Feature

In an ongoing effort to communicate the association's strict prohibition against torture or other forms of cruel, degrading or inhumane treatment, at its Feb. 22, 2008 meeting, the APA Council of Representatives adopted an amendment to its 2007 resolution on torture to more clearly express APA's no-torture, no-exceptions policy.

The new language, which replaces a portion of the council's 2007 statement, is as follows:

"Be it resolved that this unequivocal condemnation includes all techniques considered torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Geneva Conventions; the Principles of Medical Ethics Relevant to Role of Health Personnel, Particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners; or the World Medical Association Declaration of Tokyo. An absolute prohibition against the following techniques therefore arises from, is understood in the context of, and is interpreted according to these texts: mock executions; waterboarding or any other form of simulated drowning or suffocation; sexual humiliation; rape; cultural or religious humiliation; exploitation of fears; phobias or psychopathology; induce hypothermia; the use of psychotropic drugs or mind-altering substances; hooding; forced nakedness; stress positions; the use of dogs to threaten or intimidate; physical assault including slapping or shaking; exposure to extreme heat or cold; threats of harm or death; isolation; sensory deprivation and over-stimulation; sleep deprivation; or the threatened use of any of the above techniques to an individual or to members of an individual's family. Psychologists are absolutely prohibited from knowingly planning, designing, participating in or assisting in the use of all condemned techniques at any time and may not enlist others to employ these techniques in order to circumvent this resolution's prohibition."

The amendment was crafted by a group of council representatives who also worked on the 2007 resolution: William J. Strickland, PhD (Div. 19, Military), Laurie Wagner, PhD, (Div. 39, Psychoanalysis), Elizabeth C. Wiggins, PhD, (Div. 41, Psychology and Law) and Judith L. Van Hoorn, PhD, and Corann Okorodudu, EdD (Div. 48, Peace).

"The amendment is a more direct statement of the intent of the 2007 resolution and removes any concerns that the 2007 resolution was unclear or contained loopholes," said Wagner, speaking on behalf of the group.

To read the resolution, visit Resolution.

In other action, the council:

  • Approved the 2008 APA budget with a forecasted surplus of $332,600.

  • Agreed that beginning in 2009 by Association Rule, the association's annual budget would provide for a net surplus of 1 to 2 percent of annual revenues to provide a margin of safety against unexpected shortfalls. To help with this policy change, the council is increasing from $2.5 million to $3.5 million the subsidy from its building operations.

  • Approved a resolution against genocide that, among other recommendations, calls for the international community, professional organizations and individual psychologists to develop policies that will eradicate and prevent genocide and to ameliorate its impact on individuals and communities.

  • Adopted the report of the 2007 Presidential Task Force on Integrative Health Care for an Aging Population, Blueprint for Change: Achieving Integrated Health Care for an Aging Population (see www.apa.org/pi/aging/blueprint.html for the full text of the report).

  • Voted to adopt the Resolution on the Americans with Disabilities Act, which reaffirms APA's policy on disabilities, strengthens the association's position on the law, and enables the association to pursue disability-related activities at the federal and state levels.

  • Voted to adopt as policy the revised Principles for the Recognition of Specialties in Professional Psychology, which has been updated to recognize the importance of cultural and individual differences and diversity in the education and training of specialists.

  • Voted to send to the full membership for revote a proposal to add new seats on council for the four ethnic-minority psychology organizations: the Asian American Psychological Association, the Association of Black Psychologists, the National Latina/o Psychological Association and the Society of Indian Psychologists. Adding these seats would be outside the regular council representation apportionment process; no current or future division or state representation would be at risk of losing their seats due to the addition of these new seats.

  • Voted to send to the full membership for a vote a proposal to make the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students member of the Board of Directors a voting member of the board.

  • Approved the Div. 56 (Trauma) as a permanent APA division.

  • Voted not to adopt a proposal to create a new division for qualitative inquiry. The proposal failed to achieve the two-thirds vote required by the APA bylaws for establishing new divisions.

  • Approved an increase in the Interdivisional Grant Program funds to $25,000 per year for each of three years (2009㪣). The Committee on Division/APA Relations will submit an evaluation of the projects to the council in 2011.

The council also allocated money from its 2008 discretionary fund for the following:

  • A task force to study council representation.

  • A three-day conference to provide quantitative training and support for students from underrepresented groups.

  • A task force to develop an APA designation process for postdoctoral psychopharmacology education and training programs. The task force is charged with creating a proposal for a designation system, which would develop the minimal standards for programs of psychopharmacology education and training programs.

  • The 2008 APA National Conference on Undergraduate Education in Psychology. The conference will be held June 22-27 at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash.

  • A meeting of the National Standards for High School Psychology Working Group and the National Standards Advisory Panel. This meeting will serve to facilitate the second revision of the National Standards for the High School Psychology Curricula.

  • An APA Presidential Task Force on the Psychological Needs of U.S. Military Service Members and their Families.