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Once you know a crucial fact about what gets called "mental illness", the debate about whether or not President Donald J. Trump is "mentally ill" disappears, and what is left is what really matters. What really matters is that President Trump apparently has no desire to change behavior that has been described as totally self-absorbed, self-referential, misogynist, racist, xenophobic, and otherwise abusive. It's ironic that the arguments on both sides of the debate about whether or not Trump is "mentally ill" are based on the one "alternative fact": that deciding who is "mentally ill" is a science. That could not be farther from the truth.
Paula J. Caplan, Ph.D., is a clinical and research psychologist and currently Associate at the DuBois Institute, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University. She is the author of They Say You're Crazy: How the World's Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who's Normal; The Myth of Women's Masochism; Don't Blame Mother: Mending the Mother-Daughter Relationship; and numerous other books, chapters, and articles in the academic and popular media. She is a decades-long activist for psychiatric survivors and military veterans. Her most recent book, When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans, won three top national awards for nonfiction. She is a multi-awardwinning playwright and filmmaker.
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