As the 2016 presidential election approaches, psychologists are gaining media attention by diagnosing candidates as having personality disorders, especially for the Republican nominee. But the public should question whether or not offering these diagnoses is professionally ethical or in the service of political agendas.
As reflected in a recent New York Times article, the candidacy of Donald Trump has tempted some psychologists to abandon their unique training in mental health assessment and provide unprofessional diagnoses of Mr. Trump that, according to Celia B. Fisher, Director Fordham University’s Center for Ethics Education, “distort the values of their profession and violate the public trust”.
“Trained mental health practitioners serve the public good by providing diagnoses of individuals based on scientifically and professionally established assessment techniques,” notes Fisher, who chaired the committee that wrote the current American Psychological Association’s (APA) Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct, “however the public and the profession are harmed when psychologists provide opinions based on unsubstantiated information drawn from media reports or other subjective observations.”
There have been claims suggesting that psychologists who offer diagnoses of Donald Trump are doing so for the purpose of national and public interest. According to Fisher, who is the author of the widely read Decoding the Ethics Code: A Practical Guide for Psychologists, “Psychologists who claim that ‘Trumpism’ is a threat to democracy that provides moral justification to offer public diagnoses in the absence of established assessment techniques are deluding themselves into thinking that these unprofessional opinions benefit society.” Fisher further explains that psychologists are actually in “clear violation of the APA Ethics Code and are inadvertently contributing to a political climate based on opinion rather than fact.”
Celia B. Fisher, Ph.D. is the Fordham University Marie Ward Doty University Chair in Ethics and Director of the Center for Ethics Education. In addition to chairing the 2002 revision of the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code, Fisher’s Decoding the Ethics Code: A Practical Guide for Psychologists, is now in its fourth edition from Sage Publications.
Posted in Contemporary Ethical Issues, In the News, Uncategorized
Tagged American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, APA, Celia B. Fisher, Decoding the Ethics Code, diagnosis, Donald Trump, Ethics, Ethics Code, Fordham University, New York Times, psychologists, Psychology
Posted in Contemporary Ethical Issues, Evidence-Based Ethics
Tagged Brian Mustanski, Celia B. Fisher, Fordham University, Justice, LGBT youth, Mental health, mental health research, Research Ethics, sexual health, Substance use
The following is an interview with the American Public Health Association’s Ethics Section with Fordham University Center for Ethics Education Director Dr. Celia B. Fisher who served as an advisor for a White House panel on conversion therapy.
In April of this year, President Barack Obama announced his support for state efforts to pass Leelah’s laws. Such laws seek to ban conversion therapy, a practice which claims to change individuals with LGBTQ identities to a heterosexual identity and is named for an American transgender girl who committed suicide after undergoing conversion therapy. Celia B. Fisher is the Marie Ward Doty University Chair in Ethics and Director of the Center for Ethics Education at Fordham University and an Ethics Section member. She served as an advisor for a White House report released last fall, Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth.
Posted in Contemporary Ethical Issues
Tagged APA, APHA, Celia B. Fisher, Conversion Therapy, Ethics Section, Fordham University, Leelah Alcorn, Leelah's Law, LGBT Ethics, Mental health, pseudoscience, Public Health, RELAY, SAMHSA, White House Report
Following a White House report released in October condemning the use of conversion therapy, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have introduced legislation to end the harmful practice.
The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act would empower the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on so-called “conversion therapy” that falsely claims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, according to a press release from Senator Booker’s office.
Posted in Contemporary Ethical Issues
Tagged APA, Celia B. Fisher, Conversion Therapy, Cory Booker, Federal Trade Commission, Leelah Alcorn, LGBT, LGBT Ethics, LGBT youth, Patty Murray, SAMHSA, Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, White House
By Celia B. Fisher, Ph.D.
In a recent article in the American Journal of Bioethics Kayhan Parsi of the Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine exhorted bioethicists to address racism in their work. What the article did not address is why in 2016 it has taken bioethics so long to recognize a problem existing for more than 50 years since the field’s nascence.
Posted in Bioethics, Contemporary Ethical Issues, Evidence-Based Ethics
Tagged #BioethicsSoWhite, American Journal of Bioethics, Bioethics, Celia B. Fisher, Kayhan Parsi, Loyola University of Chicago, moral courage, Racism, Rawls
As consumers of the media, it is not uncommon to “diagnose” public figures with various mental disorders, depending on their representation in the press. But for psychologists and psychiatrists, is doing so unethical?
In an op-ed in The New York Times, Columbia University’s Dr. Robert Klitzman explained that for psychiatrists like himself, there is a prohibition from the American Psychiatric Association on providing professional opinions on individuals they have never met or evaluated before.
Troublingly, though, Klitzman mentions that “Psychologists (with Ph.D.s, as opposed to psychiatrists, with medical degrees) argue that this principle does not fully apply to them, and that offering diagnoses of public figures can be in the national interest.”
According to Fordham University Center for Ethics Education Director, and chair of the 2002 American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code Task Force Dr. Celia B. Fisher, that is not accurate.
Posted in Contemporary Ethical Issues, In the News
Tagged American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, APA, Celia B. Fisher, Columbia University, Decoding the Ethics Code, diagnosis, Donald Trump, Ethics Code, Fordham University, New York Times, op-ed, psychiatrists, psychologists, Robert Klitzman