BGSP Faculty Member Spearheads Movement to Ban Psychologists From Guantanamo …

Aug 17, 2015

​​​​​​​BGSP Faculty member Stephen Soldz, Ph.D., took on the American Psychological Association, co-leading the movement to remove psychologists from abusive national security interrogations. His efforts culminated in the APA’s vote of August 7, 2015, when the APA voted overwhelmingly (157-1) to ban psychologist participation in national security interrogations.

“This vote has enormous implications, for both the APA and the profession of psychology,” commented Dr. Soldz. “It will also add pressure to the movement to close the Guantánamo facility and reform the interrogation policies of the national security agencies.”

For over nine years, Soldz searched for the truth about psychologist involvement in national security interrogations.  With the recent release of the Hoffman Report, to which Soldz and his colleagues contributed extensive research, Soldz says that the American Psychological Association was forced to lift its veil of secrecy and denial.

​Soldz also worked to counter the APA’s elaborate public relations strategy denying its collusion with the Department of Defense and other government agencies, and the resulting blindness of uninvolved leadership and membership.

Since the release of the investigation report, the APA implemented several of the recommendations of Soldz and his colleague Steven Reisner, including firing the APA Ethics Director.  The report also resulted in the early retirement of the APA’s CEO and Deputy CEO, the resignation of its Director of Public Relations, and the resignation of a former APA director as Provost of Alliant International University. Most critical, however, was the 157 – 1 vote of APA’s Council of Representatives to ban psychologist participation in national security interrogations, bringing psychologists into line with the medical profession, which has an established ban on such activities.

Dr. Soldz’s next project will convene a working group at BGSP, bringing together diverse stakeholders to examine the ethics of operational psychology:  the use of psychological knowledge to further military and intelligence operations.

Dr. Soldz is a psychoanalyst, clinical psychologist, and active researcher.  He is the Director of the Center for Research, Evaluation, and Program Development at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, where he also practices and teaches. Dr. Soldz is interested in the application of psychoanalytic concepts to social issues. He is a past president and a current steering committee member of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, a co-founder of Psychologists for an Ethical Psychology, and Anti-Torture Advisor for Physicians for Human Rights. Dr. Soldz was a professional consultant on several Guantanamo trials.

 About the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis

The Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis is a regionally-accredited, independent graduate school granting master’s and doctoral degrees in psychoanalysis and in psychoanalysis, society, and culture, as well as certificates in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, child and adolescent intervention, and psychoanalysis. BGSP also has branch campuses in New York and New Jersey.

Contact: Jeila Irdmusa, 617-277-3915 x32

Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis Newsroom

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