Elizabeth Lunbeck, a professor in residence at Harvard University’s Department of the History of Science, presented a psychological case study of President Donald Trump as part of her speech “Acting Human: The Psychopath and the Rest of Us,” on Tuesday, Feb. 14 in the Memorial Union Building’s (MUB) Theatre II for UNH’s Sidore Lecture Series.
“There is value in trying to understand him. He’s not a policy guy, he’s all raw, unfiltered emotions,” Lunbeck said.
Using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) by the American Psychiatric Association, Lunbeck guided her audience through a variety of symptoms of potential personality disorders exhibited by Trump. The DSM, as noted by Lunbeck, identifies three categories for psychiatric personality disorders: clusters A, B and C, which determine the type of personality disorder a person has. According to Lunbeck, Trump mainly falls into clusters A and B, the realms of paranoid personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.
“I think it is startling how much of this criteria fits our current president,” she said. “I suspect Trump mobilizes his own narcissism.”
Lunbeck supported her suspicions with a collection of Trump’s tweets, speeches and statements that she believes to coincide with the disorders and their symptoms.
Though Lunbeck’s lecture was vastly insightful, the discussion that followed was also saturated with views and opinions from those who attended the Tuesday lecture. About a dozen curious individuals stayed after to continue discussing Lunbeck’s case study of Trump and with back and forth debates, the post-lecture discussion lasted almost 45 minutes.
Throughout the lecture, Lunbeck stressed the importance of opening up one’s eyes and ears to see the potential personality disorders that America’s new president might have. After all was said and done, the amount of evidence she provided shows the great lengths she went through to ensure the utmost accuracy of her statements.
Lunbeck teaches courses at Harvard in the history of psychoanalysis, psychiatry and the psychotherapies. She is also the author of a number of books, including the most recent “The Americanization of Narcissism” (Harvard 2014) and, with Lorraine Dusten, “Histories of Scientific Observation” (Chicago 2011).