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Peltz, R. Bernstein, J.W. Grand, S. (2008). Historicizing the Role of Psychologists in the U.S. Military: Introduction to Issue on Coercive Interrogations and the Mental Health Profession. Psychoanal. Dial., 18(5):587-591.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 18(5):587-591

Historicizing the Role of Psychologists in the U.S. Military: Introduction to Issue on Coercive Interrogations and the Mental Health Profession

Rachael Peltz, Ph.D., Jeanne Wolff Bernstein, Ph.D. and Sue Grand, Ph.D.

This special issue addresses the disturbing events that emerged in the aftermath of 9/11 in the United States with regard to the role of mental health professionals in coercive interrogations of detainees held in detention centers and military “black sites.” While other professional associations condemned such practices, the American Psychological Association maintained a position of collaboration, despite activist members' protests.

These events will be examined in an effort to reconstitute our history as a profession through the actions of what Freud called ‘nachtraeglichkeit’, (deferred action) in which the unassimilated experiences of the past relationship between psychology and the military will be used to transform our perceptions and future directions. This introduction also summarizes the papers in this issue. These include a history of the interrogation practices and the controversy within the APA; a history of the long-standing relationship between the profession of psychology and government, military, and intelligence organizations; analyses of the psychology of torture and evidence of how this psychology is manifested in the consulting room; a comparison of psychological structures within the population and mental health professions in the United States today and Argentina during recent totalitarian regimes; and an interview with Robert Lifton, eminent psychohistorian, psychiatrist and political activist.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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