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Psychiatric Group: Don't Psychoanalyze Trump, Clinton

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By    |   Sunday, 07 Aug 2016 01:35 PM

Forget trying to psychoanalyze Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, even amid his poor statements, bad days and bad weeks. It is "unethical," "irresponsible," and violates the "Goldwater Rule," the American Psychiatric Association warned this week. 


"This year, the election seems like anything but a normal contest, that has at times devolved into outright vitriol," Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., wrote. "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."


The Goldwater Rule prohibits psychiatrists from offering opinions on someone they have not personally evaluated. The principal was founded in 1973 and named after the 1964 presidential race featured a survey of psychiatrists on whether then-Republican nominee Barry Goldwater was psychologically fit for the presidency. Goldwater lost that election, but he won a libel suit against the paper that published the unofficial opinions.


"This large, very public ethical misstep by a significant number of psychiatrists violated the spirit of the ethical code that we live by as physicians, and could very well have eroded public confidence in psychiatry," she wrote. "We live in an age where information on a given individual is easier to access and more abundant than ever before, particularly if that person happens to be a public figure.


"With that in mind, I can understand the desire to get inside the mind of a presidential candidate. I can also understand how a patient might feel if they saw their doctor offering an uninformed medical opinion on someone they have never examined. A patient who sees that might lose confidence in their doctor, and would likely feel stigmatized by language painting a candidate with a mental disorder (real or perceived) as 'unfit' or 'unworthy' to assume the presidency."


The media has been particularly unforgiving on Trump this week, and this tweet by a Harvard Medical School professor and former dean may or may not violate the Goldwater Rule, as The Washington Post surfaced Sunday. 

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Forget trying to psychoanalyze Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, even amid his poor statements, bad days and bad weeks. It is unethical, irresponsible, and violates the Goldwater Rule, the American Psychiatric Association warned this week. This year, the...
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2016-35-07
Sunday, 07 Aug 2016 01:35 PM
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