Trans affirmations ‘cowardly, lazy and damaging’: psychotherapist says

The rush to affirm everyone who says they are transgender will one day be seen as a national scandal, an award-winning psychotherapist has said.

Bob Withers, a psychotherapist for more than 30 years, has challenged those who push for patients to be affirmed in their confusion without conducting any kind of psychological evaluation.

He said it is a “cowardly dereliction of our duty” to avoid asking probing questions to determine whether someone’s gender dysphoria is rooted in another mental health issue, social isolation or bullying.

’Alarm bells’

Withers believes that instead of carrying out irreversible surgery to ‘change sex’ medical professionals should work “to help the mind fit better with the body before we start altering the body to fit the mind”.

“a lazy and damaging solution”

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, he said that the NHS is currently enabling hundreds or possibly thousands of teenagers to have the major surgery, and is doing so “almost unchallenged, in the name of transgender rights”.

“But in 20 years’ time, I believe we will look back on this folly as one of the darkest periods in the history of modern medicine.

“We will question why we failed to challenge their belief that they were born in the ‘wrong’ bodies. We will ask why we so readily ignored the clanging alarm bells that many were autistic, or had mental health problems.”


The psychotherapist added that the NHS is choosing to affirm self-diagnosed gender dysphoria rather than attempting to understand the underlying causes.

“you can run the risk of being accused of practising ‘conversion therapy'”

He said: “It’s a lazy and damaging solution and one which NHS professionals, teachers, politicians and the law are all too eager to embrace to signal their progressive views.”

Withers also highlighted that many in the field of psychotherapy are afraid to properly assess their patients because “if you don’t ‘affirm’ a patient’s claim to be transgender, you can run the risk of being accused of practising ‘conversion therapy'”.

He said this was the result of transgender activists “who label as ‘transphobic’ anyone who dares to challenge their dogma”.


Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he explained that his concern stemmed from a patient he treated 25 years ago. The patient had been living as a woman for nine years and had undergone full sex reassignment surgery before coming to the realisation it was a big mistake.

He said: “He’d lost his penis, it was really a deep tragedy for him. He was very suicidal and very depressed.”

He was helped by undergoing therapy, but Withers said the man wished he’d had psychoanalysis before he surgically transitioned.

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