Adam Lanza’s Mental Health – Hannity With Psychotherapist Dr Karen Ruskin

This Psychotherapist appeared as a guest expert on FOX News Channel’s program; Hannity where I shared my insights on the topic: Adam Lanza’s mental health, air date; 12/17/12. Since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, much chatter in the news exploring various potential diagnosis to try to make sense of the shooter’s actions has taken place. During my interview I explained that we can only speculate what the diagnosis is. I am in full agreement with Sean Hannity’s articulation that there are people who are Psychopaths, there are those living among us who are Sociopaths, and there are those people who truly have no empathy. I have sat with clients through the years and have seen the destruction that the person with either of the aforementioned diagnosis has caused on those around them. Devastating! Not all Psychopaths and not all Sociopaths are murderers.  With that being said, LIVE on air I stated: “We don’t know what the diagnosis is”.  I explained that any diagnosis we make is speculation as it is based on what little we do know. I further asserted that it is dangerous to speculate as it is leading us to feel stuck trying to figure out what the diagnosis is. So as to set the record straight I explained what we do know about Adam Lanza’s mental health:

“What we do know is that there is a deep seeded emotional and mental disturbance that stemmed starting from childhood”.

Where Should Our Focus Be? Early Intervention:

Early intervention is so important. Early intervention dramatically decreases the risk of violence in the future! Our focus should be on:

  • Early intervention – there are always under attended to or unattended to signs in childhood that leads up to a tragedy such as this.
  • Improved mental health benefit coverage.
  • Appropriate payment for mental health care professionals so that all those who are in need of mental health care can receive excellent care.
  • Increased awareness of catching signs along the way during a child’s developmental years.
  • Decreasing the stigma of going to counseling.
  • Cognitive and behavioral solution focused counseling for children who show signs of emotional and/or behavioral disturbance. The goal is to arm the youth and young adult population with life long coping skills and concrete strategies for effective coping.
  • Parenting awareness/strategic education.
  • Mental health and wellness education.
  • Philosophical belief system of taking ownership of one’s mental health/wellness and one’s children’s mental health/wellness.

I continue to share my message for the importance of counseling and that there does not need to be a stigma attached.

Panel Discussion – Asperger’s Syndrome:

During my appearance on Sean Hannity’s program, I am humbled by the opportunity to have been on a panel with Psychologist Dr. Michael Stone. Dr. Stone stated; “There are people with Aspergers . . . that don’t have empathetic capacity”. Although I had already expressed my concern about diagnosis speculation, I thought it was important to address his verbalization directly and I stated:

“A lot of parents are really upset how in the news we are talking about Aspergers because there are many children with Aspergers that although they appear not to have empathy they really do and it would break their heart if they thought they hurt somebody . . . It is important that I put that out there”.

Gun Safety:

There has been dialogue in the news with regards to gun ownership laws post this tragedy. Hannity raised the question: “As a responsible gun owner . . if you have somebody with any type of mental condition” – should guns be accessible? I explained:

“If you own a gun and if your child is showing any kind of signs of social isolation, emotional disturbance, or mood disturbance – lock up the guns and the key cannot be somewhere that your child knows”.

If you would like to read more of my blogs on similar topics, I invite you to do so:



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