There have been lots of articles and blog posts in recent weeks criticizing Donald Trump. (I even wrote one of them.) Sometimes these articles ask psychologists or other mental health professionals to diagnose Trump. Narcissistic Personality Disorder seems to be the common response. But I won’t give Trump a diagnosis. Here’s why:
- It’s unethical. Our ethical guidelines say that it’s unethical to comment on an individual’s mental state without examining the person and also getting the person’s consent to share the information. A diagnosis is a very personal thing, and it’s something that should be based on data such as psychological tests and a clinical interview, not just on someone’s opinion from watching The Apprentice or an interview on television.
- A psychological diagnosis should not be used as an insult. Each year, about 42 million Americans (about 18% of the total adult population in the United States) struggle with some form of mental illness. Many of these disorders are debilitating conditions that cause lots of problems in one’s life, relationships, and work. It’s a serious issue in our society. One of the biggest barriers to people getting help for their psychological problems is stigma. We’ve come a long way, but many people are embarrassed to admit they need help. It doesn’t help the situation when we use the presence of a mental illness or psychological condition to insult individuals in the media.
If you don’t like Donald Trump, that’s fine. Just say you don’t like him. You don’t need to throw around an uninformed diagnosis as an insult.
Discussion: What do you think about people giving Donald Trump a psychological diagnosis in the media? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?