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PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To start PEP-Easy without first opening your browser–just as you would start a mobile app, you can save a shortcut to your home screen.

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Taylor, G.J. (2020). Response to Peter Olsson's Critical Opinion Discussion of My Essay on “The Alternative Universe of the Trump Administration”. Psychodyn. Psych., 48(2):194-200.

(2020). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 48(2):194-200

Response to Peter Olsson's Critical Opinion Discussion of My Essay on “The Alternative Universe of the Trump Administration”

Graeme J. Taylor, M.D.

The Winter 2019 issue of Psychodynamic Psychiatry included Dr. Peter Olsson's “Critical Opinion Discussion” of my essay “Some Comments on the Alternative Universe of the Trump Administration,” which was published in the Summer 2019 issue of the journal (Taylor, 2019). My essay was a response to an editorial in the journal about psychiatric ethics and the Goldwater rule (Friedman & Downey, 2018) and to a published interview with Dr. Bandy Lee, who edited The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump (Lee, 2017; Sandberg, 2018). I thank Dr. Olsson for taking time to write a discussion of my essay, and for expressing his alternative opinions. In my view, however, there are some parts of his discussion that are controversial or incomplete and require a response. I do not want to engage in a prolonged debate about the Trump administration, but I need to comment on some of the criticisms and omissions in the discussion and correct some misrepresentations.

Dr. Olsson (2019) asserts that I am one of many psychologists and psychiatrists who “state or imply that Trump is mentally ill, endangers America, and damages mental health in America and beyond” (p. 493). Because he implicates me, the first part of this assertion is incorrect; it ignores the explicit statement early in my essay that “I comply with the Goldwater rule and make no attempt to diagnose President Trump or comment on his mental health” (Taylor, 2019, p. 150). I even opined that making a diagnosis of the president or commenting on his mental health would not achieve anything. And I disagreed with Dr. Lee's suggestion that Trump's lies may be at least partly delusional rather than strategic. The position I took obviously sets me apart from mental health professionals who have proposed possible psychiatric diagnoses of the president.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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