Letters

The top 100

AS A PROFESSOR of general and history of psychology, I incorporate eminent psychologists in my course work and encourage my students to familiarize themselves with the leading thinkers in the discipline of psychology. I was thus delighted with the July/August Monitor article "Study ranks the top 20th century psychologists" that reviewed the results of a recent survey ranking the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century. What I found most intriguing, however, was the story on the next page: "For Atkinson, there's no backing off," an article on Richard Atkinson, PhD, who will be receiving APA's most prestigious award, the APA Award for Lifetime Contributions to Psychology, at APA's 2002 Annual Convention in Chicago. Isn't it ironic that Atkinson's name does not appear on the list of eminent psychologists? I assume he would be one of those relegated to No. 100. What a shame!

DENIS NISSIM-SABAT, PHD
Mary Washington College

SURELY, WITH ALL THE SOPHISticated and compelling research on stereotypes, prejudice and unconscious bias recently presented in the Monitor, someone must have at least considered cautioning readers that the list of "top 20th century psychologists" might display systematic bias such that extraordinary contributions by women and non-whites would be more likely to be (as it tragically turned out, almost completely) forgotten and neglected.

JENNIFER J. FREYD, PHD
University of Oregon

Abuse by clergy

I AM A LICENSED CLINICAL psychologist with a specialty in trauma treatment. I am also a survivor of abuse by a priest, going public with the first wave of survivors in the early 1990s. The June Monitor article "Can psychology help a church in crisis?" implies that the answer is to attempt to "pedophile-proof" the Church. This is impossible and ultimately irrelevant. The key cause of this crisis is an authoritarian, patriarchal, medieval power structure that is not accountable to its constituency and acts as if it's not accountable to civil authorities.

Your article also fails to mention the victims. This matches the Church's rhetoric, which is to offer softly murmured regrets and apologies to the victims. The Church then runs support groups only for their own priests and stipulates gag orders for any lawsuit settlements. The Church's lawyers ask victims if they "liked it" and ask parents why they didn't supervise their children more closely. And let's not forget all those mental health professionals who are to blame, according to the bishops, for giving such bad advice in the past. Do you want psychologists to volunteer for the scapegoat role?

Despite the good intentions, your article unwittingly colludes with the Church authorities that are the prime cause of this crisis.

J. MICHAEL SULLIVAN, PHD
Las Vegas

I WANT TO EXPRESS MY CONCERN that we psychologists seem to be silent on what sexual abuse does to the children who are so victimized by powerful adults. I would like to encourage those mental health professionals who are knowledgeable in this area to use their power of the spoken and written word to educate the public. I would encourage these psychologists to use a variety of mediums to help people better understand the issues related to the sexual abuse of children.

From my observation, there is little being said as to why victims have such long-term difficulties. I hope that some knowledgeable members of APA will come forward to begin to educate the public concerning the victim's perspective and struggles.

ELAINE H. MCGANN, PHD
Hinton, Va.

On mental health parity

WHEN PARITY PASSES, I'LL BE put right out of business, and so may you.

First, parity would only apply if clients chose in-network providers. Out-of-network providers, pack your bags. Second, managed care will be in an ever-greater position to run the show for all of us because more clients will use in-network options. And when in-network options are used, managed care runs the show.

APA, why would you even think of endorsing this plan that empowers managed care? I believe many would agree with me that managed care has worked to systematically destroy the integrity and value of the services we provide. Its absolute emphasis on symptom reduction and behavior change reduces human beings to one-dimensional emotionless machines, which may be part of the original problem for which clients seek services in the first place. We preach empowerment and then give control of our time to managed care.

I have developed a full-time (25 to 30 clients per week) solo practice within two years of completing my postdoctoral training, void of all managed care. All of my clients use their out-of-network benefit options to see me or pay cash. If managed care had no psychologists on its lists, it would be at our mercy and we would be in control of our lives and our careers.

APA, please reconsider your position since a vote for parity as it applies only to in-network doctors is a vote for managed care and a vote against your members.

BYRON BLOEMER, PHD
Cedarburg, Wis.

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