Duty to warn

The Moral Argument For Diagnosing (Duty To Warn) by Vince Greenwood, Ph.D.

There is a legitimate debate on whether it is ethical to diagnose a public figure without their consent. Those who argue it is unethical to ‘diagnose at a distance’ raise two basic concerns:

(1) potential harm to the public figure, and

(2) damage to the reputation of mental health professionals, especially if they engage in armchair diag-nosis that lacks a scientific foundation

Others assert there is a moral duty to diagnose public figures at a distance. They invoke the ‘duty to warn’ principle that places an ethical obligation on health professionals to warn third parties. The ‘duty to warn’ principle stemmed from a court decision in California (the Tarasoff case). If mental health professionals determine that a client under their purview is a threat to others, they have a duty to warn possible victims. This ‘duty to warn’ guideline, many now assert, should be exercised when mental health professionals determine that a public figure represents a danger to society.

Since the President displays psychopathic personality disorder, he represents just such a clear and present danger. The public deserves to be warned.

Please visit DutyToWarn.org for through and thoughtful discussions of the ‘duty to warm’ principle.

Vince Greenwood, Ph.D.

No Comments

Leave a Reply