The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President (Hardcover)
The New York Times bestseller! More than two dozen psychiatrists and psychologists offer their consensus view that Trump's mental state presents a clear and present danger to our nation and individual well-being.
This is not normal.
Since the start of Donald Trump’s presidential run, one question has quietly but urgently permeated the observations of concerned citizens: What is wrong with him? Constrained by the American Psychiatric Association’s “Goldwater rule,” which inhibits mental health professionals from diagnosing public figures they have not personally examined, many of those qualified to answer this question have shied away from discussing the issue at all. The public has thus been left to wonder whether he is mad, bad, or both.
In THE DANGEROUS CASE OF DONALD TRUMP, twenty-seven psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health experts argue that, in Mr. Trump’s case, their moral and civic “duty to warn” America supersedes professional neutrality. They then explore Trump’s symptoms and potentially relevant diagnoses to find a complex, if also dangerously mad, man.
Philip Zimbardo and Rosemary Sword, for instance, explain Trump’s impulsivity in terms of “unbridled and extreme present hedonism.” Craig Malkin writes on pathological narcissism and politics as a lethal mix. Gail Sheehy, on a lack of trust that exceeds paranoia. Lance Dodes, on sociopathy. Robert Jay Lifton, on the “malignant normality” that can set in everyday life if psychiatrists do not speak up.
His madness is catching, too. From the trauma people have experienced under the Trump administration to the cult-like characteristics of his followers, he has created unprecedented mental health consequences across our nation and beyond.
It’s not all in our heads. It’s in his.
"There will not be a book published this fall more urgent, important, or controversial than The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump...profound, illuminating and discomforting" —Bill Moyers
Robert Jay Lifton, M.D., is Lecturer in Psychiatry at Columbia University and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of John Jay College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. A leading psychohistorian, his renown comes from his studies of the doctors who aided Nazi war crimes and from his work with Hiroshima survivors. He was an outspoken critic of the American Psychological Association’s aiding of government-sanctioned torture, as he is a vocal opponent of nuclear weapons. His research encompasses the psychological causes and effects of war and political violence and the theory of thought reform.
Gail Sheehy, Ph.D., as author, journalist, and popular lecturer, has changed the way millions of women and men around the world look at their life stages. In her 50-year career, she has written 17 books, including her revolutionary Passages, named one of the ten most influential books of our times. As a literary journalist, she was one of the original contributors to New York Magazine and to Vanity Fair since 1984. A winner of many awards, three honorary doctorates, a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 by Books for a Better Life, she has regularly commented on political figures, including in her acclaimed biography of Hillary Clinton.
William J. Doherty, Ph.D., is a Professor of Family Social Science and Director of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project and the Citizen Professional Center at the University of Minnesota. In May 2016, he authored the Citizen Therapist Manifesto Against Trumpism, which was signed by over 3,800 therapists. After the election, he founded Citizen Therapists for Democracy. He is a Senior Fellow with Better Angels, an organization devoted to depolarizing America at the grass roots level. He helped pioneer the area of medical family therapy, and in 2017 received the American Family Therapy Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Noam Chomsky is the author of numerous bestselling political works, including Hegemony or Survival and Failed States. A laureate professor at the University of Arizona and professor emeritus of linguistics and philosophy at MIT, he is widely credited with having revolutionized modern linguistics. He lives in Tuscon, Arizona.
Judith Lewis Herman, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University. She is a renowned Traumatic Stress Studies expert and author of the now classic Trauma and Recovery, which helped establish the diagnostic category of post-traumatic stress disorder. She is also Co-Founder and Former Director of Training of the Cambridge Health Alliance Victims of Violence Program, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Medical Women’s Association Award and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Lifetime Achievement Award. She authored a letter to President Obama requesting a neuropsychiatric evaluation of the then-President-elect Mr. Trump.
Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, is a scholar, educator and researcher. Zimbardo is perhaps best known for his landmark Stanford prison study.
Among his more than 500 publications are the bestseller The Lucifer Effect, and such notable psychology textbooks as Psychology: Core Concepts and Psychology and Life.
He is founder and president of The Heroic Imagination Project, a worldwide nonprofit teaching people of all ages how to take wise and effective action in challenging situations. He also continues to research the effects of time perspectives and time perspective therapy.
Rosemary Sword is codeveloper of Time Perspective Therapy and coauthor of The Time Cure (in English, German, Polish, Chinese, and Russian), The Time Cure Therapist Guidebook, Wiley, 2013; Time Perspective Therapy: Transforming Zimbardo’s Temporal Theory into Clinical Practice, Springer, 2015; Living and Loving Better, McFarland, November 2017; and Time Perspective Therapy: An Evolutionary Therapy for PTSD, McFarland.
Craig Malkin, Ph.D., is author of the internationally acclaimed Rethinking Narcissism, a clinical psychologist, and Lecturer for Harvard Medical School with 25 years of experience helping individuals, couples, and families. His insights on relationships and narcissism have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as Time, The New York Times, The Sunday Times, Psychology Today, Women’s Health, Huffington Post, and Happen Magazine. He’s also been featured multiple times on NPR, CBS Radio, and the Oprah Winfrey Network channel, among other stations and shows internationally. Dr. Malkin is President and Director of the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based YM Psychotherapy and Consultation, Inc., which provides psychotherapy and couples workshops.
Tony Schwartz is the author of several books, including The Art of the Deal, which he co-authored with Mr. Trump. He also wrote “The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time” (with Jim Loehr) and “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working,” a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He is also CEO and founder of The Energy Project, a consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations solve intractable problems and add more value in the world by widening their world view.
Lance Dodes, M.D., is a Training and Supervising Analyst Emeritus at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and retired Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of many academic articles and book chapters describing a new understanding of the nature and treatment of addiction, and the books: The Heart of Addiction; Breaking Addiction; and The Sober Truth. He has been honored by the Division on Addictions at Harvard Medical School for “Distinguished Contribution” to the study and treatment of addictive behavior, and been elected a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.
John D. Gartner, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist. He taught in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University Medical School for 28 years. He is the author of In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography and The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (a Little) Craziness and (a Lot of) Success in America. He practices in Baltimore and New York.
Michael J. Tansey, Ph.D., is a Chicago-based clinical psychologist, author, and teacher. He is a graduate of Harvard University (A.B., '72, Personality Theory) and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (Ph.D., '78, Clinical Psychology).
In addition to his full-time practice, he was an Assistant Professor teaching and supervising students, interns, residents, and post-doctoral fellows. He has been in private practice for over 35 years with adults, adolescents, and couples.
The co-author of Understanding Countertransference, a book on empathy and the therapeutic process, he has written numerous professional journal articles as well as blog posts on The Huffington Post.
David M. Reiss, M.D., attended Northwestern University (Chemical/Biomedical Engineering; Medical School) and has maintained a private psychiatric practice in California since 1982. Dr. Reiss has evaluated/treated over 12,000 persons; has served as Interim Medical Director of Providence Hospital (MA), and has recently been associated with the Brattleboro Retreat (VT). Dr. Reiss is a California Qualified Medical Examiner and a member of professional organizations including the Society for Exploration of Psychotherapeutic Integration, Sports Lawyers Association and International Psychohistory Association. Dr. Reiss has appeared in all media formats addressing clinical issues and psychological aspects of social and political phenomena.
James A. Herb, M.A., Esq., has practiced law in Florida for 40 years. He is a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit court mediator, and a certificated arbitrator. He is a professional member of the National College of Probate Judges. He is author of four chapters in Florida law practice books and has chaired or spoken at more than 50 legal seminars.
Leonard L. Glass, M.D., M.P.H. is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in Newton, MA. He is Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Part-time) at Harvard Medical School and a Senior Attending Psychiatrist at McLean Hospital. Dr. Glass was President of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and was a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association until he resigned in protest of the Goldwater Rule in April 2017. He has written professionally about the psychology of men, psychiatric casualties of large groups, and boundary issues in psychotherapy. He has also authored popular articles about spectator violence at sporting events and road rage.
Henry J. Friedman, M.D., is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Part-time, on the Editorial Boards of Psychoanalytic Quarterly, American Journal of Psychoanalysis, and the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, with main interests in the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis and analytic psychotherapy. Friedman is also Chair of the “Meet the Author” at the Biannual Meetings of the American Psychoanalytic Association.
James Gilligan, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Adjunct Professor of Law, and Collegiate Professor of Arts and Sciences at New York University. He is a renowned Violence Studies expert and author of the influential Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and Its Causes, as well as Preventing Violence and Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous than Others. He has served as Director of Bridgewater State Hospital, Director of Mental Health for the Massachusetts prison system, President of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy, and as a consultant to President Clinton, Tony Blair, Kofi Annan, the World Court, the World Health Organization, and the World Economic Forum.
Diane Jhueck, L.M.H.C., D.M.H.P., has operated a private therapy practice for several decades. In addition, she performs mental health evaluations and detentions on individuals presenting as a danger to self or others. In a previous social justice career, she was a women’s specialist at the United Nations, in New York. She founded The Women’s and Children’s Free Restaurant, an empowerment project that has been in operation for 30 years. She founded the People’s AIDS Project and was an Assistant Regional Manager for Feeding America. She directed agencies addressing food aid, domestic violence, anti-apartheid, low income housing, and LGBTQ rights.
Howard H. Covitz, PhD, ABPP has combined the practice of psychoanalysis in the suburbs of Philadelphia with a variety of other interests. He has taught university-level Mathematics, Psychology, and Biblical Characterology (1968-2011), was Training Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Studies Institute and Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies, and its Director (1986-1998). He also ran a school for disturbed inner city adolescents in the 1970’s. His Oedipal Paradigms in Collision (1998, reissued in 2016) was nominated for Gradiva Book of the Year Award. His connectedness to wife, grown children, and grandchildren motivate his writing and thinking.
Betty P. Teng, M.F.A., L.M.S.W., is a trauma therapist in the Office of Victims Services of a major hospital in lower Manhattan. A graduate of Yale College, UCLA's graduate School of Theater, Film, and Television and NYU’s Silver School of Social Work, Ms. Teng is in psychoanalytic training and practices at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy.
She is also an award-winning screenwriter and editor whose credits include films by Ang Lee, Robert Altman, and Mike Nichols.
Jennifer Contarino Panning, Psy.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Owner of Mindful Psychology Associates, a small group practice in Evanston IL. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2003, and completed trainings at Northern Illinois University and Northwestern University. Panning opened her private practice in 2004, and now has three psychologists and a postdoctoral fellow on staff. She specializes in the treatment of mood disorders, eating disorders, college student mental health, stress and trauma utilizing an integrative approach of CBT, mindfulness, and DBT, and is also trained in clinical hypnosis.
Harper West, M.A., L.L.P., is a licensed psychotherapist in Clarkston, MI. She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism and worked in corporate communications, later earning a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Michigan School of Professional Psychology.
Ms. West is the developer of Self-Acceptance Psychology, which challenges the biological model of mental disorders and offers a new paradigm that reframes emotional problems as adaptive responses to fear, trauma, shame, and lack of secure attachment. Her self-help book Pack Leader Psychology won an IBPA Ben Franklin Award for Psychology.
Luba Kessler, M.D., is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice. Born in the post-Holocaust displacement in the Ural mountains, she has lived and received her education in the Soviet Union, Poland, Italy, and the U.S. The journey included essential lessons in history, geography, culture, art, and politics. Post-graduate training and faculty appointments followed in psychiatry at Hillside Hospital on Long Island and psychoanalysis at NYU Psychoanalytic Institute (now Institute for Psychoanalytic Education affiliated with NYU Medical School). She is Editor of Issues in Education for The American Psychoanalyst of the American Psychoanalytic Association.
Steve Wruble, M.D., is an accomplished singer-songwriter and storyteller. He won The Moth StorySLAM and uses a pseudonym to protect his privacy. Dr. Wruble is also a Board-certified child and adult psychiatrist in private practice in Manhattan and Ridgewood, NJ, at the Venn Center. He specializes in anxiety disorders, trauma, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders. He attended medical school in his hometown of Memphis, TN, and did his general psychiatry residency at Northwestern University. He then did his child psychiatry fellowship at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was Chief Fellow.
Thomas Singer, M.D., is a psychiatrist and Jungian psychoanalyst practicing in San Francisco. In addition to private practice, he serves on Social Security’s Hearing and Appeals Mental Impairment Disability team. His interests include studying the relationship between myth, politics, and psyche in The Vision Thing and Ancient Greece, Modern Psyche Series. He is the editor of a series of books exploring cultural complexes that includes Placing Psyche, Listening to Latin America, Europe’s Many Souls, The Cultural Complex, and a book in preparation on Asia. He is current President of National ARAS, an archive of symbolic imagery that has created The Book of Symbols.
Elizabeth Mika, M.A., LCPC, of Gifted Resources in Northern Illinois (in the Chicago area) received her degree in clinical psychology from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. She specializes in assessment and counseling of gifted children and adults. Her professional interests include creativity and mental health, learning differences and learning styles, multiple exceptionalities, and emotional and moral development of the gifted and not only.
Edwin B. Fisher, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and Professor in the Department of Health Behavior in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a past-president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and editor of Principles and Concepts of Behavioral Medicine: A Global Handbook (Springer, 2017). In addition to community and peer support in health and health care, asthma, cancer, diabetes, smoking cessation, and weight management, he has written on concepts of psychopathology including depression and schizophrenia and on the relationships among mental illness and physical disease.
Nanette Gartrell, MD., is a psychiatrist, researcher, and writer who was formerly on the faculties of Harvard Medical School and University of California, San Francisco. Her 47 years of scientific investigations have focused primarily on sexual minority parent families. In the 1980s and ’90s, Dr. Gartrell was the principal investigator of groundbreaking investigations into sexual misconduct by physicians that led to a clean-up of professional ethics codes and the criminalization of boundary violations. The Nanette K. Gartrell Papers are archived at the Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College.
Dee Mosbacher, M.D., Ph.D., is a psychiatrist and Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker who was formerly on the faculty of University of California, San Francisco. As a public-sector psychiatrist, Dr. Mosbacher specialized in the treatment of patients with severe mental illness. She served as San Mateo County’s Medical Director for Mental Health and Senior Psychiatrist at San Francisco’s Progress Foundation. The Diane (Dee) Mosbacher and Woman Vision Papers are archived at the Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College. Dr. Mosbacher’s films are also contained within the Smithsonian National Museum of American History collection.
"This is an historic work in the history of American psychiatry. We have never been in this place before." —Lawrence O'Donnell
"There will not be a book published this fall more urgent, important, or controversial than The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump...profound, illuminating and discomforting" —Bill Moyers
"The stand these psychiatrists are taking takes courage, and their conclusions are compelling." —The Washington Post
“When I first heard about the conference that gave rise to this book at Yale, I was worried that a manifesto would come out with a diagnosis…. That is not what happened: what happened is a very thoughtful assessment based on lots of public data, which gives us a very clear way of thinking about the terrific vulnerabilities of our current president that elicits a duty to warn.” - Samuel Barondes, Professor Emeritus and Former Chair of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco
“This insightful collection … is a valuable primary source documenting the critical turning point when American psychiatry reassessed the ethics of restraining commentary on the mental health of public officials in light of the ‘duty to warn’ of imminent danger.” - Estelle Freedman, the Robinson Professor in U.S. History at Stanford University