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Bush On the Couch
Inside the Mind of the President

By: Justin A Frank, M.D.

Posted July 8, 2004

0-06-073670-4) USA $24.95 Canada $34.95

"I don't spend a lot of time trying to figure me out... I'm just not into psychobabble" - George W. Bush

For all his simplicity and affability, George W. Bush has remained, to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, "a mystery wrapped in and enigma." In "Bush on the Couch, Dr. Justin A Frank, a well respected Washington D.C.-based psychoanalyst and professor of psychiatry, unwraps that mystery, assembling a comprehensive psychological profile of President Bush.  Using the principles of applied psychoanalysis- the discipline of psychoanalyzing public and historical figures pioneered by Freud- Frank fearlessly builds his case... and reaches conclusions that are at once highly persuasive and deeply disturbing.

Through a close analysis of Bush's public statements and behavior, as well as a historical record provided by journalists, biographers, and those who have known the President well, Frank traces the development of Bush's character from childhood to the present day.  Examining closely the role of the president's parents- especially Barbara Bush, an acknowledged disciplinarian whose own insecurities may have prevented her from adequately nourishing her son- Frank finds in Bush's childhood the roots of a dramatic psychic split that remains a dominant influence on his adult worldview.  Frank argues that this split has inevitably hampered Bush's ability to manage his emotions, charging his psyche with restless anxiety, and conditioning him to view the world in the black and white terms that have so evidently shaped his administration.

  Among the other subjects Frank explores:

  • Bush's false sense of omnipotence, instilled within him during childhood and emboldened by his deep investment in fundamentalist religion.

  • The president's history of untreated alcohol abuse, and the questions it raises about denial, impairment, and the enabling streak in our culture. 

  • The growing anecdotal evidence that Bush may suffer from dyslexia, ADHD,and other thought disorders. 

  • His comfort living outside the law, defying international law in his presidency as boldly as he once defied DUI statutes and military reporting requirements. 

  • His love-hate relationship with his father, and how it triggered a complex and dangerous mix of feelings including yearning, rivalry, anger, and sadism. 

  • Bush's rigid and simplistic thought patterns, paranoia, and megalomania- and how they have driven him to invent adversaries so that he can destroy them. 

At once a compelling portrait of George W. Bush and a damning indictment of his policies, Bush On the Couch sheds startling new light on an administration whose record of violence and cruelty seems increasingly dependent on the unstable psyche of the man at its center.  Insightful and accessible, courageous and controversial, Bush On the Couch tackles the questions no one seems willing to ask: Is our president psychologically fit to run the country?

Praise for
Justin A Frank

  • After reading this book you'll understand why the Bush's are so afraid of psychoanalysis.  This exploration of the president's persona will set your hair on fire- and probably land this brilliant author in the federal witness protection program.
    - Kitty Kelley, author of the forthcoming The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty

  • An eminent and courageous psychotherapist offers us a penetrating account of the psychological makeup of the most powerful man in the world.  It is compelling and persuasive and downright frightening.  Most readers will and this book stunned, asking themselves how it has come about that we have chosen a leader so ill equipped for the job.
    - Irving Yalom, M.D., emeritus professor of psychiatry, Stanford University, and author of The Gift of Therapy and Love's Executioner

About the Author

Justin A. Frank M.D., is a clinical professor in the Department of psychiatry at George Washington University Medical Center. Since 1980 he has been a teaching analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute. He is past president of the Greater Washington Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. Dr. Frank lives and practices psychoanalysis in Washington, D.C.


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