Thursday, 9 August 2018

Psychologists’ Group Maintains Ban on

Psychologists’ Group Maintains Ban on
Psychologists’ Group Maintains Ban on work on Military Detention Facilities
After an escalating debate about the role of psychologists in military prisons, the American Psychological Association voted on Wednesday to reject a proposed change in policy that might have allowed members to treat detainees held at sites that don't suit international human rights laws.
The proposed change would have reversed a 2015 determination by the association that prohibited such work, effectively blocking military psychologists from sites just like the military the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, maintained by us.
That decision followed revelations that within the early 2000s the association had finessed its ethics guidelines in order that psychologists could aid interrogations by suggesting lines of questioning, for instance, or advising when a confrontation had gone too far or short enough.
The A.P.A. still forbids psychologists from participating in interrogations.
The newly rejected about-face simply would have permitted psychologists in uniform to supply therapy and counseling to detainees who asked for it.
The association has little direct authority to limit members’ ability to practice. But state licensing boards can suspend or revoke a psychologist’s license for a spread of reasons, including violations of the ethics code or professional policies.
The current policy allows psychologists to figure in detainment facilities deemed in violation of human rights standards as long as they represent an independent organization, just like the International Red Cross, or detainees themselves, not the military.
‘This profession is made of trust. How on earth may be a detainee getting to have trust when psychologists are doing and recommending bad things?’

Stephen Soldz, Boston grad school of Psychoanalysis

So far, psychological help from those sources have been slow to materialize for detainees, said Col. Sally Harvey, a past president of the association’s military division who had pushed for the change.
The military has other health care workers on staff at detention facilities, including nurses, doctors, and psychiatrists, she noted.
But under current policy psychologists, who provide talk therapy and other sorts of guidance, cannot do so.
“If it’s 2 a.m. on a Sunday and the detainee in Guantánamo wants to speak to a psychologist, he should have that access,” she said.
“It’s about their choice, during a situation where they don’t have many choices.”
Opponents of the change saw it as a dangerous retreat on a core ethical issue for the profession.
“Unfortunately, the profession was tainted when some psychologists moved into an interrogation,” et al. into torture, said Stephen Soldz, director of the social justice and human rights program at the Boston grad school of Psychoanalysis.
“This profession is made on trust,” he added. “How on earth may be a detainee getting to have trust when psychologists are doing and recommending bad things?”
The association’s governing council of representatives voted the proposal down 105 to 57 after numerous delays and after rejecting a motion to withdraw the proposal for further discussion.
The debate over the role of the military psychologists have persisted for several years and aren't likely to be resolved soon.
After revelations a few .P.A.’s alterations of ethics guidelines became headlines — adding to the news that two psychologists who were C.I.A. contractors developed methods of “enhanced interrogation” that a lot of considered torture — the association has been on the defensive.
Its leaders denied wrongdoing and hired an outdoor investigator to conduct an independent review.
The investigator, David Hoffman, a lawyer in Chicago, produced a blistering report, which resulted in a minimum of one firing and resignations, or early retirements, at the A.P.A.
Since then, current and former military psychologists have disputed the report, and therefore the association has asked him to revisit his findings in light of the latest information.
People named within the report have sued for defamation.
In the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s vote, human rights groups had pressured the psychologists’ association to reject the proposed change in policy.
“The us features a president who has openly advocated for torture, and in January 2018 signed an executive order to stay Guantánamo open indefinitely,” read a letter signed by nine groups, including Physicians for Human Rights and Amnesty International.
“Even detainees long cleared for the transfer appears to possess no prospect of release.”

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