Letters and Announcements

  • Task Force Letter, Member-Task Force Update, July 7

    Dear Colleagues,

    I am writing you today to provide an update concerning the work of the Member-Initiated Task Force to Reconcile Policies Related to Psychologists' Involvement in National Security Settings. In particular, I want to invite individuals to learn more about what we are doing, to become involved in the process, and to provide feedback.

    As we announced earlier this year, we are working to consolidate APA policies concerning psychologist consultations in national security settings for the purpose of bringing the Member Petition Resolution/Referendum, the changes to the Ethics Code highlighting the inviolate nature of human rights, and the anti-torture Council resolutions to the forefront of APA policy. We are also working to bring a motion to the floor of Council, which will include a recommendation to rescind the Report of the APA Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS Report).

    Last week, our grassroots group sent out a Call for Consultants to a broad range of constituencies including all Divisions and State, Provincial, and Territorial Psychological Associations (SPTAs). We also sent out invitations to the Ethnic Minority Psychological Associations (EMPAs), some international psychological organizations, and other interested psychological groups. We also have reached out to those working within the national security sector. Our goal is to draw on the expertise of a broad range of constituencies and perspectives to develop a coherent and useful consolidated APA policy going forward.

    We have been pleased with the response thus far, and if you are also interested in providing feedback or comment, please send an email to Dr. Julie Levitt (julie.levitt@verizon.net) who is coordinating these efforts. We welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions. Even if you cannot directly participate, we intend to have a draft document on our website later this month and hope you will take some time to read the document - http://www.unifiedpolicytaskforce.org. In my capacity as the task force chair, I will send out another announcement when we have a draft available on the website.

    Between now and Convention, we hope to get feedback on our first draft, incorporate the feedback into our document, and then present the consolidated policy to Council as a New Business Item in August at the Convention. The document will then begin the review/revisions process as it works its way through the APA governance system. A major criticism leveled against the PENS Report is that it did not undergo APA governance review. We think it is important not only for individual members to be able to weigh in on the policy but also that the policy undergo review by relevant APA Boards and Committees, as well as Council. Hence, the earliest that any consolidated policy would come up for a Council vote would be in February, 2013. Informed policy requires time and input, and we are working to insure that this review happens.

    Our work is the first step in a broader process, and we welcome everyone's involvement! It should be noted that we are not an APA Task Force and we are not backed by any group within the APA, including the Board of Directors. Rather we are simply APA members who have come together to work on this project because of our abiding belief in the importance of human rights and social justice.

    As with any political issue, there is often a fair amount of misinformation circulating about the individuals involved and their work. We invite you to come to our webpage to learn more about us for yourself. Please feel free to visit -- http://www.unifiedpolicytaskforce.org -- and review our materials, see who we are, and read our "Frequently Asked Questions" We have links to a range of APA policies (including the controversial and outdated PENS report), United Nations and other Human Rights documents that we look to reference in the policy, as well as a link to the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology (for those wanting more information about the Annul PENS movement).

    We see ourselves as offering one path toward greater resolution of the issues surrounding the work of psychologists in national security settings by consolidating the recent APA documents on the subject. This task is urgently needed since some of the policies are outdated, redundant, and/or confusing, and do not provide a clear or accurate view of APA policy as related to the work of psychologists in national security settings. As with most issues, we believe that there may be more than one approach. This is the time, however, to take a needed first step and work together.

  • Task Force Call for Consultants

  • February 2012: Announcement of the Member-Initiated Task Force

  • Letter to the APA Board of Directors