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Summers, F. (2008). Making Sense of the APA: A History of the Relationship Between Psychology and the Military. Psychoanal. Dial., 18(5):614-637.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 18(5):614-637

Making Sense of the APA: A History of the Relationship Between Psychology and the Military

Frank Summers, Ph.D., ABPP

The American Psychological Association (APA) has been steadfast in its position that psychologists must have the right to participate in interrogations in U.S.-run illegal detention centers. One wonders why the APA is so resolute in this view especially in light of the opposition to involvement in these sites by all other relevant professional organizations. This paper offers an answer to this question by means of an exploration of the historical bond between American psychology and the military. It is demonstrated that the dramatic growth of psychology after World War II is attributable to resources supplied by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. It is argued that the historical and current dependency of psychology on the military for research funds as well as clinical training and treatment has resulted in a historical and current debt on the part of psychology to both of these organizations. This debt is repaid by an unquestioned endorsement of military policy, no matter how questionable its ethical or legal basis might be.

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