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American Psychological Association

Logo of the APA
Formation 1892
Headquarters 750 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C., United States
Membership 152,000 members
2010 President Carol D. Goodheart, EdD
CEO Norman Anderson, PhD
Website www.APA.org

The American Psychological Association (abbreviated APA) is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the U.S. and is the world's largest association of psychologists with around 152,000 members including scientists, educators, clinicians, consultants and students and has an annual budget of around $70m. The American Psychological Association is occasionally confused with the American Psychiatric Association, which also uses the acronym APA.

Contents

Profile

Mission

The APA mission statement is to advance psychology:[1]

  • as a science and profession and
  • as a means of promoting health, education, and human welfare by the encouragement of psychology in all its branches in the broadest and most liberal manner;
  • by the promotion of research in psychology and the improvement of research methods and conditions;
  • by the improvement of the qualifications and usefulness of psychologists through high standards of ethics, conduct, education, and achievement;
  • by the establishment and maintenance of the highest standards of professional ethics and conduct of the members of the Association;
  • by the increase and diffusion of psychological knowledge through meetings, professional contacts, reports, papers, discussions, and publications;
  • thereby to advance scientific interests and inquiry, and the application of research findings to the promotion of health, education, and the public welfare.[2]


The APA core values statement

The American Psychological Association commits to its vision through a mission based upon the following values:

  • Continual Pursuit of Excellence
  • Knowledge and its Application Based Upon Methods of Science
  • Outstanding Service to its Members and to Society
  • Social Justice, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Ethical Action in All that We Do

Awards

Each year, the APA recognizes top psychologists with the "Distinguished Contributions" Awards; these awards are the highest honors given by the APA, and among the highest honors that a psychologist or psychology researcher can receive.

  • Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Psychology (Early Career / Senior)
  • Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest (Early Career / Senior)
  • Award for Distinguished Scientific Applications of Psychology
  • Award for Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training in Psychology
  • Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research
  • Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Practice in the Public Sector
  • Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology

The use of "psychologist" as title

APA policy on the use of the title psychologist is contained in the General Guidelines for Providers of Psychological Services: "Psychologists have a doctoral degree in psychology from an organized, sequential program in a regionally accredited university or professional school" and suggests "refer[ence] to master's-level positions as counselors, specialists, clinicians, and so forth (rather than as 'psychologists')." A definition of psychology is offered: "the study of the mind and behavior."[3].

Present organizational structure

APA comprises an executive office, a publishing operation, offices that address administrative, business, information technology, and operational needs, and four substantive directorates:

  • the Education Directorate accredits doctoral psychology programs and addresses issues related to psychology education in secondary through graduate education;
  • the Practice Directorate engages on behalf of practicing psychologists and health care consumers;
  • the Public Interest Directorate advances psychology as a means of addressing the fundamental problems of human welfare and promoting the equitable and just treatment of all segments of society; and
  • the Science Directorate provides support and voice for psychological scientists.

Affiliate organizations

The American Psychological Association Practice Organization (APAPO) and the Education Advocacy Trust, which operates autonomously as a part of APAPO, are 501(c)(6) entities, separate from APA. They engage in advocacy on behalf of psychological practitioners and health care consumers and psychology education, respectively.

The Psychologically Healthy Workplace program

The Psychologically Healthy Workplace is a program sponsored by the American Psychological Association designed to promote better employment practices. The program and award recognizes employers that provide outstanding work environments and programs in five key areas: employee involvement, work-life balance, employee growth and development, health and safety, and employee recognition. Awards are given at the state and national level.[4][5]

2007 national award winners included: El Nuevo Dia, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Healthwise, Koinonia Homes, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network.[6]

APA style, flawed sixth edition

APA is well known for APA style, a writing style and formatting standard widely used in the social sciences. The sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, issued in July 2009, contains more than 19 pages of errors in academic papers for which the APA has issued 19 pages of corrections on its blog.[7]

In addition, the APA has issued eight pages of corrections to fix errors of spelling, punctuation, usage and incorrect application of APA sixth edition style throughout the first printing of its Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.[8]

In the first paragraph of its eight-page correction list, the APA asks buyers and other users of the APA style guide "to check the copyright page (unnumbered p. iv) to determine which printing you are using."[9]

The American Psychological Association produces the main style guide used by a range of fields, including communications, education, psychology, sociology, economics, business, nursing and justice administration, and other fields.[10] [11] The fifth edition was published in 2001.

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association Consumers can not determine by the ISBN if a copy is filled with errors.(6th ed.)

Discussion of the details of the errors and corrections to the sixth edition are contained in the APA's online blogs and on blogs frequented by scholarly APA style users who have advised the APA of ethical ways to handle crisis management without doing damage to its reputation as a publisher.[12][13]

Gavin W. Henning, associate director for assessment in Dartmouth College's Office of Institutional Research, told Inside Higher Ed that he is "concerned about the quality of the product we're getting. The APA manual is about precision in writing and having the manual be as imprecise as it is seems wrong to me." [14]

The sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association has gone into its second printing with corrections. However, there is no easy way for the buyer to determine whether a copy for sale is the error-laden first printing or the corrected second printing because the ISBN number of both printings is the same.[15]

To determine whether a copy of the sixth edition is uncorrected, APA advises customers to "Check the copyright page, opposite the Table of Contents. If it is a second printing, the second paragraph will read "Second printing: August 2009." If it is the first printing, this information will appear on the last line, near the bottom of the page.[16]

To date, the manual has received seventeen 1-star reviews on Amazon (1 star representing the lowest possible rating), representing more than one-quarter of all reviewers. Themes in consumers' comments mention that the APA "should be ashamed" and deplore their "abuse of power"; call the manual "faulty and defective," "useless," and "worthless"; call for an apology from the APA; and urge other consumers not to buy the manual [2]. Reader comments on the Inside Higher Ed article about the errors (Epstein, 2009) expressed similar sentiments and also called for compensation from the APA, likening the 6th edition of the manual to a defective product.[17]

Mary Lynn Skutley, editorial director for APA books, responded to customer complaints about the style guide on the APA blog. [18] Skutley told Inside Higher Ed that the manual, was "very complicated to put together" because it includes 188 style rules and 980 examples. "With so much in the book, it's unavoidable that we wouldn't need to make corrections of some kind," she said.[19]

Publications

The American Psychologist is the Association's official journal. APA also publishes 74 other journals encompassing most specialty areas in the field, including:[20]

PsycINFO

APA maintains an abstract database named PsycINFO. It contains citations and summaries dating from the 1800s, including journal articles, book chapters, books, technical reports, and dissertations within the field of psychology. As of January 2010, PsycINFO has collected information from 2,457 journals.[21] Similar databases operated by other organizations include PsycLit and Psychological Abstracts.

History

Founding

The APA was founded in July 1892 at Clark University by a group of 26 men. Its first president was G. Stanley Hall. There are currently 54 divisions in the APA,[22] and it is affiliated with 60 state, territorial, and Canadian provincial associations [3].

Dominance of clinical psychology

Due to the dominance of clinical psychology in APA, several research-focused groups have broken away from the organization. These include the Psychonomic Society in 1959 (with a primarily cognitive orientation), and the Association for Psychological Science (which changed its name from the American Psychological Society in early 2006) in 1988 (with a broad focus on the science and research of psychology). Theodore H. Blau was the first clinician in independent practice to be elected president of the American Psychological Association in 1977.[23]

Past presidents

Controversies

Conversion therapy

National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), the main secular group advocating conversion therapy, opposes the APA's 1973 statement that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.[24][25][26] There is a concern in the mental health community that the advancement of conversion therapy itself causes social harm by disseminating inaccurate views about sexual orientation and the ability of gay and bisexual people to lead happy, healthy lives.[27] Most mainstream health organizations are critical of conversion therapy and no mainstream medical organization endorses conversion therapy.[27][28][29][30][note 1]

Robert Perloff, APA's 1985 president and NARTH's 2004 annual conference keynote speaker, said in 2001 that the APA should "ease strictures" against conversion therapy stating "First, the data are not fully in yet. Second, if the client wants a change, listen to the client. Third, you're barring research."[31][32]

The APA adopted a resolution in August of 2009 stating that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.

The "Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts"[33] also advises that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and instead seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services "that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth."

Psychologists advising interrogators

When it emerged that psychologists as part of the Behavioral Science Consultation Team were advising interrogators in Guantánamo and other U.S. facilities on improving the effectiveness of the "Enhanced interrogation techniques", the Association called on the U.S. government to prohibit the use of unethical interrogation techniques and labeled specific techniques as torture.[34] Critics pointed out that the APA declined to advise its members not to participate in such interrogations.[35] This was in contrast to the American Psychiatric Association ban in May, 2006 of all direct participation in interrogations by psychiatrists,[36] and the American Medical Association ban in June 2006 of the direct participation in interrogations of physicians.[37]

In September 2008, APA’s members passed a resolution stating that psychologists may not work in settings where “persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law (e.g., the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions) or the U.S. Constitution (where appropriate), unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights.”[38] The resolution became official APA policy in February 2009.


Amending the Ethics Code

In February 2010 APA's Council of Representatives voted to amend the association's Code of Ethics to make clear that its standards can never be interpreted to justify or defend violating human rights. Following are the two ethical standards and the changes adopted. Language that is in bold was newly adopted:

1.02, Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority

If psychologists’ ethical responsibilities conflict with law, regulations, or other governing legal authority, psychologists clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code and take reasonable steps to resolve the conflict consistent with the General Principles and Ethical Standards of the Ethics Code. Under no circumstances may this standard be used to justify or defend violating human rights.

1.03, Conflicts Between Ethics and Organizational Demands

If the demands of an organization with which psychologists are affiliated or for whom they are working are in conflict with this Ethics Code, psychologists clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code, and take reasonable steps to resolve the conflict consistent with the General Principles and Ethical Standards of the Ethics Code. Under no circumstances may this standard be used to justify or defend violating human rights.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Mainstream health organizations critical of conversion therapy include the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Association of School Psychologists, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, and the National Education Association.

References

  1. ^ APA's Mission
  2. ^ Members expand mission statement, student representation, membership category, Monitor on Psychology, Volume 34, No. 3 March 2003
  3. ^ APA: About Us
  4. ^ Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards, apapractice.org
  5. ^ Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program website, phwa.org
  6. ^ 2007 National Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards, phwa.org
  7. ^ [19 pages of corrections to the APA's Publication Manual http://supp.apa.org/style/PM6E-Corrected-Sample-Papers.pdf]
  8. ^ ["Corrections to the First Printing of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition (July 2009)" http://supp.apa.org/style/PM6E-1st-Printing-Reprint-Corrections.pdf]
  9. ^ http://supp.apa.org/style/PM6E-1st-Printing-Reprint-Corrections.pdf "Corrections to the First Printing of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition, Errors in APA Style Rules July 2009"]
  10. ^ [http://blogs.lib.ncsu.edu/crisiscom/entry/the_apa_s_reputation_management "The APA's Reputation Management in the Wake of the Error- Laden 6th Edition of its Ubiquitous Publication Manual" by Tara Hudson of the North Carolina State University Library. Oct. 25, 2009]
  11. ^ "Correcting a Style Guide" by Jennifer Epstein. October 13, 2009
  12. ^ APA discusses its errors of style and where to find corrections http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2009/10/note-to-apa-style-community-sixth-edition-corrections.html]
  13. ^ "The APA's Reputation Management in the Wake of the Error-Laden 6th Edition of its Ubiquitous Publication Manual" by Tara D. Hudson, North Carolina State University Library. Oct. 25, 2009
  14. ^ http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/10/13/apa# Correcting a Style Guide: Scholars turn to style manuals for guidance in authoring error-free manuscripts, but what happens when the manual itself is laden with errors?" by Jennifer Epstein. October 13, 2009]
  15. ^ Reprint Corrections, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition
  16. ^ Reprint Corrections, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition
  17. ^ "The APA's Reputation Management in the Wake of the Error-Laden 6th Edition of its Ubiquitous Publication Manual"
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/10/13/apa# Correcting a Style Guide: Scholars turn to style manuals for guidance in authoring error-free manuscripts, but what happens when the manual itself is laden with errors?"]
  20. ^ Journals By Title
  21. ^ "PsycINFO Journal Coverage". American Psychological Association. January 2010. http://www.apa.org/pubs/databases/psycinfo/coverage.aspx. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  22. ^ http://www.apa.org/about/division.html
  23. ^ "Noted psychologist Theodore Blau". St. Petersburg Times. February 1 2003. http://www.sptimes.com/2003/02/01/Hillsborough/Noted_psychologist_Th.shtml. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  24. ^ R. L. Spitzer, "The diagnostic status of homosexuality in DSM-III: a reformulation of the issues", American Journal of Psychiatry 138 (1981): 210-15.
  25. ^ "An Instant Cure", Time; April 1, 1974.
  26. ^ The A.P.A. Normalization of Homosexuality, and the Research Study of Irving Bieber
  27. ^ a b "Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation & Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel". American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, The Interfaith Alliance, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, National Education Association. 1999. http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/justthefacts.html. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  28. ^ "American Medical Association policy regarding sexual orientation". American Medical Association. 2007-07-11. http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/our-people/member-groups-sections/glbt-advisory-committee/ama-policy-regarding-sexual-orientation.shtml. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  29. ^ "Homosexuality and Adolescence" (PDF). Pediatrics, Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics 92: 631–634. 1993. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/92/4/631.pdf. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  30. ^ "Physician Assistants vote on retail clinics, reparative therapy". SpiritIndia.com. http://www.spiritindia.com/health-care-news-articles-10085.html. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  31. ^ Murray, Bridget (2001-12). "Same office, different aspirations". Monitor on Psychology. http://www.apa.org/monitor/dec01/aspirations.html. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  32. ^ Former APA President Supports NARTH's Mission Statement, Assails APA's Intolerance of Differing Views
  33. ^ Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts
  34. ^ APA Press Release, August 20, 2007
  35. ^ Stephen Soldz: Psychologists, Guantánamo, and Torture: A Profession Struggles to Save Its Soul (ZNet, 3 August 2006); Protecting the Torturers Bad Faith and Distortions From the American Psychological Association (CounterPunch, 6 September 2006); Letter to the CEO of the American Psychological Association (OpEdNews.com, 28 November 2006)
  36. ^ Statement on Interrogation (PDF file)
  37. ^ New AMA ethical policy opposes direct physician participation in interrogation
  38. ^ http://www.ethicalapa.com/referendumtext.html

External links








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