Skip to Main Content

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.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!

GET STARTED
  • The president is a clear danger to the country due to his obvious mental illness. I am willing to lose my psychology license as I have an ethical duty to warn.

    • I hope you do lose your license, if you even real to begin with. You don’t like him and are biased and you are recklessly willing to malign. Next you will decide that the half of the county that voted for him are also “sick” in a heinous bid invalidate the election. You are a discredit to your fellow Demoquacks.

    • Thank you for boldly and succinctly stating what has been obvious to me as a lay person. My ‘training’ in psychology is limited to an intro-level course in the early 1970’s, but I can see all kind of symptoms that need to be wrapped up in a tidy package and appropriately labeled. What that label might be, I leave to you the professionals, but I assume there is something in the DSM that will describe him.

    • Thank you for not only realizing there’s a danger but your willingness to say it

    • Peter – thank you. Every friend and acquaintance in the field that I know, sees the same thing. They may not have courage to warn, but people should understand this behavior pattern — since it’s so different from regular folks and so they tend to be completely aware of how it works.

    • Thank you, Dr. Swartz.

      May Marie someday find the help she needs to see reality.

    • The boy who shouted “The Emperor has no clothes!” was not making any judgement or conclusion about the mental state of the Emperor – he was merely making an observation of the man’s behaviour. People observe Trump’s behaviour all the time. Is it really unethical to say that Trump has X out of Y behaviours for condition Z? I hope not. I am not a mental health professional, but I am able to observe his volatile behaviour, and I fear for our future.

  • This is an shameful, and outrageous violation of the Hippocratic oath promulgated by some who would pervert an honored profession in service to their partisan proclivities. Have they forgotten that arm-chair psychiatric political diagnoses and removal of unexamined patients from Communist society also happened when the Soviet Union once existed?

    • You’re adding a whole dictatorship political structure that doesn’t exist here.

  • You’re confusing three APA’s here. The American Psychological Association is the scientific group for the study of psychology. The American Psychiatric Association is the group for practicing medical professionals in psychological treatment. The American Psychoanalytic Association is the group for followers of Freudian psychoanalysis — a largely discredited school of psychological theory. It is the American Psychiatric Association which had the Goldwater rule.

    • Mark – all three used the rule. Who’s confused? The article was clear about which group they were referring to.

  • Goldwater rule is a good one.
    If Psychiatrists start making commentaries about the President, then they can expect to be treated like political commentators rather than professionals with responsibility for treating people who come to them for help. It will detract from their credibility as physicians.
    Ethics of the healing profession requires practitioners to be willing to treat persons of all backgrounds.
    It would be unacceptable for a physician to only see Democrats or Republicans.
    It would be unacceptable for medical schools to only accept applicants who are Republicans or Democrats or Independents.
    Criticism of the President can only be seen as politically motivated.
    Certainly physicians can enter into political discourse, however it’s just that, political discourse, not diagnosis or treatment.
    I urge physicians to restrain themselves from making politically motivated statements, since it will detract from professional standing, and in turn will discourage patients from seeking assistance from those in the healing professions.

    • Physicians make commentary as experts on political figures all the time.

      McCain was diagnosed with cancer, a physician came onto each channel to explain the diagnosis — and in at least one case commented on whether it may have caused his confusion during a senate hearing the other week.

      Psychologists can do the same. That’s the point of lifting a rule (ideal) that’s too restrictive.

      The rule gives the impression you can’t talk at all. In fact, you see behavior patterns that are recognizable, same as a doctor sees someone faint, and you can comment on the possiblies. It doesn’t have to be politically motivated commentary. It can be expertise-based.

      Trump’s behaviors fit a well known pattern, but a rare pattern that most people have no knowledge of. It’s good if the public learn about this kind of thing, and they can have knowledge of how it works and what to expect.

      Have you ever met someone who can’t apologize? Trump can’t. That’s not a random personality trait. It’s key part of a well known pattern, the rest of which he has actions that fill it out too. The need for risk taking with the short attention span, is part of the same pattern. So is the rambling talk, that’s changing it’s positions as he speaks. It’s classic and well known part of that same pattern. Would you know such a thing exists if it wasn’t talked about?

    • Obama never apologized.
      Does he have the same disorder?
      Nothing political, please.

  • Curls, you don’t have an option to ‘reply’. It’s not Sharon Curls, is it?

    Vox wouldn’t be “trending”

    • Dennis – yes, under each main comment is a reply button so I do have an option to reply. Vox, trending- is related how?

      I don’t know a Sharon Curls.


  • Julian Assange @JulianAssange
    ·
    7h

    Sad to see “progressives” so debased that they’re more concerned about Trump revealing a murderous CIA program than the program itself.

  • If a patient like President Trump came into my office for treatment, after I completed his assessment I would probably refer him out. My counter transference issues would make it impossible for me to provide good care and might cloud any diagnosis I came up with. I think the Goldwater Rule makes good sense.

    • Good idea to refer him out if you’ve got transference issues. But that has nothing to do with whether other people have transference issues and the Goldwater rule…

      I think the rule has frozen the field to the point that they don’t discuss sociopathic behavior and patterns… not specific to president, but leaving it up to the public to learn how to spot flags and protect themselves from sociopaths out there, of which most abusers are. (And Trump’s behaviors are in that sociopath pattern whether of not he is one.)

  • This is clearly a case where a group of people don’t like Trump, both personally and his politics, and wanted a chance to air their grievances under the guise of a professional “assessment.” Nothing more.

    Are they really concerned about his mental health? Are they looking to place him under a 72-hour involuntary hold? To medicate him? No?

    One of the psychiatrists was concerned about Trump’s “narcissism, impulsivity, poor attention span, paranoia, and other traits.” Sounds like a lot of politicians to me. I could shoehorn Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, into those categories if without much effort and I wanted to violate the Goldwater Rule. But why? Because I don’t like her? Nope. Not playing that game. This stinks of all the dopes who were claiming Clinton had epilepsy or Parkinson’s because they watched some 5 second clip of her.

    • It isn’t about likes or dislikes. This is about as far removed from Adolph Ochs’ speech as is possible from any purported news agency

    • They are concerned about the public’s awareness of types of medical conditions and protecting itself from those patterns by making their own choices based on knowledge. The concept of whether to hosptialize him is irrelevant.

      No this is nothing like Clinton and Parkinson.
      1) Have you seen anyone in this article make a diagnosis directly? NO.
      2) That was a 5 sec clip, this is MONTHS of full on information.
      3) This is easy to see the patterns if you have any information at all. It’s worth people knowing someone is going to keep being they way they are… and stop the delusion that “if he’s stick to the script”, “if he’d apologize”, “If he’d….” This pattern is what it is – it’s not likely to change. Either it’s okay with you in him, or it’s not. But you dont’ get to choose the denial of it.

  • This garbage appearing number one news from a Google search for ‘realdonaldtrump’ one hour ago indicates to me that someone at Google Inc is entrenced in the “swamp”/”sewer”

    • It’s trending in twitter. Don’t blame google. It’s just what people are interested in re-twitting.

  • Trump is dragging down virtually the entire establishment, simply by causing it to froth at the mouth and act foolishly and hypocritically, in ways that are plainly obvious to ordinary people.

Comments are closed.