American Psychological Association

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American Psychological Association

Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Membership 150,000
Official languages English
Secretary-General Gerald P. Koocher, Ph.D.
Formation 1892
Official website

The American Psychological Association (APA) is a professional organization representing psychology in the US. It has around 150,000 members and an annual budget of around $70m. 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." [1]

The APA was founded in July 1892 at Clark University by a group of 26 men. Its first president was G. Stanley Hall. There are currently 54 professional divisions in the APA. It is affiliated with 58 state and territorial and Canadian provincial associations.

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."<ref>APA: About Us</ref>.

Due to the dominance of clinical psychology in APA, several research-focused groups having broken away from APA. 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). Within APA, the Science Directorate provides support and voice for psychological scientists.

APA is perhaps best known for APA style, a writing style and formatting standard widely used in the social sciences (especially psychology), and is occasionally confused with the American Psychiatric Association (who also use the acronym APA).

When it emerged that psychologists are advising interrogators in Guantánamo and other US facilities on improving the effectiveness of torture, the Association refused to advise its members not to participate in such interrogations. <ref>Break them down: Systematic use of psychological torture by US forces (PDF; Physicians for Human Rights); Stephen Soldz: Psychologists, Guantánamo, and Torture: A Profession Struggles to Save Its Soul (ZNet)</ref> Rather than make a new blanket statement about psychologists involved in military intelligence gathering operations, APA's Ethics Office advised psychologists to continue to follow the ethics rules set forth over the years in order to respect individual rights and the good of society. <ref> Ethics and interrogations: Comparing and contrasting the American Psychological, American Medical and American Psychiatric Association positions</ref>

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American Psychological Association

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