A reflection of the Trump Effect and its love affair with White supremacy Source: Annie Spratt/Unsplash Like the intensity of 9/11 and the Virginia Tech shooting, today marks an event likely to be vivid enough to be seared in my mind for a lifetime. With the storming of the U.S. Capitol today by Trump-supporting White terrorists, we witness the culmination of more than four years of the “ Trump Effect ”: The shift in our American norms to permit the expression of prejudiced rhetoric, and, ultimately, discriminatory violence. Much has been written about the psychology of Trump, from concerns about narcissism to professional mental health providers arguing he is unfit to serve as president . I have contributed to this compilation, writing in April 2020 predicting events such as those of today : “Return to Trump’s authoritarian aggression . He pridefully punches back. Always. And a contingent of his supporters can do the same when they feel threatened, resentful, or … [Read more...] about Invoke the 25th Amendment Now
On October 4, 2020, President Donald Trump left his hospital bed at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington and entered an SUV driven by Secret Service agents. Wearing a mask and waving to supporters, he did what some called a "drive-by." Many were outraged at what they saw as Trump's disregard for others' safety. Was he, in fact, impaired? Michele Dauber, a law professor at Stanford, recently wrote about Trump’s ride—and her own experience on the drug dexamethasone, which Trump was reportedly given at Walter Reed. "We are lucky," she tweeted, "if he doesn't start a war. He's incapacitated." Is it time, wrote David Frum in The Atlantic , to invoke the 25th Amendment? For years, psychiatrists have been grappling with their proper role in presidential disability. Some, like Bandy Lee of Yale University, argue that a psychiatric disability already exists in Trump and see their duty as warning the country about the danger. Others, like Jeffrey Lieberman of Columbia … [Read more...] about Donald Trump and the 25th Amendment: Time to Invoke It?
The Pyramid of Perspectives Source: Roni Beth Tower A long time ago, a graphic offered by Steven Rose in his 1976 book, The Conscious Brain , inspired one of my professors to suggest that Rose’s pyramid for explaining consciousness (page 30) could be modified to label the perspectives from which we describe our personal experiences. Ever since, I have pondered this schema, asked myself what language I or someone else is using to reflect upon their own reactions to internal or external happenings, and modified his visual to fit the data I saw in my clinical office and research literature. My diagram above shows that we can talk about — or study — the same human phenomenon using at least seven different languages, giving rise to at least seven separate perspectives. I illustrated the value of this approach in Benefits of Sex After 50 and reflected on its utility in a follow-up, Yes, Older Adults Do Enjoy Sex . I revisited the model most recently in Six Ways the … [Read more...] about The Pyramid of Perspectives
Source: Clker-Free-Vector-Images / Pixabay Is anyone else just emotionally exhausted from dealing with mass shootings in our nation? What happened yesterday, when a young man killed 17 at a high school in Parkland, Florida, is starting to seem like a typical news story. To my mind, it is unbelievable how normative this kind of incident is becoming. In a tweet speaking to this horror, Donald Trump said this: “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!” So the president seems to be primarily placing blame on the fact that the killer was “mentally disturbed.” The president does not mention gun control or much else in his preliminary statement on this incident. As a professional behavioral scientist, I am disappointed by such a simple characterization of such a significant … [Read more...] about Mental Health and School Shootings
Source: Adobe photostock, licensed by Ravi Chandra "Violence strips naked the body of a society, the better to place the stethoscope and hear the life beneath the skin.” – Leslie Manigat, former president of Haiti These are deeply disturbing times, times that call for diagnoses and remedies. There has been more than one mass shooting per day in the United States so far in 2019. But almost 40,000 people in the U.S. died from gun violence in 2017 , 1,000 more than 2016. While the murder rate has fallen overall, the percentage of homicides by gun has increased . 60% of gun deaths in 2017 were victims of suicide . Suicide has increased 30% since 1999 , and an increasingly larger percentage of suicides are committed by guns; in 2017, almost half. 70% of suicide victims are white men, and the highest rate of suicide occurs in middle-aged white men. Men commit suicide at over 3.5 times the rate of women because more of them attempt suicide with lethal means, such as … [Read more...] about Compassion for America in a Time of Violence