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Boulanger, G. (2017). The American Psychological Association: From Impunity to Shame. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 14(2):108-115.

(2017). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 14(2):108-115


The American Psychological Association: From Impunity to Shame

Ghislaine Boulanger, Ph.D.

In November 2014, the American Psychological Association (APA) appointed David Hoffman, Esq., of the Chicago law firm Sidley Austin, to assess whether there was any factual support for the assertion that the APA engaged in covert activities that would constitute collusion with the Bush administration to promote, support, and/or facilitate the use of enhanced interrogation techniques by the United States in the war on terror.

This is an astonishing accusation to be leveled against a professional organization charged with establishing and enforcing an ethical code for its members and, furthermore, with representing the public face of that profession to America, indeed, to the world. For close to a decade, psychologists, both members of the APA and those who had resigned in the face of growing evidence that this charge was correct, had been requesting such an investigation. Nonetheless, and true to the APA's practice of ignoring or denouncing critics from within the profession, the appointment of the independent reviewer was made not in response to members' protests and resignations, but after the publication of New York Times Pulitzer prize winning author James Risen's book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War (2014). Risen offered detailed evidence about a conspiracy between the APA and the Department of Defense (DoD). Originally, Risen's book had been met with the usual skepticism with which the APA greeted detractors, but, in a sudden turnabout, then APA President Nadine Kaslow announced that the association had engaged a special investigator to look into these charges, and instructed APA staff and all psychologists with information to share to be in touch with Mr Hoffman.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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