News & Politics

Trump Derangement Syndrome: The Mental Health Edition

This is literally and figuratively crazy.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that some mental health professionals are complaining about clients who are suffering from various physical maladies as a result of their paranoia over Donald Trump’s presidency. They are saying that there hasn’t been this much anxiety in their patients since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“This is so monumental because we are not in normal anymore,” said Randi Gottlieb, a therapist who heads the L.A. chapter of the California Assn. of Marriage and Family Therapists. “It’s putting into flux and questioning how do we practice, what is the best way to support the people we care for. We’re beginning those conversations — we don’t really have good answers.”

Therapists say the last time so many people came to therapy wanting to talk about the same thing was after the Sept. 11 attacks. Trump has been a topic of discussion for months, even for people who see therapists for issues as seemingly unrelated as relationship troubles or eating disorders.

“I had a 10-year-old in my office who was talking about it,” said Paul Puri, a psychiatrist in Brentwood.

Over the summer, William Doherty, a professor at the University of Minnesota and a therapist in St. Paul, published a manifesto online declaring Trump a unique threat to America’s mental health. More than 3,800 therapists signed it.

Doherty wrote that Trump’s campaign was creating widespread alienation and fear among Americans. Trump was normalizing behavior that therapists fight to reverse, including “the tendency to blame others in our lives for our personal fears and insecurities,” he said, and “a kind of hyper-masculinity that is antithetical to the examined life and healthy relationships.”

These issues haven’t gone away now that Trump is president, Doherty said. He formed a group last month called Citizen Therapists for Democracy to consider issues raised by Trump’s presidency. Therapists aren’t accustomed to advising patients on how to handle this kind of “public stress,” since psychotherapy has traditionally been limited to private lives and psychology, he said.

Among the unanswered questions for therapists: Can they validate clients’ feelings without wading too far into politics? What’s the best way to uphold and act on their personal values? How can they help people deal with something that’s so pervasive and unpredictable?

“It’s thrown therapists,” Doherty said. “We’re struggling with it because we’ve never dealt with it — and now we’re forced to.”

How much of the paranoia and hysteria is transferred from these mental health professionals to their patients? Just who is it that needs therapy more? Mental health workers or their patients?

What is driving the anxiety is what Trump might do or could do — not what he’s already done. And blame for that rests squarely in the minds of liberals who seemingly with each passing day generate an increasing level of hysteria about the administration that is not only unprecedented, but extraordinarily dangerous.

Trump may eventually live down to the fears and anxieties of the left about his presidency. But exaggerating what the president has done and expressing in doomsday rhetoric  what’s in store for America only make Trump’s opponents appear loony. They are inadvertently damaging their own credibility with these apocalyptic predictions about how evil and horrible Trump is.

The very people who could bring some sanity back to the anti-Trump left — mental health workers — are, instead, gleefully feeding the beast and making matters worse.




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