Some psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have effectively joined “the resistance” to President Trump, publicly stating that he is seriously mentally ill. I’m a psychotherapist and I disagree.
One of the books these anti-Trumpers have churned out, which made it to the New York Times Bestseller List, is “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” The authors “offer their consensus view that Trump’s mental state presents a clear and present danger to our nation and individual well-being,” according to the Amazon page promoting the book.
This is not a professional diagnosis. It is a political statement, being used by Trump’s opponents in the mental health field to attack him because they oppose what he is trying to accomplish in Washington.
And predictably, politicians, media commentators and celebrities have used the “Trump is crazy” claim to call for his impeachment, arguing that he is unfit for office. This is absurd.
In the psychology profession, there are ethical rules warning psychologists against diagnosing any person they have not personally examined. The reason is simple: to uphold the integrity of the profession and to prevent psychologists from inadvertently or intentionally abusing their power and influence.
In addition, the American Psychiatric Association has a rule forbidding psychiatrists, who are physicians, from making public diagnoses about someone’s mental health without personally examining the person.
One of the psychologists leading the campaign to have President Trump removed from office is John Gartner, who started an online petition to the president’s Cabinet.
The petition states: “We the undersigned mental health professionals … believe in our professional judgment that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States. And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’”
Gartner has also formed a political action committee called Duty to Warn PAC to raise money for congressional candidates who will move to impeach Trump.
Gartner is so sure that President Trump is mentally ill that he said: “I would bet my life of my children on it… that’s how confident I am.”
There is a problem, however, with Gartner’s current “diagnosis” – or more accurately, his misdiagnosis – of President Trump. It contradicts what he wrote in an article a little more than a year before the presidential election.
In his article in the New Republic headlined “Donald Trump and Bill Clinton have the same secret weapon,” Gartner explained that the two men shared the same personality trait, hypomanic temperament, and wrote: “To be clear, I’m not using my authority as a professor of psychiatry to call Trump mentally ill.”
What would explain Gartner’s turnabout and why he is now falsely insisting that President Trump is mentally ill? It is safe to bet that it was the unexpected outcome of the 2016 presidential election and a fervent desire by the president’s opponents to delegitimize him and overturn a free and fair election and the people’s choice.
In the weeks leading up to the election a year ago, most of the media, polls and pundits told us the odds were overwhelming that Hillary Clinton would win. On television news, the panels were prematurely celebrating Clinton’s coronation and already predicting her cabinet picks.
The adage that the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day gained renewed significance one year ago. Not since the 1948 upset victory by Harry Truman over Thomas Dewey have the so-called “experts” clearly gotten it so wrong.
There were early signs that the election would go Donald Trump’s way. Most Americans believed we were on the wrong path and feared the country was in decline. Clinton represented the status quo, while Trump was widely viewed as a change agent who could restore America’s greatness.
The rise of the Trump “mental illness campaign” that was launched by psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals has its roots in “gaslighting.” The term refers to the spreading of a false view of reality for the explicit purposes of eroding public opinion and confidence in people’s own perception.
The tactic is not designed to bring immediate action, but is part of a larger campaign to undo the Trump presidency. Have you heard that Trump colluded with Russia?
It’s official. The shrinks have taken a dive into the swamp.