(The Daily Signal) – Unfortunately, parents can’t trust mental health professionals on the issue of a transgender identity, a veteran social worker warns.
Pamela Garfield-Jaeger, a therapist and social worker with decades of experience dealing with mental health professionals and vulnerable people, warns that the over-psychologizing of childhood is contributing to the rise of rapid-onset gender dysphoria and the trauma of kids mutilating their own bodies to pursue a transgender identity, rather than dealing with underlying psychological issues.
Garfield-Jaeger, who lost her job because she refused to take a COVID-19 vaccine, now runs a practice called “The Truthful Therapist,” where she helps parents navigate the potentially fraught field of mental health. Many parents struggle to navigate mental health and find themselves demonized by the very professionals who they trust to help their kids.
“I talk to parents who either are still in the thick of it, where their children are still identifying as trans, or where their child has desisted, where the time that their children felt the most distress is when they believed that their parents no longer love them or care about them or accept them because that’s what the trans community and the therapists and the doctors” say, Garfield-Jaeger tells “The Daily Signal Podcast.”
“All the people who believe in this are telling this child, ‘Oh, your parents aren’t accepting you for who you are. We’re the ones who accept you. We’re the ones who know you best,’” she notes. “That’s a really scary prospect for a child to believe that ‘Now my parents don’t know who I am. They don’t listen to me. They don’t believe me, and they don’t care about me, and they don’t love me anymore,’ which is a complete lie.”
“All of these parents that I’ve ever met love their children dearly,” Garfield-Jaeger explains. “They just want to live in reality, and they know for sure that this child has some underlying issue that is causing them to believe that they are trans, and it’s not some magical spiritual belief that their brain is mismatched with their bodies.”
If children are struggling with mental health issues before they hear these negative messages about their parents, this idea that their parents don’t love them “just adds to the distress,” the social worker explains.
This mentality shows that parents can’t always trust mental health professionals, and it led Garfield-Jaeger to testify against AB 665, a California bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law last year. The legislation allows 12-year-old kids to consent to residential treatment in a mental health facility, and it also directs mental health professionals to consult with a child before determining whether the child’s parents should have any say in mental health treatment.
“The Truthful Therapist” warns that many of the group homes where kids receive residential treatment receive government funds. “The people that are controlling that money really believe strongly in this ‘gender-affirming care’ model, and they believe children need to get on hormones and have access to surgeries to be transgender really quickly,” she warns.
“Without their parents to safeguard them, I believe more vulnerable children will be turned into transgender incorrectly and not get their mental health needs met,” Garfield-Jaeger says.
She would know: She worked in group homes in California.
Much of the medical industry pushes experimental transgender medical interventions for children, even though doctors have warned that minors cannot consent to interventions with lifelong consequences, such as potential sterilization and greater risk for osteoporosis, deep-vein thrombosis, and other side effects.
“I actually believe that gender dysphoria or gender distress or whatever term you want to use is really a symptom of something else,” Garfield-Jaeger explains. She mentions that many who struggle with gender-identity issues have “trauma, usually sexual trauma.”
“The trans community promises this one-size-fits-all solution” that gives “short-term relief,” but “in the long run, it creates a lot of harm,” she says.
The social worker also noted that she sees a great deal of “desistance,” kids who formerly identified as transgender returning to identify with their biological sex. She said the phenomenon of youth identifying as transgender “peaked during the lockdown or right after the lockdowns, because so many kids were isolated, … they weren’t doing their sports or whatever hobbies that they would be doing or interacting with their friends, so they were stuck at home on their screens and learning that perhaps they’re trans online.”
“So, now that we’re a couple years out of that, we are seeing more desistance,” Garfield-Jaeger says. She estimates that among the parents she works with, about 50% of the kids have left a transgender identity. She notes that “it takes a while.”
“It seems to take about two years or so. It’s not an overnight process,” she said.
Garfield-Jaeger also connects the issue with critical race theory, a framework that encourages kids to look at American society as systemically racist, where white people are “oppressors” and black people are “oppressed.”
She said young people identify as transgender in part “because they tend to be in that ‘oppressor’ category—like the [cisgender], white, whatever—and so, they’re the ones who are attracted to becoming trans because they can sort of identify into being now in this ‘oppressed’ category.”
Girls may be especially susceptible to this trend, she adds. “A young girl wants to know that she’s a good person, and if she’s told by how she’s born, that makes her a bad person, that’s a pretty awful thing to tell a young person, I think,” she says. “Now you’ve got this magic way to opt out of that, which is becoming trans, and then you get rainbows and you get parades, and all the movies show the trans person as being cool and fun.”
She also laments that girls are told they should be afraid of puberty.
Garfield-Jaeger, who is Jewish, notes that “Jews are looked at as an ‘oppressor’ class, and I think that’s what’s happening on these campuses. That’s why there’s a rise in antisemitism.”