A Letter to Congress from Concerned Mental Health Experts

December 11, 2017

Dear Congress Member:

Since the election of 2016, an increasing number of mental health professionals have come forth to warn against President Trump’s psychological instability and its implications for national and international security. Recently, the signs of his instability have grown markedly worse: a return to conspiracy theories, more frequent tweets, and an attraction to violent imagery. We would like to discuss these concerns further with you, at the contacts below.

Seven months ago, a group of us put our concerns into a book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. Since release, it has become an instant bestseller with the public. Macmillan, a top publisher, could not keep up with the demand for weeks.

Much of what we warned about in the book has come true. Our ultimate concern is happening now. The developments with the special counsel’s investigations are not just a matter of criminal indictment but of critical concern with respect to the president’s mental stability. He has shown marked signs of impairment and psychological disability under ordinary circumstances, unable to cope with the slightest criticism or unpleasant news. With additional stressors, his condition will assuredly grow worse. We fear that this difference will bring us over the brink into disaster, where even ultimate destruction will be possible.

As mental health professionals, some of us with an expertise on violence, we deal with the risk of harm as a routine part of our practice. When someone exhibits signs of danger to oneself, others, or the general public, it is considered an emergency. All 50 states confer to us the legal authority, sometimes obligation, to act. When someone poses a threat, our response is as follows: (a) containment; (b) removal from access to weapons; and (c) an urgent evaluation. As health professionals, we cannot choose not to treat in an emergency, regardless of whether the person is our patient or has offered consent.

Mr. Trump has far exceeded our usual threshold for an urgent evaluation for signs of danger. Just a few of these signs would be: verbal threats of violence, a history of sexual assault, incitement of violence, an attraction to violence and powerful weapons (the more powerful the weapons, the greater the temptation to use them), and the taunting of hostile nations with nuclear power. Traits that are highly associated with danger include: impulsivity, recklessness, paranoia, loss of touch with reality, a lack of empathy, rage reactions, and a constant need to demonstrate power. These traits make one incapable of thinking rationally, and the usual inhibitions, such as a nuclear holocaust or even the annihilation of humankind, will not likely deter someone who is preoccupied by internal needs.

We are concerned enough to be ready to present to your office, at the soonest occasion possible, to explain our observations in person. While mental health experts who contributed to the book number at 27, there are thousands of us with the same medical consensus—and we are ready to communicate our case to you, should you choose to hear us.

Our contacts are: (917) 328-2492; bandy.lee@yale.edu; and dangerouscase.org.

Sincerely,

Bandy X. Lee, M.D., M.Div.
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
Judith L. Herman, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Craig Malkin, Ph.D.
Lecturer of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Lance Dodes, M.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry (retired), Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Michael J. Tansey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor (retired), Northwestern Medical School, Chicago, IL
Leonard L. Glass, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Henry J. Friedman, M.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
James Gilligan, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY
Diane Jhueck, M.A., L.M.H.C.
Designated Crisis Responder, Island County, WA
Howard H. Covitz, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.
(Former) Director, Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies, Philadelphia, PA
Betty P. Teng, L.M.S.W.
Psychotherapist, Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, New York, NY
Jennifer C. Panning, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, Evanston, IL
Harper West, M.A., L.L.P.
Licensed Psychotherapist, Clarkston, MI
Luba Kessler, M.D.
(Former) Faculty, Institute for Psychoanalytic Education (New York University), New York, NY
Steve Wruble, M.D.
Private Practitioner of Psychiatry, New York, NY, and Ridgewood, NJ
Elizabeth Mika, M.A., L.C.P.C.
Psychotherapist, Chicago, IL
Edwin B. Fisher, Ph.D.
Professor of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health,
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Nanette Gartrell, M.D.
(Former) Associate Professor of Psychiatry,
University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA
Dee Mosbacher, M.D., Ph.D.
(Former) Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry,
University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA
Frederick M. Burkle Jr., M.D., M.P.H., D.T.M.
Psychiatrist, Pediatrician, and Professor of Emergency Medicine (retired),
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Additional Signatures
Scott Banford, M.S.W., LCSW
Fort Lee, NJ
Susan G. Bednar, M.S.W.,LCSW
Monticello, IL
Brenda Berger, Ph.D.
New York, NY
Cherylynne Berger,
M.S.W., LCSW
Pasadena, CA

Susan Edelman Blank,
M.S., LPC, NCC
Atlanta, GA
Paula Bloom, Psy.D.
Atlanta, GA
Suzanne Burger, Psy.D.
Pound Ridge, NY

 

Kimberly Corbett, Psy.D.,
LMFT, SAP
San Diego, CA
Tammy Dale, M.A.
Lee’s Summit, MO
E.D., MSW, LCSW
Portland, OR
Jennifer Farris-Young,
LMHC
Largo, FL
Ellen V. Garbuny, LSW
Butler, PA
Patricia Geller, Ed.D.
Lexington, MA
Carolyn Jankowski, M.A.,
CDMS, LPC
Laurel, MD
Maureen S. Kapatkin, M.S.,
NP
FL and GA
Gabriella Janet King, M.S.
Laurel, MD
Emily Krestow, Ph.D.
LMHC
Hollywood, FL
Barbara Lavi, Psy.D.
Weston, CT and MA
Avigail Lev, Psy.D.
CA
Sarah Church Liebman,
M.S.
Oakland, CA
Lynn Groff Loomis, M.Ed.
Harrisburg, PA
Diane K. Mahoney, Ph.D.
Marstons Mills, MA
Robert McDonald, Ph.D.
Fairview, NC
Raechel McGee, MSW
Somerset, MA
Julia McLaughlin, M.A.,
LPC
Columbus, OH
Melissa Mendenhall,
M.S.W., LISW
Cedar Falls, IA
Cheri Parmely, Ed.D.
Newton, MA
Michelle Pawkett, M.A.,
LMHC
Buffalo, NY
Sandra Petrakis-Childs,
L.C.S.W., LMFT
Atlanta, GA
Emily Polak, Ph.D., LCSW
IL and Crown Point, IN
Randye Semple, Ph.D.
Los Angeles, CA, and New
York, NY
Gail Sheehy, Ph.D.
New York, NY
Claire Silverman, Ph.D.
New York, NY
Andrew Spitznas, M.D.
Johnson City, TN
Sunda Friedman
TeBockhorst, Ph.D.
Boulder, CO
Margaret Thompson,
M.S.W., LCSW
Salt Lake City, UT
Barbara M. Turk, Psy.D.,
LPC, NCC
Harrisburg, PA
Karin Wandrei, Ph.D.
LCSW
Rohnert Park, CA
Harper West, M.A., LLP
Rochester Hills, MI
Elizabeth Zoob, LICSW
Cambridge, MA
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11 thoughts on “A Letter to Congress from Concerned Mental Health Experts

  1. his condition will assuredly grow worse … bring us over the brink into disaster, where even ultimate destruction will be possible.

    It’s simply not right that such words should ever be written concerning the President of the US. He will take everyone down, but first, what’s a few hundred thousand dead Koreans? Means nothing to him but a good distraction.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, that’s an impressive list. Any normal person would be petrified to see such a list stacked up against their mental faculties. That Mr. Trump is still at the helm raises questions about the mental stability of the rest of Congress.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Was listening to the BBC World Service in the small hours when, during a discussion on the seriousness of climate change, they relayed Trump’s latest tweet on the subject. So crass. So manipulative. So dangerous. And then this morning I hear how the US economy is booming. It’s as if everyone has gone to live in Never Never Land.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Excellent post! Too bad I seriously doubt Congress will take it seriously, well, those who hold power currently in Congress won’t. This is a problem as big as Trump’s mental condition: idiots who are so blinded by the power he brings to their agenda that they do not care he’s insane. My own psychological issues have gotten far worse since Trump’s come into power. I truly hope we can reverse this trend in 2018 with the mid-term elections. Don’t know how much more I, or the world, can take of this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I try not to be cynical but it is hard to feel so impotent as I see the Presidency of the USA manipulating this society for his own and other rich men’s profit. Will this destroy the country? I don’t know , but I never thought I would see this type of criminal activity condoned by the government. Where are all the moral men in our leadership? We are normalizing dysfunctional behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent! Good that some psychiatrists and psychologists are actually getting some backbone. If America follows the template of national degeneration painted in ‘Political Ponerology’ then this period might be one of the last chances – before a ‘state of emergency’ or similar – to point out psychological reality. After that it’ll be too late and it’ll be ‘bye bye, psychiatrists and psychologists’, since those who can point out the pathology of a ‘pathocracy’ (rule by pathological people) must be silenced, as happens in every totalitarian state (where psychopaths rapidly end up in power).

    Like

  7. I made an app for Android in the Google Play Store called Can You Spot a Psychopath. It will be a fast and easy way to teach the symptoms of psychopathy.

    Will you please accept my invitation to the alpha testing phase? I used Google Translate for 6 languages: Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Portuguese, and Russian, and if you could help with tweaking or providing more languages, then I thank you very much!

    https://play.google.com/apps/testing/org.domesticenemies.canyouspotapsychopath

    Like

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