APA Apology and Moving Forward

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Released from APA on July 24, 2015, via List serve

Dear Members,

As is true for us, we know the contents of the Independent Review (IR) report are extremely troubling and painful to our members. We have heard from many that you feel the profession you love and respect has been tarnished and, for some, your identity as a psychologist and integrity as a person are called into question even though you personally have done nothing wrong.

On behalf of our organization, we apologize for what has emerged in the Hoffman report, including the secret coordination between several APA leaders and the Department of Defense that resulted in the lack of a clear and consistent anti-torture stance, limited guidance for military psychologists in the field, a failure to uphold an appropriate conflict-of-interest policy with regard to the PENS Task Force on military interrogation, and a lack of appropriate checks and balances that could have revealed these significant problems. In addition, we deeply regret the fact that some APA members and other critics were privately and publicly discounted for raising concerns. What happened never should have.

We have begun the work with the current Board and Council to make the personnel, structural, process, policy, and cultural changes that will ensure this never happens again. This bleak chapter in our history did not occur overnight. It will take time to help psychology rebuild its reputation. We are already deeply involved in beginning to chart a new path in returning APA to an ethical, values-based, scientific, and professional organization committed to human rights.

We want to thank all of you who have written and emailed and want you to know your messages are being read and reviewed. Your recommendations are being tracked and catalogued and will be used to guide decisions over the coming months with regard to how best to move APA forward.

We have heard from many members that you would like more frequent updates about APA’s response to the IR report. We are working on many fronts at once, but none is more important than communicating with our members. We ask for your patience, support, and advice as we begin the difficult work of repair, rebuilding, recommitment, and growth.

We look forward to hearing your ideas about what APA needs to do to move forward. A special email address has been set up to collect your recommendations: IRFeedback@apa.org. In addition, there is a comment section on the APA website at www.apa.org/independent-review/index.aspx. Moreover, we’ve received many requests for APA to provide a space for people who have been mentioned or otherwise have personal knowledge about the events discussed in the Independent Review report to respond based on the facts presented or to provide their own account of issues pertaining to them. The page for this can be found off of our main IR page: www.apa.org/independent-review/index.aspx.

Together we can, indeed we must, recommit to psychology’s core values and emerge from this crisis as a stronger association of which we can all be proud.

Sincerely,

Susan McDaniel, PhD

APA President-Elect

Nadine Kaslow, PhD, ABPP

APA Past President

Members of the Special Committee for the Independent Review