Q: My 7 year old nephew sees himself as a girl. My sister, a clinical psychologist believes that the only “treatment” for his condition is to accept him as he is and to relate to him as if he were a girl. We are very close with the family, but I have a hard time relating to my nephew as a girl. It seems like a devastating mistake. My sister, however, does not want to discuss it. (They are not Torah observant). What does the Rav advise?
A: Tell your sister that her son’s confusion stems from a stage of repression in which he is currently enmeshed. Unconsciously, he is repressing his masculine identity as part of a defense mechanism against his failure to perceive the difference between reality and imagination.
For more on defense mechanisms in the psyche, see Rabbi Ginsburgh’s recent English Torah lesson, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCwWrqUD-LU and in the article, “Why Hasn’t Mashiach Come? Three Defense Mechanisms for Dealing with Anxiety.”