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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

Psychiatrists’ Families Aren’t Healthier Than President Trump’s!

In a well-received book some years ago, a psychiatrist described his mother’s naked body being used as a card-playing table by his father and cronies. In a paper by a psychoanalyst-psychiatrist (Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, “The Sad Soul of the Psychiatrist,” early 1970s), it was stated that clinicians who treat children do so, partially, to re-heal their own childhood trauma, as if to say, “I had no one but you have me.” Such unconscious motivation is well-known in the medical profession, with nurses or when choosing a specialty.

While one may differ with a politician’s positions, using their (purported) family dynamics as a weapon could easily backfire. Trump’s children have been notably well-behaved in contrast to the publicized troubles of those of other wealthy celebrities. Nor is his supposedly minimal parenting unusual, if regretful. I rarely have contact with the fathers of the children I treat, not from my unwillingness but from scheduling difficulty or theirs. In most families, it is the mother who is the emotional parent. That Trump chose wives who parented well serves to his credit.

All, and particularly mental health professionals, should take care to speak cautiously, or not at all.
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