Psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz appeared on ‘Today’ on Friday (January 11) to discuss talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw’s recent comments about Britney Spears and whether he broke patient-doctor confidentiality. “Confidentially really is the cornerstone of any decent mental health intervention or treatment,” Saltz said. “Because of course if you can’t trust the person you’re talking to to keep the information you’re telling, which is your deepest, darkest feelings and secrets confidential, than you have no existing process going on.”
As for people who have been throwing the word bipolar around to describe Britney’s problems, Saltz said that aspect of the case has been troubling. “That is the problem,” she said. “People have been bandying that about. It’s very unfortunate because the only person who can make such a diagnosis is a mental health professional, preferably a psychiatrist, who has sat down and gone over a detailed history, looked at the patient, listened to the symptoms, and listened to the symptoms over a time course to be able to make this clinical, very specific, and clinical diagnosis. And it’s really not fair to her, and not fair to people who have symptoms that may or may not be bipolar and struggling with it, for any of us to be saying, ‘This is what it is, and I can tell from looking at cameras from the outside’.” Watch the segment below the fold.