In The Know

In new book, psychiatrist puts President Trump ‘on the couch’

A psychiatrist says that special counsel Robert Mueller “unconsciously represents” President Trump’s father in the commander in chief’s mind.

One of “the most interesting” things Dr. Justin A. Frank says he found out while working on his new book, “Trump on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President,” was that as a teenager, a young Trump was sent away from his home in Queens “by his father for being delinquent — for lying to his father, for sneaking into Manhattan and for buying switchblade knives.”

{mosads}“[Trump’s] father sent him out of Jamaica Estates to a military academy,” Frank says in an interview with ITK. “And I’ve realized over time that Mueller unconsciously represents his father. … He’s reenacting his teenage experience of having been impeached, as it were, when he was 13. And now he’s afraid of being thrown out of the White House, of being sent away from home again.”

Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as a possible coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Frank — who has never treated the president — says he did a deep dive into Trump’s childhood and personal history for his follow-up, released Tuesday, to his previous best-sellers “Bush on the Couch” and “Obama on the Couch.”

“One of his main defenses is projection, which is like the pot calling the kettle black,” says Frank, a former clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University Medical Center. “[Trump] accuses other people of doing whatever he’s doing. So one of the best ways to
understand Trump is to see who he accuses and who he accuses of what, and unconsciously, he’s talking about himself.” 

Asked if his personal politics could have affected his analysis of Trump, Frank concedes they do “play a role,” while noting that he’s treated “many Republicans” as a physician.

While calling himself “very much a liberal,” Frank says, “I actually think Trump supporters might enjoy the book because it really is about trying to understand who he is and where he comes from and as a leader. It’s not really about judging him or attacking him.”

Many medical professionals have refused to weigh in on Trump’s — or any politician’s — mental health because of the so-called Goldwater rule. The rule from the American Psychiatric Association prohibits members from speculating about the mental state of public figures.

But, Frank argues, the 1973 rule is “less applicable than ever” in the social media age, when the public can see and hear virtually every remark public figures make. “It’s unethical for me not to talk about Trump. It’s unethical for me not to use my psychoanalytical experience to comment about him.”

If Trump were to one day show up on his couch, Frank says it would have to be in a “closed” setting.

“He’s the kind of patient who if I was busy with someone else, he’d be banging on my consulting room door demanding to be seen right away. So he would have to be controlled,” Frank says.

Tags Donald Trump Robert Mueller
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