The process by which a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health clinician mistakes the patient's perception of real events as delusional and misdiagnoses accordingly.
Psychologist Brendan Maher named the effect after Martha Beall Mitchell. Mrs. Mitchell was the wife of John Mitchell, Attorney-General in the Nixon administration. When she alleged that White House officials were engaged in illegal activities, her claims were attributed to mental illness. Ultimately, however, the relevant facts of the Watergate scandal vindicated her.
02 November 2007
Term of the Day for 2 Nov., 2007
Martha Mitchell Effect: