Finally, a few Mental Health Professionals Warn About Trump!
Assessing “The News Conference,” old pap and I concluded that our President is “Mad as a March Hare,” and it is only February! Then, we learned of the letter to the Editor of the NY Times quoted below, wherein a number of Mental Health Professionals agreed that the Prez may indeed be in unstable mental health. I am very happy that this issue is finally getting some attention, since, as I’ve mentioned several times before, with my training at the now defunct Trump U, I wasn’t completely satisfied with only my analysis of the President’s condition as being the result of EPPS (Excess Potty Praise Syndrome).
13 February 2017
To the Editor:
Charles M. Blow (column, nytimes.com, Feb. 9) describes Donald Trump’s constant need “to grind the opposition underfoot.” As mental health professionals, we share Mr. Blow’s concern.
Silence from the country’s mental health organizations has been due to a self-imposed dictum about evaluating public figures (the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 Goldwater Rule). But this silence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer.
Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).
In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Dr. Dodes is a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Schachter is a former chairman of the Committee on Research Proposals, International Psychoanalytic Association. The letter was also signed by 33 other psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers.
A version of this letter appears in print on February 14, 2017, on Page A26 of the New York edition with the headline: A Mental Health Warning on Trump.
Seeking fuller disclosure, here’s an “alternative” opinion:
To the Editor:
Fevered media speculation about Donald Trump’s psychological motivations and psychiatric diagnosis has recently encouraged mental health professionals to disregard the usual ethical constraints against diagnosing public figures at a distance. They have sponsored several petitions and a Feb. 14 letter to The New York Times suggesting that Mr. Trump is incapable, on psychiatric grounds, of serving as president.
Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.
Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither).
Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely. Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy. He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.
His psychological motivations are too obvious to be interesting, and analyzing them will not halt his headlong power grab. The antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological.
The writer, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical College, was chairman of the task force that wrote the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (D.S.M.-IV).
A version of this letter appears in print on February 15, 2017, on Page A26 of the New York edition with the headline: An Eminent Psychiatrist Demurs on Trump. Today’s Paper|Subscribe
Regarding that now infamous “News Conference” last Thursday:
“One of the most effective press conferences I’ve ever seen!” says Rush Limbaugh. Many agree.Yet FAKE MEDIA calls it differently! Dishonest
Kudos to a “journalistic legend in his own mind ,” and certified lunatic.
President Trump claims media are ‘the enemy’ of American people
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!
“When I was a little girl and people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always responded “the enemy of the American people.”
Gabrielle Munoz Austin American-Statesman
Trump, as we’ve seen over and over again, uses information extremely loosely. He’s reported to have brought up past presidents who, just like himself, “battled” with the press, including Thomas Jefferson. Here’s what old Tom actually had to say on the matter, “A government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
For comparing himself to former Presidents, we believe Tricky Dick Nixon to be a better choice. It was apparently considered an honor in some gatherings to be on his “enemies” list.
Down there in his “southern white house,” the lad was still solidly in the “news!” He managed to tick off Sweden where old pap has some relatives. We were surprised he even knew what Sweden was, but suppose he saw it on good old Fox “news.”
Well, friends, old pap and I don’t believe it can get any more weird, but, then, we thought that way back during the “bloody election!” Once again, we apologize for “running on” today; it’s just that this “moron” (medically speaking, an adult with a mental age of about 8 to 12 years) is so messed up his meanderings can’t be handled in a 140 character “tweet!”
Buster and his (really) old pappy.
PS: Old pap thinks some of his contemporaries may remember old Barry, for whom the “Goldwater Rule” was originated.