July 26, 2017

" The psychiatric establishment should follow the American Psychoanalytic Association’s defiant lead and retire the Goldwater Rule altogether."

Argues Jesse Singal (at New York Magazine).
As Stat News reported yesterday,* earlier this month the executive committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association told its 3,500 members in an email that they should feel free to flout the Goldwater Rule... To be sure, this is a drop in the bucket in terms of the wider world of psychiatry, given that the American Psychiatric Association has more than 37,000 members...

[A] psychiatrist commenting on a public figure is simply making informed inferences based on the publicly available information, in much the same way an aviation expert might comment on a deadly plane crash without having direct access to the crash site or the details of the subsequent government investigation....

In reality, it is very unlikely that credible psychiatrists would make public statements of concern about public figures’ psychiatric well-being in all but the most urgent cases, given the potential hit to their professional reputations. Those who would take these claims too far, who would politicize vital questions of mental health, would be drowned out and ostracized by their more professionally responsible colleagues
In reality? Singal's grasp of reality is way different from mine. 76% of psychiatrists are Democrats. Their political beliefs are very likely to skew their assessment of when it's "urgent" to get the word out that a political candidate is disordered and when they should "ostracize" a fellow psychiatrist who's spoken out. What happened with Goldwater is what will happen again. Even if only 1% of psychiatrists jump into the public spotlight to opine on the craziness of Candidate X, that's still 370 psychiatrists. And how many of the rest of them — the "more professionally responsible colleagues" — will passively enjoy the damage done to the candidate they'd like to see taken down? Meanwhile, a profession that needs to be believed in is going to get its credibility undermined. And that self-interest is the driving force behind the Goldwater rule.
______________________

* I blogged that here.

52 comments:

n.n said...

Aren't psychos of liberal/progressive/reformed persuasion responsible for reestablishment of [class] diversity schemes and resumption of abortion rites?

Godwin's law, too. At least without proper (i.e. principled) attribution.

Mr., Ms., and Mx. Psychos, tear down the walls, and close the abortion chambers.

It works for communists, too.

Nonapod said...

psychiatrist commenting on a public figure is simply making informed inferences based on the publicly available information, in much the same way an aviation expert might comment on a deadly plane crash without having direct access to the crash site or the details of the subsequent government investigation...

Sophistry. In the world of feelz there's far less that's actually quantifiable than in the world of aviation. Practically everything's up for interpretation.

n.n said...

Surely, a progressive slope. They should reconsider before people start pulling out the really big diagnoses.

JohnAnnArbor said...

The hate never ends, and it takes many forms.

Michael K said...

There is no law about making a fool of yourself and psychiatrists should be more aware of the risks to their professional reputation than most.

The movie "Anatomy of a Murder" made ridiculous a psychiatrist who sat in the courtroom and gave an opinion on the defendant's mental state without examining him.

These people have never been within miles of Trump. If they want to make psychiatry look more foolish than it does now, go ahead.

The "Goldwater Rule' was not about Goldwater. It was about Psychiatry looking ridiculous.

Susan said...

Show us on the electoral map where the orange man hurt you.

Drago said...

Every single leftist is a Stalinist.

Without exception.

Comanche Voter said...

Some Manhattan or Cambridge Mass based pyschiatrist is going to say, "That Trump is one crazy sumbitch". And the Trump voters are going to say, "Yeah, but he's our crazy sumbitch and that's fine with us. Go climb a rope!"

Mike Sylwester said...

I'm not a certified psychiatrist, but I thought that Sam Harrison was deranged about RussiaGate in his podcast with Scott Adams.

Harrison's lack of any skepticism about anonymous leaks that the Russians meddled in the 2016 election was staggering.

So, if I were a psychiatrist, I would start with a public diagnosis of Harris's mental derangement, because I spent a couple of hours examining him last Saturday. Also, I have a two-hour recording of Harris's discussion of the subject -- so I have proof.

From Harris, I would move on to publicly diagnose "Crazy Comey the Leaker".

DanTheMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DanTheMan said...

A situation where my enlightened betters weren't there to tell me what to think and how to vote would be... deplorable.

Thank God that will never happen here!

mccullough said...

So what medications and dosages would these talking head psychiatrists prescribe for Trump?

tim maguire said...

Fortunately the Goldwater Rule does not apply to me so I am free to opine on the mental faculties of people willing to cast aside fundamental safety and integrity rules for short-term political convenience.

Matthew Sablan said...

This is grossly irresponsible, but on the bright side, I guess the left doesn't care about all those people who pontificated about Clinton's health after all.

Martha said...

So what medications and dosages would these talking head psychiatrists prescribe for Trump?

IMPEACHMENT!

followed by

HILLARY!

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Brava Susan!

n.n said...

Show us on the electoral map where the orange man hurt you.

Objection. Defendant is leading the prosecution.

Bob Ellison said...

Well, I'm no mentalist, but I can say with authority that Trump displays signs of narcissism, psychodrama, vapidromism, and wispheria. These are disqualifying traits for anyone supposing to run the biggest government in the world. He should resign or be removed tout de suite. Melania can translate that for him.

Bob Ellison said...

Yeah, Susan, I think you got this one.

bgates said...

By the time Barack Obama was ten years old, his father and stepfather had each moved more than five thousand miles away from him, and his mother (who had been named Stanley because her father wanted a son so much) sent him more than five thousand miles away from her. Obama spent less than a month around his nominal father, an alcoholic polygamist, between Obama Jr's second birthday and the day when Obama Sr wrapped his car around a tree in Kenya. Besides Obama Sr and the stepfather with whom he lived for less than three years, Obama's primary adult male role models were his grandfather (who Obama later wrote would "leave [him] alone so long as [he] kept [his] trouble out of sight"), and Frank Marshall Davis. Davis was a friend of Obama's grandfather and author of "Sex Rebel: Black (Memoirs of a Gash Gourmet)", a book in which Davis recounted his sexual exploits including the seduction of an unnamed white teenage daughter of a friend of his, who would have been the same age as Obama's mother.

Remarkably, all of this transpired without any negative effect on Obama's psyche whatsoever.

Lucien said...

Sometimes rules need to change, but as a simple prophylactic step to make sure a rule change is the result of mature and professional judgment, not inflamed by partisan fervor, the change should not become effective until after the next presidential election.

Simple solution, right? The Goldwater Rule has stood for decades, so there's no hurry now, is there?

Virgil Hilts said...

Susan, that was utterly brilliant.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3sOuEv0E2I

Char Char Binks said...

They're not scientists ,and they're not really doctors.

Unknown said...

Wait until a democrat is president again, then we shall see the Goldwater rule back in action

Achilles said...

Stalinism is the only theme the left has. Marx just wasn't enough.

Jim at said...

"Show us on the electoral map where the orange man hurt you."

That's spectacular.

Fred Drinkwater said...

"Aviation experts"
Having spent a lifetime with actual aviation experts, I can say they are generally very reluctant to speculate about the causes of accidents. It's always "after the NTSB report comes out we can discuss it."

DKWalser said...

It's also a matter of basic professional ethics. If a doctor doesn't have sufficient information to prescribe medication for someone, the doctor has no business opining about that person's health (mental or physical). That is, because a doctor's educated guess, based on press reports, is apt to be wrong, prescribing treatment on the basis of such information is dangerous. A doctor's educated guess of someone's fitness for office based solely on press reports is also apt to be wrong and it is unethical for a doctor to offer an opinion based on such (lack of) evidence.

Mountain Maven said...

Ghoulish to watch a profession beclown itself on the way to self-destruction.

Mountain Maven said...

"Normal" wasn't on the ballot. Our SOB vs. their DOB

Michael K said...

Th left was all over that anesthesiologist who said Hilary has Parkinson's last fall.

I think she probably does but I'm not a medical association that is supposed to know better,

At the CMA convention we would always get a few fools who wanted resolutions on saving the whales and such.

They were invariably lefties.

One year we had some female docs who wanted the CMA to come out in favor of the Sullivan thing where the ex-wife wanted half his lifetime earnings because she worked when he was in medical school.

I asked them if any were married and what they would think about a low income ex-husband doing the same thing to them.

They sat down and we heard no more nonsense about that.

JAORE said...

"...psychiatrist commenting on a public figure is simply making informed inferences based on the publicly available information, in much the same way an aviation expert might comment on a deadly plane crash..."

Do you think the plane could have vanished into a black hole?

[And, Susan, brava! Stealing this fo' sho'.]

Ralph L said...

Ghoulish to watch a profession beclown itself on the way to self-destruction.
The law ceased to be a profession when lawyers began advertising, but there's no shortage of lawyers, all of them thanks to Althouse.

It wouldn't hurt if psychiatrists went on TV and explained what the Left's misdiagnoses of Trump would mean in medical terms, as Dr. Drew Pinsky did last year.

Jupiter said...

"Singal's grasp of reality is way different from mine."

That's because he's cray-cray.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Well, I'm sure they will also say that adherents of religions which make women wear burkhas on blistering hot days must be abusive and crazy. Right?

damikesc said...

They should retire the Goldwater rule.

...then explain why anybody should pay for a session when all you need is to have them watch a few video clips of you.

William said...

Only 75% of psychiatrists are Democrats? Are the other 25% communists or anarchists?

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Boyd said...

President McMurphy and a boatload of deplorables treating themselves to an unauthorized dose of sunlight and fresh air. The shrinks don't like it, not one little bit.

Barry Dauphin said...

Making a diagnosis is an activity of health service practice, And one must be appropriately credentialed and regulated in order to diagnose. .When mental health professionals makes a diagnosis, they assume the risk of committing malpractice and holding themselves open to lawsuits. Why should this be any different?

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Singal's grasp of reality is way different from mine. 76% of psychiatrists are Democrats.

Your discomfort with science betrays you. It's their love of discovery, reason, humanity and empirical reality that makes them Democrats. If any among them with those qualities happen to cling to the discredited Republican ways (up to 24% of them, per the excerpt!), they'd still be allowed to voice their opinion. Some Republicans already do - George Will, for instance.

But I haven't noticed you giving him a voice. A lot of Republicans - esp. the sort of Republicans who run for office and need to win elections - are having problems with Trump's delusional self-centered lack of reality. Why do you write them off so easily? You seem either enthralled with Trump or in hock to this idea that because he's the president he embodies the entire party. You already write off the clear majority of the country who have no use for how disturbed they find him and even go so far as to call them all "deranged."

You should declare and explore your adoration for Trump if you're going to be this unobjective about him.

Jay Elink said...

"When mental health professionals makes a diagnosis, they assume the risk of committing malpractice and holding themselves open to lawsuits. Why should this be any different?"

Oh, I dunno....Times V. Sullivan, maybe?

If Trump wants a medical opinion, he would ask for one. It's no "service" at all for a bunch of people with an axe to grind to offer many different diagnoses, ALL of them curiously hostile.

And what about other public figures who come under psychological scrutiny by strangers? Under the Sullivan rule it is extremely difficult to sue and win, and their tormentors will know that.

Just what are the equities here? Why should every public person who runs afoul of the increasingly Stalinist left have to continually run a gauntlet of abuse?

rhhardin said...

Hitler never had tweets.

Michael K said...

they assume the risk of committing malpractice and holding themselves open to lawsuits. Why should this be any different?"

Th present leftist hysteria resembles the 1980s day care center frenzy which sent a bunch of innocent people to prison for years.

Same lack of evidence.

What stopped it was a lawsuit that held a psychiatrist and a hospital in Orange County liable for the "false memory syndrome" that was the basis of the case.

Insurance companies stopped writing malpractice insurance for "Recovered Memories Therapy" and it stopped like turning off a switch.

The year before the Clinical Psychology Society had been conducting seminars on how to treat "Recovered Memories."

Bay Area Guy said...

Psycho-Babble!

In New York, mentally-addled sophisticates pay hourly fees to talk to mentally-addled health professionals.

You could reverse the monetary payments and get the same health results!

One caveat - almost everybody has problems and its good to talk to a trusted confidant to deal with them.

But stay away from psychobabble.

Barry Dauphin said...

Times V. Sullivan,

Malice and malpractice are not the same thing. When health professionals make a diagnosis, they assume risk. There are forms of speech in which you can make negative statements about others that are protected as free speech but do not carry the "authority" or consequences of diagnosis. I'm saying that they are trying to use the authority of a profession while exempting themselves from the risk normally borne by the profession. They are wanting to make a diagnosis but retain free-speech rights. Diagnosis without the risk of malpractice. I think that's called wanting your cake and eating it too.

Michael K said...

Diagnosis without the risk of malpractice. I think that's called wanting your cake and eating it too.

In the 1980s, psychologists were being excluded from coverage by the new managed care plans.

They needed a gimmick.

"Recovered Memories" was the ticket to prosperity for psychologists who were having trouble getting paid.

The annual meeting was conducting workshops on how to do this.

"The Courage to Heal" was a big seller in the Dartmouth Bookstore. I got interested by reading a local horror story in New Hampshire,

Many of these girls were bulemia and the theory was that bulemia was a symptom of previous child molestation.

The guy in New Hampshire lost both his daughters and his wife.

There was a lot of literature at the time. The Gary Ramona lawsuit finally stopped it.

The last Amauralt did not get out of prison until 2004 and Martha Coakley tried to keep him there.

He was imprisoned 18 years for something that never happened.

It all reminds me of the Trump hysteria.


The Godfather said...

My father was a psychiatrist, and in 1964 he was no Goldwater enthusiast. But he was incensed by the psychiatrists who used (or misused) their professional credentials to oppose Goldwater by claiming that they could tell that he was mentally unstable. This was highly unprofessional. You can’t make any kind of valid psychiatric diagnosis of someone you have never examined. The American Psychiatric Association’s purpose in adopting what has been called the “Goldwater Rule” was not political; it was to protect the reputation of the psychiatric profession from this unprofessional behavior.

Now the psychoanalysts’ trade association is willing to risk its members’ professional reputations by encouraging psychoanalysts to misuse their credentials in the service of the Resistance against Trump. No sane person who isn’t already opposed to Trump will change his/her position as a result of what psychoanalysts say. All this will accomplish is to injure the reputation of that profession. I understand that the American Psychiatric Association is sticking with the Goldwater Rule, so please don’t blame the psychiatrists for what the psychoanalysts are doing.

And for God's Sake don't confuse psychiatrists (medical doctors) with psychologists!

Bob Boyd said...

"In 1970, women made up just over 20 percent of PhD recipients in psychology, according to the National Research Council. In 2005, the last year for which data are available, nearly 72 percent of new PhD and PsyDs entering psychology were women, according to APA's Center for Psychology Workforce Analysis and Research."

http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun07/changing.aspx

stlcdr said...


"[A] psychiatrist commenting on a public figure is simply making informed inferences based on the publicly available information, in much the same way an aviation expert might comment on a deadly plane crash without having direct access to the crash site or the details of the subsequent government investigation...."

Simply, no. These are not equivalent.

This demonstrates that they don't know what they are talking about and reinforces the more common notion that psychiatrists partake in junk science.

Bob Loblaw said...

They think they'll be able to discredit Trump, but really they'll help him through a sheer display of hubris, and in the process damage what little credibility they have to start with.

Danno said...

If I were Trump, I would not enforce mental health coverage (and maybe chemical dependency) as part of the ten essential benefits of Obamacare from this point. Mr. Obama only enforced the parts of the ACA that he liked.