“On the other hand, do I think they have a right to say it? Yes. Can Goldwater sue them? Yes. It’s not that I agreed with the speech of people who were diagnosing Goldwater,” Lear said. “I think it was not a good idea, in so far as they opened themselves up to a legal liability. But I don’t think institutions should be in the business of regulating speech.”
Lear said there’s a world of difference between a mental health professional saying, “I have an informed opinion” and saying, “I have a clinical diagnosis.”
“You can say, ‘Look, I’ve seen a lot of people. I’ve had a lot of clinical expertise. He’s not my patient, but I think I know what I’m talking about,’” he suggested.
Jerrold Post, a professor emeritus of psychiatry, political psychology and international affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., took issue with a statement that the APA sent to psychiatrists in August 2016, which read: “The unique atmosphere of this year’s election cycle may lead some to want to psychoanalyze the candidates, but to do so would not only be unethical, it would be irresponsible.” Post said that taking such a stance can repress voices that should be heard. He said many of his colleagues feel this amounts to an abridgment of their free speech and the prerogatives of being a citizen.
“We have something to contribute. I think it’s important if ‘he who must not be named’ is a consummate quintessential narcissist. It’s important to say, ‘We have something to understand about what’s below the surface of this arrogant façade.’ I would call upon our society, the APA, to reexamine the severity of this,” Post said.
Rather than sounding off with psychobabble, Post encouraged psychoanalysts to conduct well-founded studies of textual analysis that help the public understand the public manifestations of narcissism and other mental disorders: “I think we have something very useful and imperative to offer.”
After the panel, he told Yahoo News that psychological insights into groups and individuals are both important right now. The president, he said, has tapped into a powerful phenomenon in American society, a resentment against elites that could prove disruptive and dangerous.
“He’s quite importantly touching on a psychological theme of those who felt left behind, those who feel that technological advance has gone too far. I find quite remarkable his ability to prompt outrage and fury at those who are trying to keep up with the rapidly modernizing world,” he said.
And Post knows firsthand how psychological expertise can benefit the nation. Before joining George Washington, he spent 21 years with the Central Intelligence Agency, where he founded and directed the Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior, a behavioral science unit that provided profiles of foreign leaders for the president and other senior officials to give them guidance in meetings, negotiations and crises. He’s created profiles of North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and now Kim Jong Un. He expressed concern over the possibility that the war of words between Kim and Trump could lead to a dark place.
“I think there’s a very real possibility going beyond this war of words that these two individuals — who have not, however, been tested in crisis and love to pronounce these strong words and are caught up in this escalating and spiraling conflict — there’s a very real possibility of stumbling into an inadvertent war,” Post said.
Sulkowicz, a clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University, is the founder and managing principal of the Boswell Group, which advises business executives on aspects of corporate life with “complex psychological and systemic underpinnings.” Sulkowicz, who was trained as both a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, has been outspoken in voicing his serious concerns about Trump’s mental state. He thinks the Goldwater Rule is profoundly misguided and inapplicable to a truly psychoanalytic way of approaching individual and group behavior.
“Psychoanalysts are less interested in diagnosis and much more interested in understanding a range of social phenomena,” he told the audience.
Sulkowicz said he’s spoken out against Trump in part because he wants to live up to the psychoanalytic ideals and values that caused him to choose his profession: alleviating suffering, listening, understanding, being honest, respecting history, practicing empathy, pursuing truth and respecting people at their most vulnerable.
“If this set of values doesn’t sound like the basis for activism in the public domain, then I don’t know what does,” he said.
It strikes Sulkowicz as naïve at best, or a form of denial at worst, for psychoanalysts to insist that they are as neutral as some of them would like to suggest.
“We can’t be so neutral and abstinent in the public domain when it comes to what we stand for,” Sulkowicz said. “I believe we should be talking more about our psychoanalytic values, especially in these deeply disturbing times when such values are under attack.”
Harriet L. Wolfe, the president of the APsaA, told Yahoo News that psychoanalysts have to continue thinking of ways to effectively apply their expertise in the public domain.
“I think there has been a general agreement in mental health professions that the Goldwater Rule in its base form, which says it’s not proper to diagnose someone you haven’t interviewed, has been used, in my view, almost to a political end — as a gag rule — in the current sociopolitical climate,” she said.
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Source : https://www.yahoo.com/news/public-role-psychoanalysts-trump-era-live-ominous-times-100003573.html