Not much is actually known regarding presidents in therapy, probably in large part because of general mental health stigma that’s multiplied disproportionately by the unfair and unrealistic expectations both the public and the pols have of those elected to the highest offices. So, have any presidents gone to therapy?
One instance that’s been widely enough reported and believed is that President Richard Nixon (1913-1994), to whom Donald Trump has regularly been compared, did receive psychiatric treatment both inside and outside of the office. (See previous post.)
Meanwhile, there’s been much debate about our current president’s mental state and whether it’s fair to try to diagnose him using the DSM-V. A recent Facebook petition circulated by psychologist John Gartner declaring Trump to have at least three different personality disorders (narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and paranoid personality disorder) that potentially render him dangerous has, at this writing, over 20,000 signatures from various mental health professionals.
On the other side of the debate are such upholders of the don’t-diagnose-from-afar Goldwater Rule as psychologist Steven Berglas and psychiatrist Allen Frances, who have a whole different take on the subject (Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today). States Frances, for example: “Donald Trump is evil—bad not mad—and incompetent.” This is what, according to Frances, makes him “a threat to democracy.”
‘I wrote the criteria for personality disorders,’ says Frances, professor emeritus at Duke. The public diagnoses being bandied about are inaccurate and ‘miss the point,’ he argues. They ignore the criterion that symptoms must be causing distress and impairment. ‘Donald Trump causes distress to others, not to himself. He is rewarded for his behaviors.’
Do we know for sure if Donald Trump has never been diagnosed or in therapy? Of course not. He’s not nearly that transparent. Maybe he’s in therapy as we speak. At least someone at Someecards has imagined so.
Following are three installments of their comics about Trump Therapy. Click on the links and enjoy these brief sessions with his shrink!