Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Trump on the Couch

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The American Psychiatric Association has recently felt the need to remind its members that it is a breach of professional ethics to analyze people they haven't met and formally evaluated.  It particular, the esteemed organization is telling the medical professionals from whom it collects hefty dues to avoid the urge to make diagnostic pronouncements regarding the mental health of Donald J. Trump.  In order to ethically do that, the psychiatrists should first meet the candidate, then formally evaluate him, and then receive his explicit permission to discuss the results of that evaluation with interested third parties.

Justin A. Frank, MD, is a psychiatrist who made news (and a pile of money) back in 2004 when he published a book, Bush on the Couch, that was in essence a psychological profile of the then sitting President, George W. Bush.   Frank psychoanalyzed President Bush based on the available record and came up with what many regarded as a fairly accurate portrait of the mental inner-workings of America's leader.   A few years later he repeated that effort with the next President and published Obama on the Couch.

The temptation for mental health professionals to crack open their DSM-5's and go after someone like Donald Trump, a man with a raging ego and few (if any) filters, must be well nigh irresistible.   But, as the American Psychiatric Association  has reminded its members, it would also be unethical.
Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass of California's 37th congressional district has launched a petition on change.org speculating that Trump may be suffering from (or wallowing in) a narcissistic personality disorder, and her petition calls on him to undergo a mental health evaluation.  Bass, herself a former mental health professional, has more than 25,000 signatures on her petition so far.

The Donald loves attention and has famously decreed that all publicity is good publicity.   However, he does not like to be told what to do - so it is doubtful that Trump on the Couch will make it to bookstores anytime soon - unless, of course, he can figure out a way to make a few bucks off of it himself!

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