APA Briefs Defense Department Officials on APA's Policies Related to Psychologists and Interrogation

December 14, 2009

APA senior staff brief Defense Department officials on APA’s policies related to psychologists and interrogation, including the petition resolution policy which states that psychologists may not work in unlawful detention sites unless they are working directly for the detainee, an independent third party, or treating military personnel. Staff clarified the association’s position that military psychologists do not interrogate and that the roles of health care provider and consultant to an interrogation are incompatible and therefore must be separated. They explained that the Ethics Code applies to all of a psychologist’s professional activities, including those unrelated to the provision of health care, reviewed proposed amendments to the Ethics Code which state that there is no defense to violating human rights, and highlighted how the Ethics Code and APA policies limit the role of psychologists in interrogations. Staff emphasized both the importance of psychologist placement at detention settings remaining voluntary and that psychologists must have resources available for consultation and support for reporting unethical acts.