Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 1, 2009


British Medical Journal - Under the American Psychological Association's code of ethics, animals have more protection than detainees. Kenneth Pope, an independent psychologist, and Dr Thomas Gutheil, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, maintain that the APA has enforceable standards that support the "humane treatment" of laboratory animals but that detainees who may be vulnerable or at risk are not afforded the same protection. . . After 9/11, the APA changed its code of ethics which now runs contrary to Nuremberg principles and differs to how doctors operate, say the authors. The new code allows its members to set aside any ethical responsibilities that are in irreconcilable conflict with government authority, they say.


Anonymous Mairead said...

Psychiatry and (I'm sorry to say) psychology deal in "adjustment".

The de-facto definition of emotional and mental health is unconflicted adjustment to the surrounding culture. People who are "well-adjusted" are considered ipso-facto healthy by most clinical practitioners.

The late psychiatrist Eric Berne MD was one of the few who considered adjustment an inadequate and sometimes even pathological standard. In illustration, he offered a little parable in which a young man, living with his widowed mother, came home ecstatic one evening - he'd received a major promotion! His mother expressed her pride and happiness, and made a special dinner to celebrate. As they finished the bottle of wine, she asked him to tell her the details. "Oh Mutti, it was so surprising", he said. "This morning I was only a guard but now I'm the lieutenant in charge of the ovens!"

One wonders whether the APA policy-setters would benefit from (re-)reading Berne's parable. Or even understand it.

May 2, 2009 10:38 AM  

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