Thousands of mental health professionals agree with Woodward and the New York Times op-ed author: Trump is dangerous : The Conversation


Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear,” describes a “nervous breakdown of Trump’s presidency.” Earlier this year, Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” offered a similar portrayal.

Now, an op-ed in The New York Times by an anonymous “senior White House official” describes how deeply the troubles in this administration run and what effort is required to protect the nation.

None of this is a surprise to those of us who, 18 months ago, put together our own public service book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”

My focus as the volume’s editor was on Trump’s dangerousness because of my area of expertise in violence prevention. Approaching violence as a public health issue, I have consulted with governments and international organizations, in addition to 20 years of engaging in the individual assessment and treatment of violent offenders.

The book proceeded from an ethics conference I held at Yale, my home institution. At that meeting, my psychiatrist colleagues and I discussed balancing two essential duties of our profession. First is the duty to speak responsibly about public officials, especially as outlined in “the Goldwater rule,” which requires that we refrain from diagnosing without a personal examination and without authorization. Second is our responsibility to protect public health and safety, or our “duty to warn” in cases of danger, which usually supersedes other rules.

Our conclusion was overwhelmingly that our responsibility to society and its safety, as outlined in our ethical guidelines, overrode any etiquette owed to a public figure. That decision led to the collection of essays in the book, which includes some of the most prominent thinkers of the field including Robert J. Lifton, Judith Herman, Philip Zimbardo and two dozen others. That decision was controversial among some members of our field.

We already know a great deal about Trump’s mental state based on the voluminous information he has given through his tweets and his responses to real situations in real time. Now, this week’s credible reports support the concerns we articulated in the book beyond any doubt.

These reports are also consistent with the account I received from two White House staff members who called me in October 2017 because the president was behaving in a manner that “scared” them, and they believed he was “unraveling”. They were calling because of the book I edited.

Once I confirmed that they did not perceive the situation as an imminent danger, I referred them to the emergency room, in order not to be bound by confidentiality rules that would apply if I engaged with them as a treating physician. That would have compromised my role of educating the public.

 

Source: Thousands of mental health professionals agree with Woodward and the New York Times op-ed author: Trump is dangerous : The Conversation

6 thoughts on “Thousands of mental health professionals agree with Woodward and the New York Times op-ed author: Trump is dangerous : The Conversation

  1. Thanks for working on and putting out the book that you did. I’ve read much of it and agree whole-hardheartedly that it was both necessary and pertinent. We are in scary times, and I fear very much for our country and the world. Trump and his administration have cause so much harm to so many hurting from mental illnesses by being a trigger for the worse of their symptoms, myself being one of them. I fear things will get far worse before they get better.

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  2. You see it … others see it … but what can be done? He continues to plow forward helter-skelter, insulting, lying, destroying, and undermining people, plans, and principles without restraint.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, many people see it, but do his supporters see it, it appears not for many of them have nothing, except Trump to believe in. Also where are the Republicans in the Senate and the House of Representatives in this, do they see it and if they do why are they not doing something about it.

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      • I don’t think his supporters have a clue. He’s convinced them he’s making everything “better” — and they believe him. As for those who could do something, they’re too busy counting their money.

        Hoping and a-wishing for a Blue Wave in November!

        Good post, BTW. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Their desire to win re election overrides any love of country or doing the “right” thing. They are in some ways worse than the trump supporters. The republicans in Congress are willingly doing this out of greed and self interest, but not stupidity. And trump’s cult base is doing it out of sheer stupidity and racism and in some cases, out of big business and greedy players in the market. You know they’re making money, so who cares!

        Liked by 1 person

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