Introductory Guide to Psychological Otherkinity
An otherkin is someone who, on an integral, non-physical level, identifies as non-human. Psychological otherkinity is for those who believe that the cause of their experiences is partially or wholly the result of psychological or neurological phenomenon. “Psychology” refers to the study of the mind, whereas “neurology” refers to the study of the physical brain. Currently, there are no widespread psychological or neurological studies about non-human identity. Therefore psychological otherkinity is based on personal belief and experiences rather than scientific fact.
Some of the common psychological beliefs about otherkinity
Psychological Otherkinity as a result of coping or trauma
This is characterized by the belief that one’s non-human identity came about as a result of significant trauma or prolonged coping with personal hardships. This is not to be confused with a coping mechanism. A coping mechanism is something that someone chooses to do in order to deal with stress. Otherkin do not choose to identify as non-human or their kintype.
Psychological Otherkinity as an inherent/innate part of one’s Psyche
This is characterized by the belief that one’s non-human identity was present in the mind/brain from birth. It is possible to believe that whatever causes one to identify as non-human was present from birth even if the identity developed later in life. Similarly, many believe that they were not “born with” a non-human identity, but perhaps that they were born pre-disposed to certain elements of the identity that result in developing a non-human identity over time
When trying to determine whether a certain behavior is a result of identifying non-human or not, always try to find explanations in medical/psychological explanations. For example, feeling headaches in a specific place most likely has a medical explanation, and is not a result of otherkinity or experiencing supernumery phantom limbs, such as horns. Even “acting like an animal” isn’t typically a result of identifying as non-human. Otherkin are still fundamentally human, and therefore have the ability to practice self-control. If one is “acting like an animal” then it is usually upon choice. This is especially true for children/childhood experiences, since playing pretend and pretending to be an animal is a fairly normal and common childhood pastime. However, otherkin may experience the urge to behave a certain way, such as the urge to walk on all fours, without necessarily acting upon those urges.
Otherkinity and Mental Health Counselling/Therapy
Otherkin are human, too, and it may just so happen that some otherkin seek mental health counselling or therapy for issues that may or may not be related to identifying as non-human. Psychological otherkinity in and of itself is not a mental illness. Otherkinity is not caused by nor does it cause any form of mental illness. However, some otherkin suffer from what is known as “species dysphoria”. Species dysphoria is a term that describes the stress, displeasure, or disassociation that may arise from identifying as non-human. It is mainly characterized by displeasure with identifying as something other than one’s physical body. This feeling can also be characterized by feeling as though one “does not belong” on Earth or within human society due to identifying as non-human. (Please note: species dysphoria is not an "official" name or diagnosis) Sometimes, depending on the severity of the dysphoria, an individual will choose to seek mental health counselling in order to help alleviate some of the effects of species dysphoria. The choice to seek mental health counselling is the choice of each individual. Not all otherkin experience species dysphoria, and not all otherkin who do experience species dysphoria seek counselling for it.
Should you choose to breach the subject of non-human identity with your therapist or with another party, I would highly recommend this resoure http://www.therianthropedia.com/files/_Therapist’s Guide to Therians and Therianthropy_.pdf
Otherkinity and Delusions
If someone claims that that they identify psychologically as non-human, it does not mean that they are claiming to be delusional. A delusion is a persistent false belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary. Since there is no indisputable evidence stating that a person cannot identify as non-human in a non-physical sense (such as spiritually or psychologically), otherkinity cannot be categorized as a delusion. This is not to be confused with clinical Lycanthropy, which is a condition that is characterized by a delusional belief that one has transformed, will transform or are transforming into a non-human creature in a physical sense.