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.

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  • Also, has psychoanalytic association past president Dr. Prudence Gourguechon undergone a recent neuropsych exam? She argues that “We don’t want to prohibit our members from using their knowledge responsibly” because “Trump’s behavior is so different from anything we’ve seen before in a commander in chief.” She’s apparently forgotten that Trump is not a politician and therefore behaves differently than what we’ve mostly seen before. As such, one diagnosing from afar her without an examination might conclude that she is suffering from dementia or Early Stage Alzheimer’s. A neuropsychological examination might be reassuring for her clients.

    • Probably, the answer is, “Yes” as most psychotherapists go through therapy themselves so they will better understand the process before they establish their own practices.

    • Steve, Dr. Gourguechon has reportedly had a clinical practice for over three decades. So, you’re postulating that the recent neuropsych exam I questioned was … over three decades ago?

  • Psychology Today writes:

    “In circumstances where reason is at odds with subjective taste, it is the latter that carries the day. In most cases we tend to pay attention selectively to the evidence that confirms our political orientation while pretending that the conflict between reason and taste does not exist.”

    Before the “psychoanalytic” industry allows its members to render opinions on our political leaders without assessment, it should develop a test to ensure that professional proclamations are not biased by personal opinions. Said another way, in the current situation, the industry must develop a test to evaluate it’s members for Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    Some of the evidence presented in the referenced book is the fact that Trump talks about the “conspiracy” against him. Not to pull the tired Hillary card again, but the Clinton camp has been talking about the “right wing conspiracy,” among many others, for years. To the best of my knowledge, no one has questioned her mental fitness.

    We are currently also hearing questions about the POTUS mental stability because of his “Big Button” comment. Those who express concern for this comment are delusional. The US has had a standing policy of “mutually assured destruction” when it comes to nuclear power since the Eisenhower administration. Trump’s comment is openly and plainly stating what our diplomats have been saying behind closed doors for more than half a century. Also shows they have no concept of “Big Stick” diplomacy, which, when employed by Theodore Roosevelt earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.

    • Michael, you sound like someone who would say, “Don’t try to confuse me with the facts when I’ve already made up my mind! Also, TR did not win the Peace Prize for his “Big Stick” policy, but for his role in terminating the Russo-Japanese War. You just might be able to count yourself among “Those who refuse to learn the lessons of history . . . “

    • Steve, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” is a proverbial saying advising the tactic of caution and non-aggression, backed up by the ability to carry out violent action if required.

      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.

  • All Psychiatrists, Psychoanalysts, Psychologists should keep their opinions to themselves since they can only speak to public behavior ,which is no different than his behavior for years. They are unqualified to make diagnosis when they have not even personally seen, spoken with, or evaluated that person. It is unethical too bad their local licensing bureau does not take action to correct them.

    • Kathy,

      As a Psych. Major from years ago, and not even a practicing professional, it didn’t take me long to look up “Narcissist” again, and refresh my memory. If you’d like to try the same thing, you just might be surprised at how quickly you could become more objective and, perhaps, maybe even somewhat enlightened.

    • ” … neither “narcissism” nor “narcissist” are diagnoses or disorders. Narcissism is a trait, and narcissists are people who score well above average on measures of that trait. They may or may not be disordered.” — Psychology Today, Dec 18, 2017

  • Although terms such as narcissistic are part of common language now (though used often commonly to convey merely perceptions of selfishness or pride), when proffered as professional diagnoses AGAINST those not medically examined by those in our profession, it is an abuse of our profession. It HARMS all of us. I support malpractice standards against those who lend false professional credence to bolster their banal political dislikes by publicly diagnosing as professionals without exam, let alone consent. Shameful.

    But, the insanity of the most obvious having even to be stated does lend credence to the possibility of development of new DSM criteria for a Trump Derangement Syndrome in the population, mental health professionals being clearly explicated here to be not themselves immune.

  • I am a psychologist and psychoanalyst. For what it’s worth, I don’t like the idea of diagnosing someone from a distance, and it plays into the notion that we can make behavior illness rather than what it is. Nevertheless, we are all left with the language of psychiatry, psychology and psychoanalyst. Terms like narcissistic and sociopathic are both in common use and also represent diagnostic terms.

    HIPAA and privacy have nothing to do with this discussion. These only apply to patients and patient health information. Whether mental health professionals can or should talk in clinical terms about Trump is an ethical debate, but not a HIPAA problem.

    • Of course we are not “left with the language of psychiatry, psychology and psychoanalyst.” We rejected that language, and diagnostics, when it was used to characterize masturbation, homosexuality, and female sexual enthusiasm. Member of those profiting professions responded to public outrage and repudiation. Psychiatrists once characterized the desire of a slave to escape as “drapetomania.” The mental health professions are in the business of social control, and the diagnostic terms reflect that, not the naming of actual disease. If Trump has CTE or Alzheimer’s, which is to say brain damage, then he doesn’t have a “mental illness.”

  • Let me first say that I am a retired registered nurse with some background in psychiatric nursing. I realize you are simiply discussing things but do remember the HIPPA Law is in place and President Trump’s mental health is not supposed to be speculated about where anyone can read it .You and your colleges should know better.

    • If psychiatry were about health, there would be biological tests to validate so-called mental health diagnoses. There are none.

      Psychiatry is about unconventional and disapproved behaviors, which is why anyone with a keyboard can offer a diagnosis. Behavior is not disease.

    • Nicolas-
      So because there is no medical test to diagnose fybromyalgia does that mean rheumatology also has nothing to do with health?

      And whatever your thoughts are on the matter, Sheryll is still correct about HIPPA and the privacy rule applying to all aspects of mental health.

      And more importantly, this is obviously political. There are hardly a fraction of psychiatrists and psychologists that believe it’s ethical to speculate about his health, its laughable for anyone to pretend anything resembling consensus exists regarding that very matter in the mental health community.

    • 1. Psychiatry is entirely about behavior, not putative physical problems, as in the case of fibromyalgia. 2. Psychiatric diagnoses and “treatments” are often imposed on persons against their will. If you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia you can refuse treatment; if you are diagnosed with “schizophrenia,” you cannot refuse treatment. 3. It has not been proven that fibromyalgia is a rheumatological disease. 4. Sheryll, with a background in psychiatric nursing, has probably participated in imposing coercive treatments on unwilling persons, so her concern with HIPPA is ironic. 4. Given that no psychiatric diagnosis can be validated by physical tests (urine, blood, scans, etc.), all psychiatric diagnoses are quackery, not medicine. They would be laughable if they were not also imposed by force.

  • 27 flip cases are going to target the pres. After a year of dems crying about losing the election.
    There is no definition of normal. The odd behavior Trump posesses is merely that of a billionaire. Ask Ross Perot. But someone that cries over an election A YEAR AGO, might wanna be checked out.

  • Narcissist: psychoanalytic term for the person who loves himself more than his analyst considered to be the manifestation of a dire mental disease whose successful treatment depends on the patient learning to love the analyst more and himself less. — Thomas Szasz

    • Nicholas, oh my what a special boy you can copy paste.

      You realize again that is a broad spectrum, what can sometimes appear as one thing can often be something completely different. This is why a psychiatrist /psychologist cannot diagnose anyone they have not treated. Bipolar/borderline personality disorder/narcissistic peronsality disorder have many overlapping symptoms. Which fyi is clearly stated in the dsm. Also the man who wrote the definition even says trump does not meet the criteria so that should tell you armchair diagnosis pushing individuals a lot about the subject. Don’t believe me look it up.

  • Hmmm sounds like a lot of liberals I know, as well as news media sites that post fake news stories. Also it actually does as what someone may perceive as narcisim may actually be something completely different. As many different diagnosis may present with a variety of similar symptoms. Take for instance the belief that you obviously have that it is a me mentality, have you ever stopped for a moment to consider that perhaps it is in jive with other members of society even though it is contrary to your perceived notions. Also if you’re solely going off body ticks well one could then point out that both Clintons exhibit classic body language that would indicate that of liars. Which generally there are several techniques to detect both of which obviously showed. However if say people were to jus able as this says go around diagnosing solely off of no actually interaction one could infer that you are perhaps a person who suffers from delusional disorder despite the facts that mounting evidence proves contrary to your held beliefs. I suppose it’s a good thing couch diagnosing is ethically or morally wrong because it’s a slippery slope isn’t it Louise?

  • Dont have to be a ‘professional’ to diagnose a narcisstic. Only requirement is to have lived & experienced one for a certain amount of time to see thru the body language, the facial expressions, the ‘its all about ME bullshit & lack of care about how his actions affect others. And of course his inability to admit mistakes & apologise. Erin!

    • You don’t have to be a professional to diagnose any “mental illness.” It merely requires a willingness to superimpose your value judgements on others.

    • Since you have experience with narcissistic personality, have you noticed the symptoms in Bernie Sanders’ supporters? I hear there is an assessment” of millennials that a trait is ‘entitlement.’ – I don’t put all millennials into one basket. I am exposed to Sanders supporters constantly even over a year later, and noticed they won’t admit their “mistakes or apologise.” They are insistent their way is right and refuse to compromise.

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