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Twenty-two psychiatrists and psychologists, including some of the field’s most prominent thinkers, are calling on the American Psychiatric Association on Thursday to substantially revise its controversial Goldwater rule, which bars APA members from offering their views of a public figure’s apparent psychological traits or mental status.

In a letter to be delivered to the APA, Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, one of the world’s leading experts on the psychological effects of war and political violence; Philip Zimbardo of the “Stanford prison experiment”; violence expert Dr. James Gilligan; and their colleagues argued that the Goldwater rule, which the APA adopted in 1973, deprives the public of expert opinion on crucial questions, such as the mental health and stability of elected officials.

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  • how about, the mental state of polotitians in general, lying and deviate?? bill, hillary clinton, obama, retrospectively their motives and behavior patterns are quesrionable although more covert to the public eye!!

  • I respectfully disagree with the aforementioned premise congress should abandon the Goldwater Rule. My fear is that this would put psychiatrists and psychologists more into the politicized divided culture battle which rages in our country. Let’s stay out of that mess.

    • Your profession is already in it. Some of your colleagues went on TV news spouting nonsense about any number of topics. You and your fellow experts can be expected to do or say anything for a price. You even re-framed the Epidemic of Despair in this country as one dependent on mindset, the billionaires love it when you shrinks justify their predatory behavior. You did not speak up about children being taken away from their parents at the border. You did not speak up when children were drugged and brutalized by the system you make a good living defending.
      This holier than though nonsense here is getting tedious. Besides the nightmare in D.C show more about the collective stupidity of self described experts. Your colleagues would justify any behavior for a buck.

  • James, I think we are on the same page. This all has the flavor of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” As if only the wise mental health professionals can see what is happening. Not just a bit narcissistic or self-serving? The public is perfectly capable of determining if they are satisfied with the behavior of this president and do not need “diagnostic” labels for their decisions. They have the tools to set limits or change course. The upcoming elections for example. Let’s maintain some faith in our institutions.

    • Second your kudos on Dr. Hassman’s comment.

      I want to make a note about this phony Duty to Warn project. Bandy Lee has a fortnightly rant on Psychology Today. Her latest post is a grievance about the APA’s “gag order” with the Goldwater Rule and she reassures us that she will not be silenced even though I am not aware of any actual discipline or censorship order outside the APA statement on Goldwater. She is free to quit the APA if she doesn’t agree.

      In the comments, I pointed out that there is no duty to warn when it is not your patient and that it has been eighteen months, and that this is an unhealthy messianic obsession and that it gives psych a bad name. I saved the comment, knowing it would be erased.

      Naturally her (or the editors who approve) response was to scrub the comment along with others she didn’t agree with. So once again, everything is projection with this group. Gagging is good when they do it. They are what they accuse others of being…closed-minded totalitarians and tyrants, and it’s all dolled up in phony sanctimony.

      And you don’t have to like Trump to agree on the ethics of this travesty. Some of her biggest detractors are APA higher-ups who openly despise Trump and love Obama.

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