Mental health professionals: “incapable of serving safely as president”

from Lance M. Dodes, M.D., 2/13/17

To The Editors of the New York Times

Charles M. Blow (column, nytimes.com, Feb. 9) describes Donald Trump’s constant need “to grind the opposition underfoot.” As mental health professionals, we share Mr. Blow’s concern.

Silence from the country’s mental health organizations has been due to a self-imposed dictum about evaluating public figures (the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 Goldwater Rule). But this silence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer.

Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).

In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.

Lance Dodes, M.D.

Joseph Schachter, M.D., Ph.D.

Susan Radant, Ph.D.

Judith Schachter, M.D.

Jules Kerman, M.D., Ph.D

Jeffrey Seitelman, M.D., Ph.D.

Henry Friedman, M.D.

Babak Roshanaei-Moghaddam, MD

David Cooper, Ph.D.

Dena Sorbo, LCSW, BCD

Joseph Reppen, Ph.D.

Ernest Wallwork, Ph.D.

Judith E. Vida, M.D.

Richard Reichbart, J.D., Ph.D.

Joseph Abrahams, M.D.

Leslie Schweitzer-Miller, M.D.

Cheryl Y. Goodrich, Ph.D.

Lourdes Henares-Levy, M.D.

Alexandra Rolde, M.D.

Dr. med. Helen Schoenhals Hart

Eva D. Papiasvili, Ph.D.

Mali Mann, M.D.

Phyllis Tyson, Ph.D.

Era A. Loewenstein, Ph.D.

Marianna Adler, Ph.D.

Henry Nunberg, M.D.

Marc R. Hirsch, Ph.D.

Lora Heims Tessman, Ph.D.

Monisha Nayar-Akhtar, Ph.D.

Victoria Schreiber, M.A., L.M.S.W.

Penny M Freedman, Ph.D.

Merton A. Shill, JD. LLM., PhD.

Helen K. Gediman, Ph.D.

Michael P. Kowitt, Ph.D.

Leonard Glass, M.D.

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