Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Psychoanalysis and Politics

Desperately seeking relevance, the American Psychoanalytic Association has relieved its members of the duty to follow what is called the Goldwater Rule.

The Rule, enacted by the American Psychiatric Association says that its members should not diagnose political figures they have never met. They should not offer professional opinions about politicians when all they know is what they read in the New York Times.

To be very clear, the Psychoanalytic Association is not a part of the Psychiatric Association. These are two separate organizations. The former is one tenth the size of the latter. Most psychoanalysts have traditionally been psychiatrists, and thus likely members of the Psychiatric Association, but that has changed, to the point that one suspects that the physicians are now approaching minority status. Since the Goldwater Rule was written by the Psychiatric Association, the opinion of the Psychoanalytic Association means precisely nothing... for psychiatrists.

As one ought to know now, the Psychoanalytic Association is a leftist indoctrination mill masquerading as a mental health provider. Its latest manifesto makes the point with utmost clarity.

In response, Ann Althouse says this:

Let them speak, and then the rest of us will speak about whether they are professionals deserving of deference or human beings like the rest of us who can't keep our political preferences from skewing whatever it is we might think about some pressing issue of the day.

Go ahead, expose yourselves. Let us see all narcissism, impulsivity, poor attention span, paranoia, and other traits that impair your ability to lead.

More interesting, for my purposes, are the comments on the Althouse blog. I will reprint some of them to give you a sense of the reputation that the mental health profession enjoys these days. I also quote them to show what blog comments are like: short and concise. 

Anyone who writes essay length comments on this blog will have their comments deleted. I have warned of this before. Certain people ignore the warnings. This is the last warning.

Anyway, the commenters have this to say:


The percentage of hacks, cranks and fools in the mental health "profession" is stunningly high. And many of them are in a position to make individual lives worse.

Michael K (a surgeon):

I personally know several who went into Psychiatry to deal with their own mental health problems. One guy was a former surgery resident who went full psychotic and started to be treated by the chief of Psychiatry at a university medial center. That chief of Psychiatry then accepted him into the residency which he finished. He was brilliant but as crazy as anyone I've ever seen.


Nothing says principled leadership like rewriting your own rules to allow unethical diagnoses!

Michael K:

Psychiatry and especially psychoanalysis, has disgraced itself in many ways since 1964.

We had a discussion at work last week about getting psych consults on problematic recruits. We agreed they are useless but another doc suggested they are useful for ass covering.

If the recruit goes postal (or Full Metal Jacket) in basic, we can say, "Well, we got a psych consult and they said he was OK."

What we are seeing in this country (and in these comments) is something similar to the day care center hysteria of the 80s.

Psychiatry disgraced itself in that hysteria, also.

Traditional guy:

The restraint was to protect the practitioners. The conundrum was the false Honorarium "Doctor" added to the titles used by priests of Freud's talk therapy for wives of rich men that the rich men wanted out of the picture without a divorce. It was always a con by seeking money from whomever pays them the most.


This should be the impetus for removing mental health treatment from the Obamacare coverage (essential benefits) mandate.


Suicide rate among psychiatrists five times that of the general populace. So what exactly did you have to say to me?

Francisco D:

Psychoanalysis is a cult with no empirical support. It always has been and will continue to be. Well trained psychologists and psychiatrists ignore them.

It continues to have some believers, but mostly among the whack jobs and the poorly educated. (Yes. Not all advanced degrees are created equally.)


The "profession" is full of mid level counsellors who have only undergraduate degrees (if that) and easy to obtain "certifications" that pass as acceptable qualifications with government agencies, courts, "clinics," and other organizations. There is no significant supervision once they get into the right (for them) sector of the mental health and counseling apparatus. They are highly influenced by their own prejudices, biases and personal experience. Yet courts and other institutions accept their analysis and opinion as nearly determinative in important cases. I have a well qualified and sensible friend who estimates that maybe 5-10% of the child therapists she encounters in her own practice know what they are doing. The rest are winging it, and being paid well to do so.
It is such a scandal that there has been a literature developing on the issue. But nobody does anything about it.


First, the issue of psychoanalysts changing their rules about "diagnosing" public figures shows the absurdity of psychoanalysis. Talk about pseudo-science, or as it's called these days "fake news". The scientific credibility of psychoanalysis is no better than CNN's. 

Important to say "psychoanalysis" is NOT the same as "psychiatry". AFAIK the rules for psychiatrists belonging to the American Psychiatric Assn have NOT changed. Diagnosing without clinical relationship is still UNETHICAL.

In any case, let's give the creepy psychoanalysts a "diagnosis" of "pandering leftist sycophants, narcissistic type". Sounds like a[n] accurate description to me.

Scientific socialist:

As an internist-and an off and on psychiatric outpatient-I have come to know many psychiatrists and lay psychotherapists well. With the exception of three practitioners, they are among the strangest and most socially awkward individuals that I've ever encountered. Several are genius-level brilliant but as crazy (to use a medically precise term) as their craziest patients. Generally speaking, I wouldn't regard their armchair psychoanalysis of the POTUS to be any more credible than that of the plumber who did work in my house last week.

Those few comments give you a sense of the current reputation of psychoanalysis and other mental health professions.


Leo G said...

Hey Stuart, you probably have seen this already, but if not -

Pertinent doublespeak -

"Our leadership did not encourage members to defy the 'Goldwater Rule.' ... Rather, it articulated a distinct ethics position that represents the viewpoint of psychoanalysts. The field of psychoanalysis addresses the full spectrum of human behavior, and we feel that our concepts and understanding are applicable and valuable to understanding a wide range of human behaviors and cultural phenomenon."

Sam L. said...

Psychoanalysis is leftist now? Or has been for some years?

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Always has been. See Eli Zaretsky... Secrets of the Soul.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

What are the secrets of the soul, according to Zaretsky?

Ares Olympus said...

I'm not sure what a policy should be. Of course we know name-calling (or diagnosis-giving) can often say more about the giver as receiver, so beware what you call others, especially given what we know about psychological projection.

It all does make me curious what sort of person can look at Donald Trump and not see someone they don't want in a position of power.

I suppose the thing for me is, a president is powerful, but not absolutely, due to checks and balances, but a billionaire is something different. A billionaire can buy people. A billionaire can buy their own justice. A billionaire can cause a lot of mischief in the world.

So if we have a 25th Amendment, section 4 for president, perhaps we also need an amendment that can put limits on billionaires.

OTOH, I guess that's what happens in Putin's Russia. Being a billionaire is no protection against having your assets seized and sold at auction, and put into prison for years.

So along with checks and balances, I guess we still have to allow Billionaires absolute power to try to corrupt the system to the maximum of their ability.

Billionaire Tom Perkins wants "one dollar tax paid, one vote", just like corporate shareholders. Surely psychologists would agree that is the fairest way for a democracy to work. Is there a psychological diagnosis for unlimited greed?

James said...

Once so called professional organizations (right or left) leave their so called neutrality, it's over for them. They become like the Foreign born ISIS now in Syria re: the German ISIS girl "I just want to go home". You can't go home again and they are shocked to find that out.
For two or three generations people have been told by the Left that there are no consequences for contrarian behavior regardless of type and place of said behavior and there wasn't, until now. They are shocked to find out there is and really shocked to find themselves abandoned by the very people who said this.

James said...

Leo G
I get where you're going. I just had a good laugh at something in your "doublespeak" quote. "Cultural Phenomenon" is one of those words that association's like this tend to throw around to impress people. Until of course that "phenomenon" arrives at your house, breaks down your door, drags you outside and hangs you from the lamppost. Fortunately by their training they will have enough understanding of this phenomenon to condemn it in the strongest terms prior to joining the avian realm.

Sam L. said...

Ares wrote, "It all does make me curious what sort of person can look at Donald Trump and not see someone they don't want in a position of power." Normal people who are not leftists, Ares. I guess you don't associate with any of The Deplorables.

Ares Olympus said...

Sam L: Normal people who are not leftists, Ares.

Obviously this is untrue. Conservatives were denouncing Trump all over during the primary.

And the White House now looks like its own civil war.
Scaramucci also told me that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”

Maybe Vince McMahon can offer to let the White House Staff can settle this fight in a tag team WrestleMania 34?