Saturday, June 20, 2009

Letter to the American Psychological Association President regarding mental health association's inability to function ethically

Marsha V. Hammond, PhD: Clinical Psychologist, Asheville, NC APA Member/ Member Division 32, 42 e mail: cell: 404 964 5338 NC Mental Health Reform blogspot:

June 20, 2009

Dear Dr. James Bray, President of the American Psychological Association:

Thank you for reading my e mail, Dr. Bray and thank you for your work for the APA.

I would like to underline and support ethicist Dr. Steven Miles' points with which you are undoubtedly familiar and which are being circulated amongst psychologists throughout APA.

It is too late to put out the brush fires, Dr. Bray. The barn is burning and the horses have left. All APA can attempt to do is salvage what they can. Many psychologists have resigned or are withholding their dues: (see: ).

Here is Dr. Miles letter:

I would like to second that unfortunately Stephen Behnke, PhD, JD, head of the APA Ethics Office, must go. However, this will not be a suitable sacrifice, if this even takes place, the reason being that the APA Board of Directors and by default the APA Council has taken most every opportunity to look at their feet if not openly though coyly stepping aside when it came to directly addressing the APA Code of Ethics.

I have personally found Dr. Behnke to be a helpful man but this does not negate what he has done. He could always have quit his job in protest, much as Colin Powell could have quit prior to making his 'yellow cake' presentation to the UN so many years ago----ending us in Iraq.

Both are credible figures and they both quite frankly screwed up. Pillorying them is not particularly satisfying, either.

How APA mis-stepped is quite well outlined in the following video made by a psychologist and circulating amongst the APA divisions:>

I want to know, as also iterated by Dr. Miles, what is the status of any ethical charges made on the psychologists mentioned in the video, if not other psychologists?

Given the lack of trust between the APA Board/ APA Council and this member, I assume that there was a calculated reason for the release of the APA Board statement on June 18, 2009 and this indeed has been noted by Psychologists for Social Responsibility:

Did APA IN FACT TIME the release of its statement for a reason?:" At issue is whether the the Statute of Limitations (5 years for non-members, 4 years for members) has expired for offenses committed during the 2002-2004 and prior period. Whether the delays that occurred in the release of APA memo until this time were a function of the SOL period remains unknown. Only BOA members can speak to this issue. ..."

This was stated by: Psychologists for Social Responsibility: From: Anthony Marsella Sender: : PsySR is an independent organization of psychologists and others committed to promoting peace and social justice.

And while I'm at it, it is not acceptable that clinicians are listed third as pertaining to APA's recent mini-convention on health care priorities: "Note that in the APA document clinicians are listed THIRD after researchers and educators."

So, in summary: three matters need to be addressed and they are frankly overlapping:

1. we need leadership with integrity, not 'go-to' people.

2. we want to know about ethics' charges much as many of us want to see the photos of what US service-people were up to (sorry: it doesn't wash that the release of the photos will harm same said people; this is just flimsy excuse making).

3. we want clinicians, who are very familiar with duties pertaining to ethics, to be put into key positions within APA. For it seems that some of the military psychologists and enough academic members of the APA have simply plotted to cut out the important clauses in the APA Code of Ethics so that they could function within the parameters of the law and attempt to direct out attentions to 'Look at that over there.'

We're tired of this. Please fix it.

Please feel free to give this to anyone you like. I have also published it on my blog which concerns itself w/ the horrors of NC Mental Health Reform----which APA and its subsidiary, the NC Psychological Association-----has also ignored..

That address is:

Sincerely and respectfully, Marsha V. Hammond,


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