In this issue

Council of Representatives report

Highlights from the APA Council of Representative meeting in Toronto, Canada.

By Sandra J. Bishop-Josef, PhD

The APA Council of Representatives met in Toronto, Canada, in August, during the Annual APA Convention. The most noteworthy action taken by Council was the adoption of a resolution that bans psychologists from participating in national security interrogations for military or intelligence agencies. (The prohibition does not apply to domestic interrogations or domestic detention settings where detainees are under the protection of the U.S. Constitution.) The resolution also aligns APA's definition of cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment with that of the U.N. Convention Against Torture. The vote on the resolution was nearly unanimous (with only a few abstentions). The resolution was one of the first actions taken by Council in response to the Hoffman report, released in July 2015 that determined that some APA officials “colluded with important DOD officials to have APA issue loose, high-level ethical guidelines that did not constrain DOD in any greater fashion than existing DOD interrogation guidelines.” Council also voted to make public the costs associated with the Hoffman report, which were $4.3 million through July 15 (later updated to a final figure of $4,989,377).

In other actions, the Council of Representatives adopted a resolution on video games. This resolution urges the video game industry to design games that are appropriate to users' age and psychological development, and urges the Entertainment Software Rating Board to adjust its rating system to reflect the level of violence in the games. This resolution emanated from the APA Task Force on Violent Media, which reviewed the relevant research on the effects of violent video games. Another aspect of the resolution was a call for more research on the impact of video game violence, given limitations in current studies. (See a copy of the resolution; PDF, 307KB.)

Council also adopted new guidelines (PDF 461KB) for practice with transgender and gender nonconforming people, reflecting the latest research on these populations. Other guidelines, on trauma competencies for education and training, were adopted as APA policy. These competencies are to guide U.S. education and training for practice and are based on work conducted at a national consensus conference on trauma.

If division members have questions concerning Council matters, please contact me.