How much psychopathology can be crammed under that orange hair? Now we discover that crew who worked on "The Apprentice” say, among other decidedly unflattering things about him, that he was a germophobe.“He’s not good with people touching him, he’s very germophobic,” said one crew member. “We were instructed never to touch him—he wouldn’t shake hands,” said another. (From “Apprentice crew members on their old boss” in Slate.)
Jeb Bush also accused him of not being able to shake people’s hands on the campaign trail.
This is what Mother Jones said:
A self-confessed germaphobe (the word has two correct spellings), Trump doesn’t even like to push a ground floor elevator button because it’s been tapped by so many people....This does not sit well with the masses, let alone the PTA crowd. Trump especially avoids shaking hands with teachers, since they are likely to be have been “in touch” with too many germy kids.
We don’t know if his germophobia (if he has it) leads to frequent hand cleaning, but dollars to donuts it does, and like on the TV show Monk, he has his assistant nearby to hand him antibacterial wipes.
I would be remiss in my duty to use my expertise as a Kos diarist who is a mental health professional to delve into the possibility that Trump has characteristics of DSM-5 psychiatric disorders. I have already written about Trump and narcissistic personality disorder (“A psychologist analyzes Trump the narcissist”) and paranoid personality disorder (“Another diagnosis for Trump. Is he really paranoid?”). That’s why I titled this diary Chapter 3. How many more of these will I have to write?
But why does it even matter if he has a germ phobia, lots of people do?
The answer is simple. Because there are other characteristics which people with this phobia may have which may be undesirable in a president.
Of course, germophobia is a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder. If he engages in anxiety reducing compulsive checking, or counting like the opssessive-compuslive TV detective Adrian Monk, that would lend significant credence to making this diagnosis.
Most non-mental health professional don’t differentiate between obsessive compulsive disorder, often just called OCD, and obsessive compulsive personality disorder. (OCPD) There are many similarities between the two and not all experts agree on the degree of co-morbidity between the two.
One of the main differences between obsessive compulsive disorder and its personality disorder cousin is that people with the former are quite aware of it and how it disrupts their lives, people with the later tend not to think there’s anything wrong with them. People with OCD have unwanted thoughts, while people with OCPD believe that their thoughts are correct.
People with both, or overlapping, disorders have a concern with orderliness, , excessive attention to details, mental and interpersonal control, and a need for control over one's environment, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency.and miserliness are also seen often in those with this personality disorder. (Wikipedia and other sources)
While Trump may not have enough of the characteristics to actually make either of these diagnoses, when we have observed of him suggests he may have some of the the “symptoms." For one, he is obsessed with certain things like menstruating women, the size of their breasts, Mexicans, Muslims, his poll numbers, that not a single hair is out of place on his head, etc. Those suffering from this disorder often have the same thoughts repeatedly and we can certainly see that in his speech patterns.
What does all this matter? Not much taken by itself. But add these questions to all the other behaviors suggestive of Trump suffering from personality disorders, and one has to be concerned that we have someone running for president who is not only a misogynist, a bigot, a xenophobe, and a serial liar, he’s not capable of completely rational decision making, especially under stress when he has shown himself to be impulsive.
I would be remiss in my duty to use my expertise as a Kos diarist who is a mental health professional to delve into the possibility that Trump has characteristics of DSM-5 psychiatric disorders.
There is no duty, as a Daily Kos diarist, or as a mental health professional, to attempt diagnosis of psychiatric disorder of public figures, political opponents, or anyone else, over the internet.
Furthermore, the practice has high risks. Use of diagnostic terminology for speculative political attacks will misinform readers about the nature of evaluation and the patient-professional relationship, and could inadvertently reflect negatively on the mental health professions.
Also, any claim of benefit balancing the harm, in these particular circumstances, is unreasonable. No one here will be voting for Donald Trump. Any perceived need to warn readers here is not very real.
Don’t you know a snarky comment when you read it — of course there’s no “duty” as a Kos diarist to write anything as you well know having posted several hundred diaries, and besides anybody who posts within the guidelines can be a Kos diarist. However, if you want to get technical there is a “kind of ethical duty” for those who understand mental illness because of their training to speak out when they see it manifest in a public figure (when that illness may make them unfit for office).
If the emperor has no clothes and someone sees it, they need to shout it out, and the Internet is a way of doing this.
It’s not like I am some loony or unethical loner deviant therapist writing about Trump’s apparent symptomatology. Pundits and shrinks with the bona fides of having written books and being professors are already weighing in on indications of Trump’s psychopathology, but they parse their words carefully because of what’s called “the Goldwater Rule.”
The Goldwater rule is the informal name for a precept of medical ethicspromulgated by the American Psychiatric Association. It forbids psychiatrists from commenting on individuals' mental state without examining them personally and being authorized by the person to make such comments. The rule has no official name; it is simply Section 7.3 of the APA's ethics principles.
The issue arose in the 1960s when Fact magazine published the article "The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater."The magazine polled psychiatrists about American Senator Barry Goldwater and whether he was fit to be president.
The rule itself reads:
On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement. Wikipedia
I call this out as a load of crap, because who else is more qualified to warn the public about a candidate having a real psychiatric disorder (which may or is likely to make them unsuitable to hold office)? Those psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who do publish seem to think that they can get around the so-called Goldwater rule by offering the disclaimer that they have not seen the individual in person and then gotten an authorization to please information to the public. Right! Does anybody think for a moment anyone who has published clinical impressions of Trump has done a real diagnostic interview with him? I think it is high and mighty for psychiatrists and other therapists to say they need “proper authorization” to diagnose somebody who is a public figure.
It’s not just me who is willing to go public with a diagnosis.
For mental-health professionals, Donald Trump is at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. “Remarkably narcissistic,” said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner,a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. “He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics,” said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. “Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.” from
IS DONALD TRUMP ACTUALLY A NARCISSIST? THERAPISTS WEIGH IN!
As his presidential campaign trundles forward, millions of sane Americans are wondering: What exactly is wrong with this strange individual? Now, we have an answer.
As for the Goldwater Rule:
As evidenced by the Vanity Fair, story, however, not all mental health professionals believe it’s that clear cut. What’s more, disagreement over the Goldwater Rule isn’t as simple as “here’s what psychiatrists believe and here are a few bad apples who break the rules.” Last week, the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (JAAPL) published a paper questioning the foundations of the Goldwater Rule and arguing that the rule stifles psychiatrists’ ability to speak their conscience. And that perspective is nothing new. The Goldwater Rule has been controversial within the field of psychiatry since it was enacted in 1973, said Brian Cooke, a forensic and clinical psychiatrist at the University of Florida who wrote a 2014 paper, also published in JAAPL, arguing in favor of the rule.
Dan McAdams said that he was very careful not to make a psychiatric diagnosis in his article about Trump’s narcissism. But he as much as said he had a narcissistic personalty disorder. Still he “protected” himself by dancing around making a diagnosis, and still manage to be published in The Atantic, a cover article no less.
Every day were hear and read about Trump being a narcissist — and not just narcissistic — but I’ve heard him called a malignant narcissist — so it’s not like this is new.
When psychotherapists attempt to diagnosis Trump, there is little if any risk that readers will be misinformed about the nature of psychological evaluation done with a client for the purposes of treatment, and everyone understands the sanctity of the therapist-client relationship.
Even Hillary Clinton said the following:
In a speech last week, Hillary Clinton took her befuddlement with Donald Trump and dropped it squarely at the feet of America’s mental health professionals. “I’ll leave it to the psychiatrists to explain his affection for tyrants,” she said, in response to comments Trump had made marveling at the political effectiveness of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
On another diary comment section I wrote in a response to a psychiatrist with a similar complaint chapter and verse explaining the long history (which he should have been familiar with) dating back to Freud of using the insights of psychology to understand public figures. The first analysis of a nation’s leader was a report prepared for the OSS analyzing Hitler. Obviously nobody interviewed him. It is now in the public domain and makes interesting reading.
I’ll end with referring you to the article I just found, and quoted above, which I will add to the diary because it is so relevant to the topic you raise.
There’s even more about the subject of psychotherapists diagnosing public figures like Trump. This is my response to a psychiatrist who wrote on my diary about Trump having a paranoid disorder if he really believes conspiracy theories:
It is ethically not correct to diagnose a person without having examined that person. And I am in no way and will never ever support or defend Donald Trump. I am talking about making diagnoses. And I am talking about subjecting people who have the diagnoses you are talking about, indirectly implying that they are like Donald Trump. Donald Trump is Donald Trump and as said before, his actions and words, his bigotry, speaks for itself. It is wrong to associate other people, who have a psychiatric diagnosis, with him. So I say, bad on you. I say that as a psychiatrist who treats people who are stigmatized enough by our society without being associated with the likes of Donald Trump.
I am sorry you think “bad on me.” If I wrote about a serial killer having dissociative personality disorder, would this mean I am implying that those with this disorder who, as you know, are most often sexual abuse victims, are compared to a serial killer? By far most people with narcissistic personality disorder, who after all mask a fragile sense of self-esteem, are nothing like Trump. That isn’t to say that they don’t make life difficult for those they live and work with.
There is a time honored history of using the tools of psychology to help understand famous people, some alive and some long dead. This practice, sometimes referred to as psycho-biography, is not without its detractors, see “The Psychoanalysis of Historical Characters”; but there are many academics who make this a specialty. Some in fact are English, literature, and history professors who have studied psychology or are themselves psychoanalysts or psychologists. See Professor talks psychoanalysis and history and especially THE VALUE OF PSYCHOANALYSIS IN WRITING BIOGRAPHY.
Below, from Wikipedia
Psychobiography is a field within the realms of psychology/biography that analyzes the lives of historically significant individuals through the use of psychological theory and research. The goal of this particular field is to develop a better understanding of some notable individual by applying psychological theories to their biographies in order to further explain the motives behind some of the actions and decisions made by that person. Some of the more popular subjects of psychobiographies include figures such as Adolf Hitler, Vincent van Gogh, William Shakespeare, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Saddam Hussein. A typical biography is often very descriptive, and tries to record every notable event that happened in a person’s lifetime, whereas a psychobiography primarily focuses on some particular events, and tries to better understand why they happened. This field’s potential has not only aided in developing a better understanding to many notable biographies throughout history, but has also inspired direction and insight into the field of psychology.
One of the first great examples of this field’s utility was Dr. Henry Murray’s report on the analysis of Adolf Hitler’s personality during the end of WWII. Forced to psychoanalyze from a distance, Dr. Murray used multiple sources, including Hitler's genealogy, Hitler’s own writings, and biographies of Hitler, so that the Allied forces could understand his personality in order to best predict his behavior. By applying a theory of personality that consisted of 20 psychogenic needs, Dr. Murray presumed Hitler’s personality as “counteractive narcism”, and was able to correctly predict the German leader's suicide in the face of his country’s defeat. This work by Dr. Murray not only helped establish personality psychology as a behavioral science, but it also showed how the field of psychobiography could be applied as a means of psychoanalysis.
Sigmund Freud's analysis of Leonardo da Vinci (titled "Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood") is generally considered to be the first "modern" psychobiography. Persons who have been the subject of psychobiographical research include Freud, Adolf Hitler, Sylvia Plath, Carl Jung, Vincent van Gogh, Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Andrew Jackson, and Richard Nixon.
Comments are closed on this story.