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The American Psychological Association (abbreviated APA) is a professional organization representing psychologists in the U.S.marker, with around 150,000 members and an annual budget of around $70m. The American Psychological Association is occasionally confused with the American Psychiatric Association, which also uses the acronym APA.

Profile

Mission

The APA mission statement is to advance psychology:
  • 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.


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.".

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.

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.

APA style

APA is well known for APA style, a writing style and formatting standard widely used in the social sciences.

Publications

The American Psychologist is the Association's official journal. APA also publishes 68 other journals encompassing most specialty areas in the field, including:

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 2008, PsycINFO has collected information from 2,337 journals. Similar databases operated by other organizations include PsycLit and Psychological Abstracts.

History

Founding

The APA was founded in July 1892 at Clark Universitymarker by a group of 26 men. Its first president was G. Stanley Hall. There are currently 54 divisions in the APA, and it is affiliated with 60 state, territorial, and Canadian provincial associations [6799].

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.

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. 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. Most mainstream health organizations are critical of conversion therapy and no mainstream medical organization endorses conversion therapy.

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."

Psychologists advising interrogators

When it emerged that psychologists as part of the Behavioral Science Consultation Team were advising interrogators in Guantánamomarker 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.Critics pointed out that the APA declined to advise its members not to participate in such interrogations.This was in contrast to the APA ban in May, 2006 of all direct participation in interrogations by psychiatrists, and the American Medical Association ban in June 2006 of the direct participation in interrogations of physicians.

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.” The resolution became official APA policy in February 2009.

See also



Notes

  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. Journals By Title
  8. http://www.apa.org/about/division.html
  9. R. L. Spitzer, "The diagnostic status of homosexuality in DSM-III: a reformulation of the issues", American Journal of Psychiatry 138 (1981): 210-15.
  10. "An Instant Cure", Time; April 1, 1974.
  11. The A.P.A. Normalization of Homosexuality, and the Research Study of Irving Bieber
  12. 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.
  13. Former APA President Supports NARTH's Mission Statement, Assails APA's Intolerance of Differing Views
  14. APA Press Release, August 20, 2007
  15. 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)
  16. Statement on Interrogation (PDF file)
  17. New AMA ethical policy opposes direct physician participation in interrogation


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. Journals By Title
  8. http://www.apa.org/about/division.html
  9. R. L. Spitzer, "The diagnostic status of homosexuality in DSM-III: a reformulation of the issues", American Journal of Psychiatry 138 (1981): 210-15.
  10. "An Instant Cure", Time; April 1, 1974.
  11. The A.P.A. Normalization of Homosexuality, and the Research Study of Irving Bieber
  12. 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.
  13. Former APA President Supports NARTH's Mission Statement, Assails APA's Intolerance of Differing Views
  14. APA Press Release, August 20, 2007
  15. 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)
  16. Statement on Interrogation (PDF file)
  17. New AMA ethical policy opposes direct physician participation in interrogation


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