Elizabeth Carll, PhD
Revision of APA Ethics Code
Council approved revision of Ethics code 3.04 (Avoiding Harm) prohibiting psychologists from torture to define the term in 3.04(b) as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person, or in any other cruel, inhuman, or degrading behavior that violates 3.04(a).
Also considered was an action that would have allowed psychologists to provide mental health services to detainees at sites where detainees are denied protections under the U.S. Constitution. Due to the complexity of the issue and the need to craft specific language, the Council decided to postpone consideration until the February 2017 meeting.
Council received as information an update on the APA Commission on Ethics Processes concerning its on-going work and plans for completion in February 2017. Council also received a verbal update from Melba Vasquez, PhD, and Paul Wolpe, PhD, Co-Chairs of the Commission on Ethics Processes.
Other Actions of Council
- Approved the new membership category of Friends of Psychology. These “shall be individuals who are interested in the mission of APA, advancement of psychology as a science and as a profession to improve human welfare. They shall have such privileges as may be granted by Council, including special rates for subscriptions and publications. Friends of Psychology is open to individuals who are not eligible for other APA membership categories. They will not be Members of the Association and shall not represent themselves as such.” This new category would create a way for those interested in psychology to become more engaged with APA and the field.
- Council voted against adding the item, “APA Apology to War-on-Terror Victims of Torture and Abuse” to its August 2016 agenda. Council did not receive the item in final form at least two weeks prior to the August Council meeting and a vote of Council was taken to add the item after a Council member objected to the item being added. The item will be included on Council’s February 2017 agenda.
- Council voted to approve the continued recognition of Forensic Psychology as a specialty in professional psychology for a period of seven years.
- Council voted to approve an extension of recognition of Family Psychology as a specialty in professional psychology for an additional period of one year to expire in August 2017.
- Council voted to approve an extension of recognition of Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders as a proficiency in professional psychology for an additional period of one year to expire in August 2017.
- Council voted to adopt as APA policy the Guidelines for Integrating the Role of Work and Career into Professional Psychology Practice and approved August 2023 as the expiration date for the Guidelines.
- Council voted to adopt as APA policy the Resolution on Psychologists in Integrated Primary Care and Specialty Health Settings
- Council voted to adopt as APA policy the Resolution on the Free and Responsible Practice of Science, Freedom of Movement Scientists, and APA International Engagement
- Council voted to adopt the Resolution on the Maltreatment of Children with Disabilities
- Council voted to refer the item “Removal of Barriers to Admission to Doctoral Programs in Psychology Created by the Use of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores to a work group comprised of the mover of the item and the item’s lead and referral groups to be brought back to Council in February 2017.
- Council voted to refer the item “Transparency of Decisions” to the Work Group on Organizational Policies and Procedures. This item would require that all open session votes taken by the Board of Directors, Council Leadership Team, and Council of Representatives be recorded by names of voting individuals and posted on the APA website for full members to view. The intent of the item was to bring complete transparency and accountability of decisions made by elected leaders. APA’s general counsel recommended that this item be postponed in order to make revisions because posting how each Council member votes in open session would require a bylaws change. It was also recommended to refer this item to the Task Force on Organizational Procedures because they will also be looking at transparency issues.
The delegation of financial responsibility to the BOD is scheduled to be voted upon February 2017, after a 3-year trial period. CFO/COO Archie Turner gave Council an update on APA‘s financial health. Due to time constraints and allocation of time, this important report was truncated so that Council was not able to discuss their issues, questions, or concerns. This was of concern to some due to the upcoming vote as to the delegation and the need for adequate discussion prior to the vote.
The financial update by Mr. Turner included the importance of the need for an integrated budget to bring together all cash sources and expenses into single streams. Real estate holdings are a significant factor in APA assets. Since 1995, real estate has contributed $69 million to APA operation. The APA Net Asset Goal is to have 4 months of operating expenses, which is approximately $36 million. This goal was met for the year ending December 2015 with total net assets of $42 million. Standard and Poor’s Rating reflects APA’s current financial health and outlook as measured by an independent financial rating agency. The Association Rule requires a minimum rating of BBB. APA’s bond rating remains at BBB with a stable outlook.
Awards and Recognitions
Kimberly A. Gorgens, PhD, and Gwendolyn P. Keita, PhD, were presented with presidential citations. Donald N. Bersoff, PhD, JD, was presented with the Raymond D. Fowler Award for Outstanding Member Contributions and David Barlow, PhD, was recognized for his contributions to the American Psychological Foundation.