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Posts Tagged ‘American Psychiatric Association

The ethical position of the American Psychiatric ( APA) Association and the code of ethics for psychiatrists about torture came to prominence about 10 years ago when I was Speaker of the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association. At this time the Assembly endorsed the position of the Board of Trustees of the APA about […]

The following is a shortened edited version of the Presidential Address which I gave at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry held in New York May 2014.  This article in edited form will also appear in the next issue of the The Forum, a magazine published by the […]

Last week President Obama announced that he would begin to send letters of condolence to the families of troops who kill themselves in combat zones. This is a change in policy which has been advocated by many groups including families of soldiers who have died by suicide as well as many mental health professionals. One such family is that of Chance Keesling who died by suicide in June of 2010. Despite the accomplishment by the President of this important change it should be noted that the new policy still has some wording in it which make it inherently unfair and discriminatory.

Psychological problems are expected after the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In the past American psychiatrists with experience in disaster psychiatry have offered assistance to colleagues in other countries who are dealing with a catastrophic event and it is expected that this will occur with the current incident. In the initial phase psychological first aid will be given to the survivors and then symptoms of acute stress will be addressed. Between 10-50% of those impacted can be expected to develop symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. Expertise in risk communication will also be helpful in dealing with the task of informing the public. This becomes especially relevant with the threat of radiation contamination from damaged nuclear reactors.

There are very few reasons that a psychiatry blog should discuss the recent change in policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” After all, homosexuality is not a mental disorder and this is a case of righting a wrong of discrimination and an example of social justice. However, until 1973 American psychiatry considered homosexuality as a psychiatric diagnosis. The behind the scenes story of how the American Psychiatric Association reversed it’s official policy towards homosexuality is explained in an interview that Dr. Blumenfield had with Dr. Alfred M. Freedman who at the time was President of that organization. There are links to a transcript of that interview as well as a 3 part video broadcast on You-Tube or the entire audio of the interview on Shrinkpod which is a podcast.


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