It’s being called “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” The Los Angeles Times has an article about therapists being flooded with patients who can’t deal with a President Donald J. Trump. In Talking Trump has therapists in a quandary, Soumya Karlamangla reports:
In her 35 years as a therapist, Arlene Drake has never heard so many clients talking about the same issue. Week after week, they complain of panic attacks and insomnia because of President Donald Trump. They’re too anxious to concentrate at work. One woman’s fear turned into intense physical pain.
“It’s just a nightmare,” said Drake, who practices in West Los Angeles.
Most of the people seeking therapy are anti-Trumpists who can’t deal with him as president. The “quandary” for therapists is whether to abandon their neutrality. Drake has, because she hates Trump so much. Most maintain their neutrality, and adhere to the “Goldwater Rule,” which “prevents psychiatrists from diagnosing public figures without personally evaluating them.” “In 1964,” writes Karlamangla,
more than 1,000 psychiatrists said in a magazine survey that then-presidential GOP nominee Barry Goldwater was psychologically unfit to be president. It was an ethical misstep that might have eroded confidence in psychiatry, wrote Maria A. Oquendo, the head of the American Psychiatric Association, in a statement last year reminding members to abide by the rule.
One has to read through almost the entire article to finally come across some semblance of sensible advice:
Patients who feel overwhelmed by the new administration should set hard time limits for consuming the news, said Allen Wagner, a therapist in L.A. who describes himself as “solution-focused.” He tells people to delete Twitter and Facebook apps from their phones so they’re not constantly tempted to check them.
Wagner has encouraged others to turn their anger or frustration into action by attending rallies or contacting their congressional representatives.
“It makes them feel like it’s not something they’re watching, like a train wreck, and that there’s some level of control,” he said.
I think Obama and Clinton and the party they lead are major threats to American freedom. They seem to think the government should control every economic and intellectual aspect of our lives.
Was it emotionally hard for me after Obama was elected? Yes. Did I run to a therapist? No. Why? Because I chose to fight for my values intellectually, rather than tune the news out or cave in to emotional pessimism. When Clinton squared off against Trump, my vote went to Trump. Is he an authoritarian and a long term threat to America as a free country? I believe yes, but not as much of a threat as Clinton. Was I extremely disappointed that the Republican alternative was Trump? Absolutely. But I’ve been dealing with it through intellectual activism.
Emotionalists are helpless in the face of adversity. Emotionalism leads to over-reaction and paranoia. It leads to a complete lack of context, leaving one at the mercy of feelings that the end of the world is at hand. Emotionalism cripples hope. Trump is bad in many ways. But he’s far from the catastrophe the emotionalists portrayed in this article believe. And he’s Leftist on some issues, but the emotionalists are too, well, emotional to see it.
Thinkers feel strong emotions, too. I know I do. But I don’t let my emotions rule me. That’s key. I think things through, then speak out—sometimes verbally, but mainly in writing, in the form of articles, letters-to-the-editor, blog posts, letters to my congresspersons, comments on websites, and so on. I don’t lose sleep. I Write. I activate, because I know that ideas, not politicians, ultimately determine the course of the country and the fate of freedom. My advice to the people who are allowing an election that didn’t go their way deteriorate their mental health, forget the therapist. The best therapy is to think rationally about Trump and his policies. Consider the opposing arguments. And then speak. Remember that this is the nation of the First Amendment. And there’s always another election. Intellectual activism is much more therapeutic than whining to a therapist.
While focussed mainly on anti-Trumpists, Karlamangla also said the surge in election-related therapy includes Trump voters:
In many ways, the election has been more challenging for his conservative clients, who feel as though they can’t tell their spouses, family members or friends that they voted for Trump, Wagner said.
They fear being automatically labeled bigots or accused of electing a new Hitler, he said. They rely on secret Facebook groups to express their feelings.
This is cowardly. Why let ignorant smear merchants force you into hiding? It’s also counter-productive, feeding the smear by implying that a vote for Trump is a shameful act. The way I deal with accusations like “bigot” and other smear tactics is with outright ridicule of the attacker. They’re mental deadbeats who won’t consider, or more likely can’t even conceive, that Trump voters have rational reasons. Their smears emanate from the same source that sends others to therapists—emotionalism. Beyond that, they’re not worth wasting my time on. That’s because they are emotionalists. (By “emotionalism” I don’t mean the mere act of experiencing emotions. I mean being guided by feelings, not thought.) Emotionalists can’t be reasoned with. They are irrelevant.
The Trump-deranged should get over it. Trump was elected president. Why waste time and money on therapists? The best therapy is simply to think. Trump is sure to ignite public and private debate on a whole range of issues like few before in recent history. (He already has.) Get objective. Get engaged. That’s the best therapy. And you might actually come to approve of some of Trump’s policies. After all, Trump’s election was rooted in things that are real problems in America.
“What Can One Do?” by Ayn Rand in Philosophy, Who Needs It?—Page 199
“Don’t Let it Go” by Ayn Rand in Philosophy, Who Needs It?—Page 205
Donald Trump and the Revolt of the Unseen—C. Bradley Thompson
“What Can One Do?”—Yaron Brook