What role are psychologists playing in U.S. military detention centers? What ethical dilemmas do they face? What does research tell us about psychology's role in interrogations?
These are some of the questions that a miniconvention on ethics and interrogation will explore at APA's 2007 Annual Convention through a series of eight sessions and a town hall meeting.
"This program represents APA at its best-deliberating in a thoughtful, organized and inclusive manner about an enormously complex and challenging issue," says Stephen Behnke, JD, PhD, director of APA's Ethics Office.
Finding common ground
The debate within psychology on interrogations has been sharply divided between those who believe that psychologists should lend their expertise to interrogators because their presence may help ensure that prisoners are not treated cruelly, and those who believe they have no place in interrogations that may violate human rights, notes Brad Olson, PhD, chair of the Divisions for Social Justice, a coalition of 10 APA divisions that support initiatives for social justice.
In addition to the Divisions for Social Justice, other miniconveniton sponsors include: The Ethics Committee, Div. 9 (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues), Div. 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology), Div. 18 (Psychologists in Public Service), Div. 19 (Society for Military Psychology), Div. 26 (Society for the History of Psychology), Div. 27 (Community Psychology), Div. 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women), Div. 39 (Psychoanalysis), Div. 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues), Div. 48 (Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence) and Div. 51 (Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity).
"We wanted to set up participatory sessions so all types of psychologists could...find some common ground," says Olson.
Miniconvention speakers will include military psychologists, human rights activists, psychologists who study conflict and multicultural issues, and a Department of Defense interrogator.
The sessions will cover a wide range of issues including the use of the so-called "biscuit teams" (Behavioral Science Consultation Teams)-groups of behavioral health and medical professionals at detention centers whose role in interrogations has never been clarified by the Department of Defense. Speakers will also discuss the ethical challenges military psychologists face and explore the effects of torture and abuse.
"I think that this is one of the central issues for psychology today-whether psychologists should be involved in getting information from people who don't want to give it," says Olson.
The sessions and speakers are:
Session 1: What are Psychologists doing in U.S. Military Detention Centers?
W. Steven Sellman, PhD, chair. Speakers: Uwe Jacobs, PhD, Steve Kleinman, MS, Tony Lagouranis, Steven Reisner, PhD, Morgan Sammons, PhD, and "Katherine Sherwood" PhD (Department of Defense).
Session 2: What Does the Research on Interrogations Tell Us?
Bradley D. Olson, PhD, chair. Speakers: Mark Constanzo, PhD, Charles A. Morgan, III, MD, Shara Sand, PhD, and Philip Zimbardo, PhD.
Session 3: What is the Evolution of APA policy on Ethics and Interrogation?
Friday 2-3:50 p.m.
Bernice Lott, PhD, chair. Speakers: Neil E. Altman, PhD, Jean Maria Arrigo, PhD, Steve Breckler, PhD, Olivia Moorehead-Slaughter, PhD, Corann Okoradudu, PhD, Judith Van Hoorn, PhD, and Linda Woolf, PhD.
Session 4: How do Human Rights and Laws Apply to Detention Centers?
Neil E. Altman, PhD and Linda Woolf, PhD, chairs. Speakers: Jim McGarrah, Mike Gelles, PsyD, Bradley D. Olson, PhD, Susan Opotow, PhD, and Len Rubenstein, JD.
Session 5: What are the Impacts of Ethnicity, Language, and Identity on Interrogations?
Sunday 12-1:50 p.m.
Rhoda Unger, PhD, chair. Speakers: Max Gross, PhD, Herb Kelman, PhD, Eileen Zubriggen, PhD, and Michael G. Wessells, PhD
Session 6: What are the Effects of Psychological Torture and Abuse?
Sunday 2-3:50 p.m.
Linda Woolf. PhD, chair. Speakers: Glislaine Boulanger, PhD, Robert A. Geffner, PhD, Jeff Kaye, PhD, Brinton Lykes, PhD, Rosa Garcia-Peltoniemi, PhD, Morgan Sammons, PhD, and Nina K. Thomas, PhD.
Town Hall Meeting: Review and Future Directions.
Sunday 5-6:50 p.m.
Douglas Haldeman, PhD and Olivia Moorehead-Slaughter, PhD, chairs.
Session 7: What Ethical Dilemmas do Psychologists Working in Detention Centers Face?
Monday 10-11:50 a.m.
Scott W. Allen, PhD, chair. Speakers: Michael G. Gelles, PsyD, Craig Haney, PhD, Robert T. Kinscherff, PhD, Esq., and Stephen M. Soldz, PhD
Session 8: What challenges and complexities does providing treatment to detainees entail?
Monday 12-1:50 p.m.
Ibrahim Kira, PhD, chair, Speakers: Martha Davis, PhD, Carrie Kennedy, PhD, Frank Summers, PhD, and Ed Tejirian, PhD.