Psychoanalysts should feel free to publicly debate Donald Trump’s mental health, a group representing them has said.
Mental health professionals diagnosing Trump from afar was a controversial part of the election campaign and his presidency.
In April, a group of psychiatrists called him “paranoid and delusional” and one even added: “We have an ethical responsibility to warn the public about Donald Trump’s dangerous mental illness.”
In 2015, Vanity Fair quoted psychiatrists diagnosing him with narcissistic personality disorder.
At one point, the American Psychiatric Association had to issue a warning to members to refrain from commenting on Trump’s mental health.
Now the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) has written to its members, saying its rules do not prohibit them speaking out.
In the email, APsaA said its interpretation of the so-called ‘Goldwater Rule’ was different to that of the American Psychiatric Association.
The Goldwater Rule states it is unethical for people to diagnose public figures they have not examined.
It was coined in reference to the Republican’s 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, whom psychiatrists accused of being mentally unfit for office.
“The American Psychiatric Association’s ethical stance on the Goldwater Rule applies to its members only,” APsaA’s email said.
“APsaA does not consider political commentary by its individual members an ethical matter. APsaA’s ethical code concerns clinical practice, not public commentary.”
APsaA later moved to clarify the email wasn’t “encouraging” its members to break the Goldwater Rule.
Spokesman Wylie Tene said: “It articulated a distinct ethics position that represents the viewpoint of psychoanalysts.
“The field of psychoanalysis addresses the full spectrum of human behaviour, and we feel that our concepts and understanding are applicable and valuable to understanding a wide range of human behaviours and cultural phenomenon.”