Circumcision is a Painful, Costly and Unnecessary Procedure

Circumcision is a Painful, Costly and Unnecessary Procedure
Target: Centers for Disease Control
Sponsored by: Intact America


No medical society in the world recommends male circumcision - yet newborn circumcision is the most common surgical procedure in the U.S.

Safer sexual practices and abstinence - not circumcision - prevent sexually transmitted diseases. And we know that there is NO link between infant circumcision and better health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reviewing new health claims about the "benefits" of circumcision - and may recommend this unnecessary surgery for our baby boys based on flawed studies that ignore the risks and ethics of circumcision.

As a U.S. agency safeguarding public health, the CDC has a responsibility to share the truth about this painful and unnecessary practice. Help prevent a government recommendation of routine newborn male circumcision by signing our petition to the CDC.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/760537185?z00m=19802998

Please, forward this to your friends to create awareness about this issue.

Luis Diaz

To watch a video of a baby being circumcised:
http://www.givingbirthnaturally.com/circumcision-video.html


*HERE* NOW MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF CIRCUMSICION* HERE*


CIRCUSCISION IN USA
This video details the insidious nature of circumcision as a routine American procedure:
The decision to circumcise must be made with the utmost consideration for immediate and future implications for your son. As more parents have access to informed consent and evidence-based practice, more parents are making the decision to forego a cosmetic circumcision.



*HERE* NOW MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF CIRCUMSICION* HERE*

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Comentario

¡Tienes que ser miembro de SER REAL/BEING REAL para agregar comentarios!

Únete a SER REAL/BEING REAL

Comentario de Javier Alvarez el noviembre 26, 2009 a las 10:17am
Esto es algo complicado de escribir, pero supongo que sacarlo es mejor que dejarlo dentro.

A mi me circuncidaron al nacer. No tengo recuerdo de ello, o al menos eso creo. Pero puedo confirmar algunos de los patrones de los que habla Luis. Inseguridad, irritabilidad (sobre todo con mi madre). Y en la parte física, aunque no tengo punto de comparación, estoy prácticamente seguro de una disminución en la sensibilidad, es decir, ahí donde algunos tienen problemas de eyaculación precoz, yo me encuentro en el otro lado del espectro.

Entiendo, sin embargo, la posición de los padres que optan por la circunsición de sus hijos. Por ejemplo mis padres, siendo doctores y padres preocupados, actuaron desde lo que creían era lo mejor, actuaron desde el amor.

Si discutimos el tema desde la circuncisión probablemente nos toparemos con este amor (amor a nuestros padres, amor a nuestros hijos). Sin embargo, entiendo que este artículo trata de exponer otro lado de la moneda, más allá de la parte médica, para que los padres puedan tomar una decisión más conciente (y esa es mi intención al compartir estas líneas).

Lo que falta en esa preocupación y actuar de padres es el ponerse en el lugar del bebé: recién fuera de la protección del útero, alejado de la madre y violentado en tus partes sexuales. Si tu fueras ese bebé, ¿cómo te sentirías? ¿Qué impresión tendrías de este mundo al que has llegado? ¿Qué imagen de tí se crearía en ese momento?

Ahora, la pregunta que se plantea en esta discusión entre Raquel y Luis parece ser una discusión entre higiene mental e higiene física (la discusión religiosa, creo que estamos de acuerdo en que no la resolveremos). Pero recuerdo algo que comentaban en un curso al que fuimos antes de que naciera nuestro bebé: "hay que lavar bien el pene a los niños varones (jalando el prepucio hacia el cuerpo), y posteriormente enseñarles a que tengan una higiene adecuada; antes había mucho pudor y ni la madre ni el padre lo hacían, lo cual traía como consecuencia infecciones". Conozco al menos un par de casos (un adulto y un niño) al que tuvieron que hacerles la circuncisión por infecciones, pero me queda la duda: ¿Con una debida higiene se hubiera podido evitar? Si es así, entonces lo que se debería promover es la forma adecuada de lavar el pene de los niños en lugar de tomar una solución tajante "por default".
Comentario de Luis Angel Diaz el noviembre 13, 2009 a las 8:36pm
Les paso el testimonio de alguien que fue circunsidado a los 12 anios.

ents

Sergey Baranov Comment by Sergey Baranov 1 hour ago
Delete Comment Well, I don't know what good it does or doesn't, medically speaking, but I can share it as it was for me.

When we have immigrated to Israel from Russia, I was 12 and a half years old. Just few month later, my parents, like all other immigrants, were heavily brainwashed. They have been told that if I would not have it done, than I will suffer greatly in the Army and later on in life. They agreed to do it.
I went to hospital when I turned 13, and went thru that.
When after operation, waking up from general anaesthesia, I looked under the sheets to see what happened there and saw it, I almost fainted.
For a month I was in pain, couldn't sit or stand or walk without pain. Going to the bathroom was a nightmare. For a month I was sleeping only on my back which I hated doing. Not to mention how painful it felt when was erected, sometimes, waking in the mornings.
Years later, when I discovered that my vitality was of expense of physical sensation, I was seriously pissed at my parents.
For many years I could not forgive them for doing that to me, without ever telling them about it.
I understood that their decision back then was based on love and care for me, and telling them about that would hurt them greatly since nothing ever could be done about that.

Conclusion is, when I will have my children, and if I'll have a boy, I will not repeat my parents mistake, by doing that to him.
Comentario de Luis Angel Diaz el noviembre 11, 2009 a las 9:13pm
Hola Raquel;

Gracias por aportar tu punto de vista, ya que es uno que es compartido por mucha gente y es por esa razon que es necesario una discusion clara y honesta.

No soy judio y este tema no habia sido de mi interes hasta que lo fue hace unos 10 anios.
Naci en un pais latino donde esto no es comun circuncidar a los bebes. Solo los judiso lo hacen alli.

Por eso y para empezar necesito aclarar que este tema no tiene que ver con los judios ni tiene connotaciones religiosas. No es mi interes meterme en eso.
Mi necesidad es la de protejer a los bebes y de respeto por la autonomia de decision de los padres que sean informados de los pro y los contra antes de hacer una decision. Hacer la circuncision mandatoria es para mi un avazallamiento de los derechos humanos basado en la falta de informacion.

Cuando me mude a USA y despues de varios anios de trabajar con la memoria celular, observe que eran mas y mas los hombres que traian al consciente el trauma de la circuncision.
Eran en su mayoria casos de hombres que tenian problemas de violencia irracional o que no podian controlar su irritabilidad con sus seres queridos, Especialmente con las mujeres.

Para mi fue una gran sorpresa todo esto. Tambien lo es siempre para el hombre que esta haciendo el trabajo. Nadie espera que esa experiencia de la circumcision sea la raiz de las disfunciones.

Asi, con el correr del tiempo, pude verificar una y otra vez los patrones, y como el caracter y la personalidad del hombre se forma alrededor de esta experiencia que cuando la reviven en las sesiones, son de dolor fisico y emocional intenso y muy extremo del que el hombre no es consciente en absoluto. Se lo vive en realidad, como un gran trauma.

En las sesiones suelen aparecer las presumsiones inconscientes creadas por la intensidad de la experiencia. Por ejemplo: la experiencia de sentirse traicionado, de abandono, de totl vulnerabilidad y violencia, de perdida de la confianza en la vida y en quienes deberian protejerme, de miedo intenso o mejor dicho de terror y un profundo sentimiento de desproteccion y separacion.
El sentirse separado nos hace sentir solos y esto nos genera el sentirme abusado y ser victima. La victima o se esconde o se tiene que defender y contraatacar. Esta es una de las consecuencias mas grandes que he visto en estos hombres: mucha inseguridad enmascarada de defensividad, violencia y contraatque.

Solo te puedo dar mi testimonio de lo que he visto. Espero que sirva para aclarar las razones de porque apoyo esta peticion en contra de hacer la circunsicion mandatoria.

Ahora mi pregunta es:
Entiendo tu postura pero, tu estas de acuerdo que se haga mandatorio y que todos los bebes sean circuncidados?
No se deberia hacer un estudio bien profundo de las consequencias de este acto?

Que te parece?

luis
Comentario de Raquel Fernández el noviembre 11, 2009 a las 1:32pm
Estoy en desacuerdo a este comentario presentado sobre la circuncisión y se tendría que tener
presente las estadísticas y de quién proviene dicho comentario, esta práctica la vienen realizando los judíos por más de 5.700 años y en las mujeres judías es muy bajo las incidencias de enfermedades infecciosas por contacto sexual además de ser más una higiene para el hombre entre otras cosas, además de que muchas veces y son muchas se les tiene que practicar a los hombres adultos por presentar problemas. Esa es mi apreciación después de haber leído e indagado mucho sobre este tema.
Muchas gracias por permitirme intervenir.
Raquel Fernández
Comentario de Luis Angel Diaz el noviembre 7, 2009 a las 12:55pm
TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS JOURNAL, Volume 29, Number 3, Pages 215-221,
July 1999.


Neonatal Circumcision Reconsidered

John Rhinehart

Abstract
This article describes the present status of neonatal circumcision in the United States and presents clinical findings regarding the long-term somatic, emotional, and psychological consequences of this procedure in adult men. These consequences are seen as typical of complex posttraumatic stress disorder. They emerged during psychotherapy focused on the resolution of prenatal, perinatal, and developmental trauma and shock experiences. Their relationship to phenomena such as trauma, shock, somatic decisions, discounting, and scripting is described.

Psychological trauma is an affliction of the powerless. At the moment of trauma, the victim is rendered helpless by overwhelming force. When the force is that of nature, we speak of disasters. When the force is that of other human beings, we speak of atrocities. Traumatic events overwhelm the ordinary systems of care that give people a sense of control, connection, and meaning. (Herman, 1992, p. 33)

Male circumcision involves the surgical removal of the penile foreskin, a fold of skin and mucous membrane that normally covers the head or glans of the penis. Routine neonatal circumcision is usually done from one to three days after birth, while Jewish ritual circumcision is performed on the eighth day after birth.

Postnatal circumcision is still frequently performed in the United States, the only industrialized nation to continue this practice for non-religious reasons on a majority of newborn male babies--about 60 percent according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Estimating from this figure, doctors continue to circumcise over one million baby boys a year, an average of 3,500 a day or one every 25 seconds. Circumcisions performed on Jewish newborns by a trained religious person called a mohel (ritual circumciser) account for less than 4% of this number.

Controversy continues regarding the practice of newborn male circumcision. A variety of reasons are put forward both for and against the procedure, but recent information using reliable sources is often not well known to the general public or to health care professionals. My purpose in writing this article is to present what I found in my client population regarding the lifelong effects of this procedure. It is my hope that this will stimulate further thought and therapeutic exploration of this issue.

Clinical reports
The psychotherapeutic approach I use when working with early trauma resolution involves a guided associative process that follows my client's flow of thoughts, memories, images, and body sensations. This is intertwined with a sensitive repatterning of memories of traumatic events and is more fully described in my article "Touching and Holding During Regressive Therapy" (Rhinehart, 1998).

Many men who were circumcised as neonates consider it a nonissue because they cannot remember anything about it. In my psychotherapeutic work with men, however, it is clear that the memory is there. Since the event occurred at a very early preverbal level, it is most often experienced as a body or somatic memory rather than as a more familiar verbal memory. Various disturbing mental images and intense feelings often accompany the reemergence of this body memory, including the feel of sharp metallic instruments cutting into one's flesh (anesthesia is normally not used in circumcision), the sense of being overpowered by big people, being alone and helpless, feelings of terror, and a sense of paralysis and immobilization.

Case examples
The following four examples show the long-term effects of circumcision trauma, effects I have found typical among my clients.

ST is a 44-year-old man whose adult life is filled with a seemingly nameless terror. This feeling was most intense when he had to relate to people in other than a superficial manner. At those times has body might start shaking uncontrollably. He would look away, withdraw inwardly, and experience a high level of embarrassment. During our therapeutic work, as he reexperienced the terror, his trembling hands went automatically to his groin to cover his genitals in a protective way. He felt that he was reliving the time of his neonatal circumcision. He was in physical and emotional terror as he rocked back and forth, feeling completely powerless, betrayed and alone. He did not have words for this experience, which had been "forgotten" until we began our work--just moans and groans of agony and helplessness. In his view, his circumcision was one of the most important experiences underlying his early decision that people were unsafe and dangerous. This decision expressed itself in his lifelong sense of fear around other people, especially those in positions of authority. The circumcision experience, bad enough in itself was made more severe by his mother's inability to offer him comfort at the time. This greatly reinforced the degree of his trauma and the resulting negative decisions he made about the safety of his world and the people in it. At present, the trauma has been largely resolved and his neurologic circuitry repatterned, thus eliminating the terror and trembling.

BJ, 52 years old, came into therapy because he experienced "early issues coming up and polluting my life." During a particular session he kept using the term "cut off" in relation to family and other life issues. These issues had been triggered by his attending the bris (Jewish ritual circumcision) for a friend's newborn son. He heard the baby screaming and, much to his surprise, felt extremely uncomfortable, sweaty, dizzy, and aware that his genitals felt like they had suddenly been plunged into ice water and were "shrinking." Following this, he felt rage welling up at the idea that something was being taken from the baby--that he was being overpowered, reduced, and diminished against his will. BJ felt that this clearly related to his own neonatal circumcision. He was born three weeks before term weighing five pounds. He believes that he was not comforted or touched much after his premature birth or the circumcision which was performed on the third day in spite of his low birth weight. As we worked together, BJ made connections--cognitively, emotionally, and physically--between his early experience and his lifelong sense of anger, powerlessness, diminishment as a male, and underlying generalized ominous feeling that he was somehow going to be punished for being male. In photographs of himself as a young boy he noticed that he frequently had both hands covering his genitals. What also surfaced from a very young place was an incredulous "How can you do this to me--I can't trust you anymore," which reflected his feeling as an adult that people are untrustworthy. Connected with these was the belief that he was not supposed to cry or get mad as a result of what was done to him. Releasing and repatterning his feelings around his circumcision led to a significant increase in self-confidence, clarity in his relationships, and freedom to be the creative male person that he is without holding back because of fear of retaliation.

RJ is in his early sixties. He had a lifelong fear of any sharp metal instruments. When preparing food, he had to use knives as sparingly as possible, and he could not stand to have them lying out. When he did use a knife, he had to clean and put it away immediately. In therapy, the connection of this became clear to him. The body memory that he experienced was an excruciating feeling in his penis of a sharp "steely" knife (a scapel-like instrument) cutting his foreskin away. New he finds it increasingly easy to be around knives, and he has a new sense of freedom in the world.

WK is in his mid-forties and has experienced anxiety and panic all his life. As a child he described himself as being on edge constantly and unable to perform well in almost everything he tried. He felt particularly inadequate and worthless in academic and occupational settings--that is, around authority figures. During the initial part of our therapy, we made some progress through the effects of his father's frequent shaming behavior toward him as he grew up; this behavior created and reinforced feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness in WK. During therapy, we identified and worked with residues of birth trauma as well as residues of his mother's (and father's) unresolved depression and fear related to the SIDS death at six weeks of an older sister, which occurred about a year before his conception. However, the ease with which his anxiety and panic reactions could be triggered--particularly in relation to authority figures at work--persisted. It was not until he came on pictures of a neonatal circumcision that he became aware of the extreme trauma associated with his own experience. As the memory surfaced, his body suddenly became stiff, numb, and filled with terror, and his mind went blank ("cortical shock")--typical of what happens when experiencing this level of traumatic response). As an adult, any situation in which he felt vulnerable triggered this flooding reaction in his body/mind. It was as if his mind was operating on the basis of a very early decision that "big" people were dangerous and might attack him at any time. This early decision, then, had to do with maintaining a somatic state of hypervigilance and tension. While his rational mind could be clear that this was not necessary, his body maintained this stance anyway. This early decision had made intimate relationships difficult as an adult.

Later-Life Symptoms of Circumcision
Other men with whom I have worked have also made causal connections between present-day problems--such as a sense of defeat, shyness, anger, or fear--and their neonatal circumcision experiences. I have developed a list of symptoms and behaviors that appear to have been caused or significantly conditioned by these neonatal experiences. Since these symptoms and behaviors can result from other traumatic experiences as well, this list should not be used as a diagnostic checklist to identify circumcision trauma; however, they may suggest its presence. These symptoms include

* a sense of personal powerlessness
* fears of being overpowered and victimized by others
* lack of trust in others and life
* a sense of vulnerability to violent attack by others
* guardedness in relationships
* reluctance to be in relationships with women
* defensiveness
* diminished sense of maleness
* feeling damaged, especially in the presence of surgical complications such as skin tags, penile curvature due to uneven foreskin removal, partial ablation of edges of the glans and so on
* sense of reduced penile size, a part cut off or amputated
* low self-esteem
* shame about not "measuring up"
* anger and violence toward women
* irrational rage reactions
* addictions and dependencies
* difficulties in establishing intimate relationships
* emotional numbing
* need for more intensity in sexual experience.
* sexual callousness
* decreased tenderness in intimacy
* decreased ability to communicate
* feelings of not being understood

Discussion
The idea that circumcision may cause problems in later life is not new. Freud (1916-1917/1933) suggested, in his discussion of anxiety and instinctual life (pp. 86-87), that there could be a connection between castration fears, neuroses, and circumcision:

It is our suspicion that during the human family's primaeval period castration used actually to be carried out by a jealous and cruel father upon growing boys, and that circumcision, which so frequently plays a part in puberty rites among primitive peoples, is a clearly recognizable relic of it, ...We must hold fast to the view that fear of castration is one of the commonest and strongest motives for repression and thus for the formation of neuroses. The analysis of cases in which circumcision, though not, it is true, castration has been carried out on boys as a cure or punishment for masturbation (a far from rare occurrence in Anglo-American society) has given our conviction a last degree of certainty. (pp. 86-87)

Freud's thinking, advanced for its time, was in contrast to the more prevalent idea of his era that neonates are " very little more intelligent than a vegetable … not directly conscious of anything" (Goldman, 1997, p.7). This was the opinion of a renowned infant specialist at the University of Pennsylvania in 1895. Even "fifty years later, newborn infants were [still] believed to be incapable of anything except eating, moving, crying, and sleeping." (Spock, 1946, cited in Goldman, 1997, p.7).

While Freud's thinking was focused on the formation of neuroses, perhaps a more accurate way of thinking about circumcision today is in relation to trauma, which we now know much more about. We also know that the neonate is highly intelligent even though he or she is, most likely, not in a position to differentiate circumcision from castration.

In her model of human responses to trauma, Pomeroy (1995) brings together what we know about what trauma is, how it happens, and what our psychic responses to traumatic events. She describes three inborn levels or lines of defense for dealing with a threatening experience: (1) relational resources, consisting of boundaries and safe, trustworthy individual and communal connections; (2) fight, flight, and freeze defenses from the brains limbic system; and (3) shock defenses, also from the limbic system, but without emotional control (pp. 90-93). She points out that when an overwhelming threat alarm is signaled by the emotional brain, the emotional brain's defenses take over. The emotional brain responds at the level of fight-flight freeze (active defenses) or shock defenses (passive reflexes) (p. 92).

In the case of circumcision, relational resources are unavailable to the neonate. The next level of fight-flight-freeze also does not serve him since he is easily trapped and overpowered by those performing the procedure. All he has left, therefore is the level of shock defense, which consists of central nervous system flooding by terror, rage, and finally numbing, paralysis, and dissociation; this his his last chance to control the high level of central nervous system activation, which might otherwise result in death. Watchinig videotapes of neonates being circumcised portrays this clearly to the aware eye. The so-called "quiet" after circumcision is more likely a state of dissociation in response to the overwhelming pain and terror than it is a state of peaceful relaxation.

Van Howe (1996), reporting on his clinical study, writes, "Newborn males respond to circumcision with a marked reduction in oxygenation during the procedure, a cortisol surge [indicating strong adrenal arousal], decreased wakefulness, increased vagal tone, and less interactions with their environment following the procedure. All of these hinder the maternal-infant bonding experience that makes breastfeeding possible" (p. 431).

In translating this level of experience to adult life, Emerson (1991), a pioneer in healing pre- and perinatal trauma in infants and children, has said that perinatal trauma (such as circumcision) results in "anger and rage [that] are inexplicably intertwined with low self-esteem, shame, guilt, violence, and disempowerment."

Relevance to Transactional Analysis
In an earlier article (Rhinehart, 1998), p. 58) I noted that "in the October 1995 TAJ, which was a memorial to Robert Goulding, he is quoted as talking about 'somatic redecision' (Blackstone, 1995, p. 345). This concept arose during discussion of a group therapy session in which a client made a decision, during her work, to allow herself to reach out and be 'cuddled tightly' by another woman, whom she had chosen as her 'therapist.' This somatic redecision was felt to be a 'shift within the Child in the present' (p. 345)." From this we might infer that here was an earlier "somatic decision" in the Child of the past not to allow this type of cuddling.

Steiner (1979) talked about "the somatic component [of a script decision] which bodily reflects the decision" (p. 109). Later he wrote, "The somatic component refers to the fact that a person who has made a decision invariably brings certain aspects of her anatomy into play, especially the musculature' (p. 111).

Eskine (1980) described the three aspects of script that must be dealt with to achieve cure: behavioral, intrapsychic, and somatic (p. 103). He underlined that "the somatic aspects of script need to be an important focus of script cure" (p. 105) and that "with each scripting decision or script reaction I think that there is always a corresponding physiological inhibition or restriction within the body. The younger the child or more severe the trauma, the greater is the physiological reaction" (p. 105).

For a neonate undergoing circumcision, perhaps it would be accurate to say that his "decision" is primarily somatic and derives from the defensive patterning of his shock experience. Because of its content and context, circumcision sets in place an automatic central nervous system and generalized somatic reaction to interpersonal experience from that point on. Some males will experience continuing vigilance, some a readiness to fight, flee, or freeze; and other will jump to rage, terror, or disconnection. It is helpful to note that, in considering the levels of defense, whenever the two earlier levels (relational and fight or flight) are experienced by the mind as ineffective, the mind tends not to use them later. This means that a mind patterned in this way jumps right to terror, rage and/or dissociation when confronted with situations that are interpreted as threatening, even though to the rational mind or cortex these situations may not be significant. In other words, when an event occurs in a man's life that resembles any aspect of the original circumcision experience, the chances that the extreme forms of panic, rage, violence, or dissociation might result are much more likely--just as they are in any other posttraumatic stress situation.

The feelings and behaviors my clients experienced fit precisely unto what Herman (1992) called complex posttraumatic stress reaction (p. 121). They are no different from the experience of rape victims, combat veterans, female circumcision victims, and survivors of natural disasters. She also indicated that the common factor underlying the effects of trauma is the experience of violence and powerlessness (p. 33)--made worse if it is inflicted by other human beings in contrast to a natural disaster. Both are dramatically present in the procedure of neonatal circumcision.

Stern (1985) pointed out that the trauma disrupts the ability to cope with and assimilate information and also "that if the empathic failures of parents are too large, the sense of a cohesive self will be thrown too far off balance" (p. 245) Since intense affective states act as "cardinal organizing elements" (p. 245) in the personality, they leave lasting impressions.

Although good experiences immediately following routine circumcision--such as parental holding, nursing, soothing, and comforting--may mitigate the intensity of the traumatic experience, my experience with clients confirms that circumcision registers in the body-mind in myriad ways, direct and indirect, throughout the man's life.

Hammond (1999), in his survey of men circumcised in infancy or childhood, outlines the physical, sexual, and psychological consequences experienced by 546 men. The leading physical and sexual consequences were prominent scarring of the penis (33%), insufficient penile skin for a comfortable erection (27%) (neonatal circumcisions remove what would grow to be come 51% of the adult penile covering, and progressive sensory deficit in the glans (61%) leading to compensations such as compulsive sexual behaviors that offer more intense kinds of stimulation to a sensorily dulled glans, As to the psychological consequences, respondents described:

Emotional distress, manifesting as intrusive thought about one's circumcision, including feelings of mutilation (60%), low self esteem/inferioty to intact men (50%), genital dysmorphia (55%), rage (52%) resentment/depression (59%), violation (46%), or parental betrayal (30%). Many respondents (41%) reported that their physical/emotional suffering impeded emotional intimacy with partners(s), resulting in sexual dysfunction…. Almost a third of respondents (29%) reported dependence on substances or behaviors to relieve their suffering (tobacco, alcohol, drugs, food and/or sexual compulsivity). (p. 87)

It is important to note that the problematic symptoms and behaviors that my clients experienced and expressed as adults might not initially lead a therapist to suspect such an early causal origin. Instead, they may seem more closely related to a highly stressful lifestyle, and it is true that it is in stressful times that such symptoms tend to surface. In most of my clients, negative experiences that occurred at older ages, while often significant in themselves, were actually layered on earlier traumatic experiences such as circumcision, trauma that had set up a basic mode of reaction to perceived threat. Therefore, in cases in which working therapeutically at older levels does not resolve a problem over the long term, it is important to look at earlier layers.

Two other important considerations involving the transactions between parents, doctors, nurses, and the newborn are discounting and scripting.

Discounting: Given that the neonate is a fully aware, perceptive, and responsive sentient being, circumcision discounts his experience in at least five areas:

1. Pain: His physical pain is ignored.
2. Separation/abandonment: The terror of separation from mother and being immoblized in the circumstraint board is ignored.
3. Violence: The significance and memory for him is ignored or rationalized.
4. Protection: His cries of protest are not heard or respected.
5. Objectification: The decision to circumcise is made by others as if he were an object and his experience did not exist or matter. This is perhaps not much different than decisions made about the fate of concentration camp internees by camp commanders; they too had their rationalizations.

Scripting: The circumcision experience for the neonate centers around abandonment, helplessness, pain, and violence. The neonate is uniquely vulnerable and responsive to these experiences, which is why he needs protection rather than abandonment as he integrates his birth experience and attempts to establish his bonding connection with his parents in the outside world. In my client population, because they were not protected from injury by those who were responsible for this function, decisions were made and beliefs created or reinforced that supported fear of , indifference to, and violence toward other human beings. These decisions and beliefs evolved into life scripts expressed over time. Power became identified with violence so that perpetrators and victims become the fare of life.

Porter-Steele (1998) suggests that "even a little violence is too much, and our world has a tremendous amount of violence. … We [transactional analysts] recognize cultural and individual scripts that support violence instead of workable, compassionate problem solving" (p. 15). Perhaps routine neonatal circumcision is exactly this kind of culturally and individually determined scripting, and it can be stopped very simply, thus eliminating major discounting and victimization for millions of newborn males.

Finally, another provocative possibility is mentioned by Taoist Master Mantak Chia in his book Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy (Chia with Winn, 1984, p. 243). He describes how the spot on a man's penis that is sexually assaulted during circumcision is reflexively connected to his heart and lung energies. This suggests that, in addition to the effects described in the article, circumcision may have a negative effect on the more subtle energy fields in a man's body around heart and lung function.

Both the history of circumcision and more current research regarding what the newborn male experiences are extensively presented in books such as Goldman's (1997) Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma and Questioning Circumcision--A Jewish Perspective (1998), Brigg's (1985) Circumcision: What Every Parent Should Know, Ritter and Denniston's (1992) Say No to Circumcision and Denniston and Milo's (1997) Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy.

Summary
Circumcision of the newborn male child consists of removal of the penile foreskin, a normal, functional part of the child's body. The United States is now the only industrialized country in the world that continues to circumcise the majority of its newborn male children for non-religious reasons. In my client population of adult men, serious and sometimes disabling lifelong consequences appear to have resulted from this procedure, and long-term psychotherapy focusing on early trauma resolution appears to be effective in dealing with these consequences. Early prevention by eliminating the practice of routine circumcision is seen as desirable. The author welcomes sharing of readers' reactions and experiences via letter or email.

John W. Rhinehart, M.D. is a practicing psychiatrist and psychotherapist and director of Deep Brook Center, a holistic center for innovative psychotherapies and nutrition in Newtown, Connecticut. Send comments and reprint requests to 46 West Street, Newtown CT 06470 or call (203) 426-4553, or email to DEEPBROOKCTR1@webtv.net

REFERENCES
Blackstone, P. (1995). Between the lines: Evolution of redecision and impasse theory and practice. Transactional Analysis Journal, 25, 343-346.
Briggs, A. (1985). Circumcision: What every parent should know. Earlysville, VA: Birth and Parenting Publications.
Chia, M., with Winn, M. (1984) Taoist secrets of love: Cultivating male sexual energy. Santa Fe, NM: Aurora Press.
Denniston, G. C. & Milos, M. F. (Eds.). (1997) Sexual mutilations: A human tragedy. New York: Plenum
Emerson, W. (1991, October). Training. Ukiah, CA.
Erskine, R. G. (1980). Script cure: Behavioral, intrapsychic and physiological. Transactional Analysis Journal, 10, 102-106.
Freud, S. (1933). New introductory lectures on psychoanalysis (Lecture XXXII, Anxiety and Instinctual Life In J. Strachey (Ed. and Translator, The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 22, pp. 81-95), London: Hogarth Press (Original work published 1916-1917).
Hammond, T. (1999) A preliminary poll of men circumcised in infancy or childhood. British Journal of Urology 83 (Supplement 1), 85-92.
Herman, J. (1992). Trauma and recovery. New York: Basic Books.
Pomeroy, W. (1995). A working model for trauma: The relationship between trauma and violence. Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Journal 10(2), 89-101.
Porter-Steele, N. (1998). Announcement for the special issue of the Transactional Analysis Journal on "Violence." Transactional Analysis Journal, 28, 15.
Rhinehart, J. (1998). Touching and holding during regressive therapy. Transactional Analysis Journal, 28, 57-64.
Ritter, T., & Denniston, G. C. (1992). Say no to circumcision (2nd ed.). Aptos, CA: Hourglass Publishing.
Steiner, C. (1979). Scripts people live: Transactional analysis of life scripts New York: Bantam.
Stern, D. (1985). The interpersonal world of the infant: A view from psychoanalysis and developmental psychology. New York: Basic Books.
Van Howe, R. (1996). Letter regarding peri-natal hospital stays and the performance of circumcision. The Journal of Family Practice. 43(5), 431.
Comentario de Luis Angel Diaz el noviembre 7, 2009 a las 12:55pm
Did you know?

* that no medical association in the world recommends circumcision?

* the circumcised penis may require more care than a natural penis?

* that circumcision can effect the mother/infant bond. (Trust is the basis of all later development)?

* circumcision removes at least one-half of the erogenous tissue on the penile shaft?

* that circumcision may create neurological brain damage?

* involuntary circumcision can create negative psychological issues later on in life, such as anger, betrayal, low self esteem and sexual shame?

* that male infant circumcision brings U.S. doctors $100,000,000 to $200,000,000 per year?

* medical circumcision began in the Victorian Era (1800's), in an attempt to discourage masturbation?


Historically, it's been difficult to gather information on male infant circumcision. It's been almost impossible to learn of any benefits pertaining to the natural male anatomy. Since the beginning of the information age, with the birth of the internet, most Americans are learning that they are the only remaining society that practices secular infant circumcision on the majority of their male newborn babies - no other industrialized nation does this. England, the country that helped give North America the modern form of the ritual, has stopped secular infant circumcision since the 1950s. Even Canada's circumcision rate, as of 2005, was at 9.2% and dropping 0.5% per year - Australia's rates are comparable . In the past, many American women weren't even given a choice - they were told by their doctors that their baby would be circumcised - only to find out later that it wasn't medically necessary.

Today, there is more information available then ever before. The links on this website are a good place to start.
Comentario de Luis Angel Diaz el noviembre 7, 2009 a las 12:39pm
Otros comentarios:

Comment by David Tarbox-Cooper 2 hours ago
Delete Comment This practice was devized by and fro people who had a far inferior standard of living than we do, and who lived a nomadic life in desert regions. The climate was hotter, there was little clean fresh water, regular bathing was not practiced. Are we equating ourselves with these conditions by advocating circumcision? It is barbaric, primitive, uneducated and cruel!

Sandra A Comment by Sandra A 2 hours ago
Comment I agree!

Rosi Pineiro Comment by Rosi Pineiro 11 hours ago
Delete Comment It saddens me that we inflict this sort of pain and trauma on newborns. So barbaric and needs to stop.
Comentario de Administrador de Ser Real el noviembre 7, 2009 a las 10:33am
Mothers Who Observed Circumcision





The typical hospital circumcision is done out of view of the mother in a separate room. However, a few are observed by parents, and many Jewish ritual circumcisions are done in the homes of the parents and observed by family and friends. Although some parents may report that this is a positive experience, this is not always the case. Women are more likely than men to report distress from hearing an infant crying. (1) Regarding circumcision, the father is more likely to deny his son’s pain because it could remind him of his own circumcision feelings. Therefore, witnessing the circumcision and the infant’s response can have a particularly shocking effect on the mother. Only recently have some parents been willing to describe their agonizingly painful experiences at their son’s circumcision. Though further research is needed to tell us how common these responses are, the fact that they exist at all is reason for concern and reflection.

Some mothers have written about their experiences with circumcision during the previous year. “It was as close to hell as I ever want to get!” one wrote. Another related this memory:


My tiny son and I sobbed our hearts out. . . . After everything I’d worked for, carrying and nurturing Joseph in the womb, having him at home against no small odds, keeping him by my side constantly since birth, nursing him whenever he needed closeness and nourishment—the circumcision was a horrible violation of all I felt we shared. I cried for days afterward. (2)

Melissa Morrison was having a difficult time seven months after she had watched the (nonritual) circumcision of her son:


I’m finding myself obsessing more and more about it. It’s absolutely horrible. I didn’t know how horrific it was going to be. It was the most gruesome thing I have ever seen in my life. I told the doctor as soon as he was done, if I had a gun I would have killed him. I swear I would be in jail today if I did have a gun. (3)

Two other mothers have reported to the Circumcision Resource Center that watching their son’s circumcision was “the worst day of my life.” Another mother noted that she still felt pain recalling the experience about a year later. She wrote to her son:


I have never heard such screams. . . . Will I ever know what scars this brings to your soul? . . . What is that new look I see in your eyes? I can see pain, a certain sadness, and a loss of trust. (4)

Other mothers clearly remember their son’s circumcision after many years. Miriam Pollack reported fifteen years after the event, “The screams of my baby remain embedded in my bones and haunt my mind.” She added later, “His cry sounded like he was being butchered. I lost my milk.” (5)

Nancy Wainer Cohen recalled her feelings connected with the circumcision of her son, who is now twenty-two:


I heard him cry during the time they were circumcising him. The thing that is most disturbing to me is that I can still hear his cry. . . . It was an assault on him, and on some level it was an assault on me. . . . I will go to my grave hearing that horrible wail, and feeling somewhat responsible, feeling that it was my lack of awareness, my lack of consciousness. I did the best I could, and it wasn’t good enough. (6)

Elizabeth Pickard-Ginsburg vividly remembered her son’s circumcision and its effect on her:


Jesse was shrieking and I had tears streaming down my face. . . . He was screaming and there was no doubt in his scream that he wanted mother, or a mothering figure to come and protect him from this pain!! . . . Jesse screamed so loud that all of a sudden there was no sound! I’ve never heard anything like it!! He was screaming and it went up and then there was no sound and his mouth was just open and his face was full of pain!! I remember something happened inside me . . . the intensity of it was like blowing a fuse! It was too much. We knew something was over. I don’t feel that it ever really healed. . . . I don’t think I can recover from it. It’s a scar. I’ve put a lot of energy into trying to recover. I did some crying and we did some therapy. There’s still a lot of feeling that’s blocked off. It was too intense. . . . We had this beautiful baby boy and seven beautiful days and this beautiful rhythm starting, and it was like something had been shattered!! . . . When he was first born there was a tie with my young one, my newborn. And when the circumcision happened, in order to allow it I had cut off the bond. I had to cut off my natural instincts, and in doing so I cut off a lot of feelings towards Jesse. I cut it off to repress the pain and to repress the natural instinct to stop the circumcision. (7) (italics added)

After several years, Pickard-Ginsburg says she can still feel “an element of detachment” toward her son. Her account is particularly revealing. That she “cut off” feelings toward her son by observing his circumcision suggests that her son may have responded similarly toward her by experiencing his circumcision. Furthermore, because she was willing to feel and communicate the intensity of her pain, we have a clue to why more mothers who observe their son’s circumcision do not report such pain. Denial and repression may keep this extreme pain out of their awareness.

Observing their son’s circumcision has left some parents with a deep feeling of regret. The following quotes are typical:


I am so sorry I was so ignorant about circumcision. Had I witnessed a circumcision first, I never would have consented to having my son circumcised. (8)

Always in the back of my mind I’ve thought, “I wish he hadn’t been cut.” I have apologized to him numerous times. (9)

If I had ever known, I wouldn’t have done this in a million years. (10)

I felt as if I might pass out at the sight of my son lying there, unable to move or defend himself. His screams tore at my heart as his foreskin was heartlessly torn from his penis. Too late to turn back, I knew that this was a terrible mistake and that it was something that no one, especially newborn babies, should ever have to endure. A wave of shock coursed through me—my body feeling nauseatingly sick with guilt and shame. All I could think of was holding and consoling my child, but his pain felt inconsolable—his body rigid with fear and anger—his eyes filled with tears of betrayal. (11)

Some mothers who did not witness the circumcision have since regretted allowing it:


The nurse came to take the baby for the circumcision. I have relived that moment over and over. If I could turn back the hands of time, that would be the one moment I would go back to and say, “I don’t think it’s a good idea. I need another day to think about it” and just hold on to him because I wasn’t sure. I think if I had held on to him it might have turned out differently. I just shouldn’t have let him go when I was so ambivalent. After they took him I went into the shower, and I cried. (12)

When they brought him back to me, I could see that he had been crying and had a glassy, wild look in his eyes. I think it was terror. I didn’t know what had been done to him, but I could tell whatever it was, it hurt. I’ll never forget that look. They probably shattered every bit of trust he had. I’m very angry about it. I would never have done that to my own son. No mother would take a knife to her child. When I looked at his penis, I was again instantly sorry that I had allowed it to be done. (13)




NOTES



(1) Frodi, A. & Lamb, M., “Sex Differences in Responsiveness to Infants: A Developmental Study of Psychophysical and Behavioral Responses,” Child Development 49 (1978): 1182-8.

(2) O'Mara, P., ed., Circumcision: The Rest of the Story (Santa Fe, NM: Mothering, 1993), 75-6.

(3) Telephone conversation with CRC office, 1995.

(4) Friederich, L., letter in O'Mara, Circumcision: The Rest of the Story, 79.

(5) Pollack, M., “Jewish Feminist Perspective,” paper presented at the Third International Symposium on Circumcision, College Park, MD, May 1994.

(6) Interviewed at CRC office, 1994.

(7) Romberg, Circumcision: The Painful Dilemma, 78-84.

(8) Sexty, L., letter in O'Mara, Circumcision: The Rest of the Story, 84.

(9) Cohen, N., interviewed at CRC office, 1994.

(10) Northrup, C., telephone conversation with CRC office, 1994.

(11) Raisbeck, B., “Circumcision: A Wound Which Lasts a Lifetime,” Healing Currents, 1993, 21.

(12) Dion, J., telephone conversation with CRC office, 1995.

(13) Miller, C., telephone conversation with CRC office, 1995.
Comentario de Cristina Teresa Lawrynowicz el noviembre 7, 2009 a las 6:24am
Luis no puede ser no puede ser tanta la locura humana.Por favor por favor ¿qué nos estamos haciendo?!!!! Que alguien PARE la crueldad POR FAVOR!!!!!
Qué tengo que sentir? Padre, perdónalos porque no saben lo que hacen?????

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