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A “Trans-Dyadic” Perspective on the Goldwater Rule


Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: November 2017 - Volume 23 - Issue 6 - p 431–435
doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000273

The Goldwater Rule has been debated, redefined, and debated further since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. This column offers a perspective on the Goldwater Rule that moves beyond psychiatry’s current preoccupation with precision DSM-5 diagnosis of individuals, which ethically requires consent or other legal authorization for release of diagnostic information to others, and into the realm of leadership as seen through the “trans-dyadic” lens of psychoanalytic understanding of large group processes on a societal level. Concepts from large group psychology are introduced to illustrate “trans-dyadic” perspectives on leadership that do not challenge the Goldwater Rule.

PLAKUN: Associate Medical Director, Director of Biopsychosocial Advocacy, Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, MA; and Leader, American Psychiatric Association Psychotherapy Caucus, Arlington, VA

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Please send correspondence to: Eric M. Plakun, MD, Austen Riggs Center, 25 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA 01262 (e-mail:

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