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Forum sparks discussion about President Donald Trump's mental stability


Contrib of Edwin Fisher, from Edwin Fisher regarding the forum on Donald Trump and the recent book he contributed to.

A group of mental health professionals and concerned citizens gathered at the Chapel Hill Public Library on Saturday to discuss their opinions on President Donald Trump’s performance in office and concerns over his capability to fulfill his position.

One of the three local professionals who spoke was Edwin Fisher, a UNC professor in the Department of Health Behavior. Fisher was a contributing author for the recently published book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President," which was one topic of discussion.

Fisher contributed the chapter entitled, “The Loneliness of Fateful Decisions.” The chapter focuses on the importance of the people who make up the president's social network.

He explained that his chapter emphasizes three main themes: the importance of the social surroundings of the president; the idea that he could be left to make decisions on the basis of his own perspectives; and the tendency of narcissistic people to ensure they get validation from the people who surround them. 

“An example of this is the many rumors that Secretary Tillerson and Chief of Staff Kelly would desperately like to be out of their positions, but, in a sense, are stepping out of their patriotic duty to protect the country from the president,” Fisher said.

Another contributing author is Craig Malkin, clinical psychologist and lecturer for the Harvard Medical School, as well as author of the popular book “Rethinking Narcissism.” His chapter in “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” is titled “Pathological Narcissism and Politics: A Lethal Mix.” 

In the chapter, he explains why he believes the public should be concerned about President Trump’s personality trait.

“Pathological narcissism is akin to an addiction, in which the drug is feeling special,” Malkin said. “They become so addicted to the experience of feeling special that they will lie, steal, cheat or do whatever it takes to get their high — that’s when it starts to become dangerous.”

The forum had over 50 people in attendance. Fisher began the presentation by inquiring where everyone traveled from. Most were Chapel Hill or Durham residents, but there were a couple who drove hours to hear what the speakers had to say.

A major portion of the event was devoted to addressing the audience members’ many questions and thoughts.

One question in particular that launched subsequent dialogue was from an audience member who asked “Will (Trump’s) supporters ever reach a tipping point when they realize that they have been conned?”

Fisher simply responded, “When it hits home.”

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