The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA is the world's largest association of psychologists, with nearly 130,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members.
Our mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives. We do this by:
- Encouraging the development and application of psychology in the broadest manner.
- Promoting research in psychology, the improvement of research methods and conditions and the application of research findings.
- Improving the qualifications and usefulness of psychologists by establishing high standards of ethics, conduct, education and achievement.
- Increasing and disseminating psychological knowledge through meetings, professional contacts, reports, papers, discussions and publications.
APA aspires to excel as a valuable, effective and influential organization advancing psychology as a science. The core values that guide our mission include pursuit of excellence, knowledge, diversity and ethical action.
Our strategic plan goals are to maximize the association's organizational effectiveness, expand psychology's role in advancing health and increase recognition of psychology as a science.
Volunteer governance members play a key role in the direction and completion of APA's advocacy, publishing, member service and more. These groups include APA's:
- Council of Representatives, which has the sole authority to approve policy and appropriate the association's revenue.
- Board of Directors, elected by the membership to be the administrative agent of the Council of Representatives.
- APA president, elected annually by the membership to serve as the face of the association.
- Committees, boards and task forces, which focus on particular issues in the field.
APA's daily operations are overseen by its senior staff at APA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Psychology is a diverse discipline, grounded in science, but with nearly boundless applications in everyday life. Some psychologists do basic research, developing theories and testing them through carefully honed research methods involving observation, experimentation and analysis. Other psychologists apply the discipline's scientific knowledge to help people, organizations and communities function better.
As psychological research yields new information, whether it's improved interventions to treat depression or how humans interact with machines, these findings become part of the discipline's body of knowledge and are applied in work with patients and clients, in schools, in corporate settings, within the judicial system, even in professional sports.
Psychology is a doctoral-level profession. Psychologists study both normal and abnormal functioning and treat patients with mental and emotional problems. They also study and encourage behaviors that build wellness and emotional resilience. Today, as the link between mind and body is well-recognized, more and more psychologists are teaming with other health care providers to provide whole-person health care for patients.
Breadth of Psychology