from procreation—from life; it dies a lonely death when it’s out on its own. 

Any depth of meaning to be found in sex is also inextricable from our carnal desire to possess the otherness. That carnal desire can only be tamed and transformed by Christian desire to serve the other and ultimately satisfied in our desire for incorporation into the infinite Otherness. 

Paraphilias are serious conditions. Though one should not trivialize the suffering of those thus afflicted, we must neither participate in normalizing their afflictions nor deny that such afflictions leave the afflicted deeply vulnerable to opportunistic practitioners and satanic influence. The affliction is a mental disease; normalizing/enshrining/cooperating with it is a very serious evil. 

Psychology (indeed, medicine in general) is growingly abandoning anything resembling a truly wholesome approach to care; we are embodied spirits that are being treated, all too often, as nothing more than pleasure-seeking animals. 

The psychology profession, growing ever larger, seems more and more to have given up on counseling. Why spend time talking when you can prescribe a drug or provide a surgical procedure that will make the problem go away? That is the paradigm under which many doctors and society at large seem to be operating.  

In a previous article, I explored our need for confession and how the effect of accumulated guilt on mental health cannot be ignored with good result. Now it seems that the therapist’s couch—the thing that presented itself as confession’s replacement—is in the dust bin as well. 

This approach to mental health is leaving legions of victims in its aftermath. Tracy Shannon and her three children are certainly such victims. And yet, Tracy’s husband and the father of her children is also a victim of a profession that is flirting with its own demise: courting irrelevance.

Today’s titillation is tomorrow’s regulation. 

Sympathy/empathy promote the codification of protection, which over time promotes a sort of canonization: a protected class with a veritable place of honor. It is the way of progressive morality. If we have no concern for the victims of perverse sexual self-expression, where are we headed as a society? What unfulfilled paraphilias are on the progressive roster?

Humanity’s first sin was committed in the pursuit of knowledge. Adam and Eve picked and ate from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” We are knowledge gluttons; we think that it makes us gods.

Consider these words of Malcolm Muggeridge: 

Accumulating knowledge is a form of avarice and lends itself to another version of the Midas story…man [is] so avid for knowledge that everything that he touches turns to facts; his faith becomes theology; his love becomes lechery; his wisdom becomes science; pursuing meaning, he ignores truth.

It is perhaps not surprising then that our increasing knowledge of the human psyche would incline us to see ourselves as masters of our own destinies. And yet it has done the opposite: many among us have become fatalists—doomed to serving our unnatural urges simply because our knowledge is not wholistic and serves only our base desires—however wacky.  

Knowledge, like any other possession, does not really belong to us; at best, we are stewards. He who possesses knowledge and is a poor steward of it takes on the same culpability as he who possesses anything else of value; however, the abuse of knowledge is a much more menacing offense than the hoarding and leveraging of simple things. 

Growingly, that abuse includes cooperating with the all-too-common paraphilia known as pedophilia. Socially, we are, as of yet, perhaps only at the point of titillation—in the throes of herd empathy and sympathy. If so, the codification of a protected class is not far in the offing.

The process is so pathetically predictable. It starts with the academics, gains credibility with the most malleable, gullible class on earth—celebrities and the media—all of which strikes a powerful chord with our simple-minded, condescending ruling class. 

In the words of Dr. McHugh concerning transgenderism, these “policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.” He might just as well have said the same of any paraphilia. 

Modern life occasionally requires a reality check. What is really important? If I’m a prehistoric cave dweller, I’m interested in mating because offspring are needed for the maintenance of the tribe—literally for survival. Yeah, I have my weird urges, but what does that have to do with saber-toothed tigers and the coming winter? (Interestingly, saber-toothed tigers considered, in this scenario a fetish for amputated limbs might actually have some utility. Just sayin’.)

Pedophiliacs will be painted as victims; of that we can be sure. And indeed, victims they may be. However, many with an agenda will claim them to be victims of repressive society—of zealous religious bias. And those many will paint children, deprived of sexual intimacy with each other and adults, as victims of the same repression. 

When psychology devolves to coddling, no one wins: neither the babied nor the babies. 

[Image Credit: Shutterstock]

  • Jerome German

    Jerome German is a retired manufacturing engineer, husband, father of eleven, and grandfather of a multitude. His parochial activities have included music ministry, faith formation, and spiritual direction/talks for men’s retreats. He contributes articles to Crisis Magazine and Catholic Stand.

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