Is it okay to speculatively diagnose public figures like Trump? No, says the Goldwater rule – and recent challenges to it could set worrying precedents

This week the Goldwater rule has come into focus – the convention that psychologists should not give an opinion about the mental state of a person they have not examined. Recently, the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) emailed its members to remind them that they as individual practitioners are not bound by the Goldwater rule (which is a rule of the American Psychiatric Association, APA), and that they should feel free to offer fact-based but non-specific assessments of public figures - figures like Donald Trump.

Related: The “Putin has Asperger’s” story highlights the stupidity of psychological diagnosis from a distance | Pete Etchells

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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