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A leading psychiatry group has told its members they should not feel bound by a longstanding rule against commenting publicly on the mental state of public figures — even the president.

The statement, an email this month from the executive committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association to its 3,500 members, represents the first significant crack in the profession’s decades-old united front aimed at preventing experts from discussing the psychiatric aspects of politicians’ behavior. It will likely make many of its members feel more comfortable speaking openly about President Trump’s mental health.


The impetus for the email was “belief in the value of psychoanalytic knowledge in explaining human behavior,” said psychoanalytic association past president Dr. Prudence Gourguechon, a psychiatrist in Chicago. “We don’t want to prohibit our members from using their knowledge responsibly.”

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  • Steve, Roosevelt described his “Big Stick” style of foreign policy as “the exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis. Speaking of the lessons of history … Roosevelt’s back channel efforts and advocacy for negotiations between Japan and Russia (leading to the Treaty of Portsmouth) was borne out of his concerns on the strengthening military power of Japan and its impact on long-term United States interests in Asia. Many historians credit Roosevelt’s “Big Stick” foreign policy stance as giving the United States the stature to become a significant force in world diplomacy. As such, while Roosevelt may have won the Nobel Prize for his role in the Treaty of Portsmouth, his foreign policy position was very much an inherent component of the process.

    Completely missed by your commentary is the fact that no psychologists at the time ventured to speculate on Roosevelt’s mental fitness for office based on their own ideological opinions … not psychoanalytic impressions based on personal examination. By the way, experts estimate that Teddy Roosevelt lived with the type of bipolar disorder associated with alternating episodes of mania and depression. Those who knew him never failed to mention his tendency to gravitate toward reckless behavior.

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