December 8th, 2007
Loralie Lawson, a psychologist in New Hampshire, becomes the latest to resign from the American Psychological Associatio. Here is her letter of resignation:
Loralie Lawson, PhD
Nashua, New Hampshire 03060
December 5, 2007
Norman B. Anderson, PhD, CEO
American Psychological Association
750 First Street
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Dear Dr. Anderson:
We met once and spoke briefly. I recall you telling me that you were traveling to meet as many psychologists as you could, to see what they were thinking and what they needed from the APA. I feel I must say this to you now.
I knew I was going to become a psychologist, no matter what it took, when I was 17 years old. At the time, and nearly to this day, I had a shining vision of what a psychologist was. What evolved, in part, was that I believed psychologists were dedicated to helping people, enhancing their lives. I believed they protected victims and helped them heal. And the dictum “First, do no harm” was part of the bedrock underlying all that I believed of psychologists. This was what I needed to do with my life, what I needed to be.
I was a student member for years and a full member of the APA starting in 1992. I was so proud to be a part of this organization! I had the APA plaque on my wall, displayed with as much pride and dignity as I display my diplomas. Being a member of the APA was a large part of my professional identity, a part of how I fulfilled the dream and conviction I had at 17.
The American Psychological Association took a vote last August responding to the issue of detainees, interrogations, torture, and violations of human rights. A firm and definitive resolution was rejected, a compromise was made.
This compromise resolution, especially what it does not say, tarnishes the vision I hold of the profession of psychology and psychologists. I have been thinking and reading about this since the August vote, looking for any possible rationale to be able to stay in the APA. I just cannot. I have taken the APA plaque from my wall—I can not be identified with its position on human rights.
Therefore it is with a great deal of sadness, a great deal of grief, and feelings of great personal loss that I must resign from the American Psychological Association.
Loralie Lawson, PhD
Sharon Stephens Brehm, President, APA
Alan Kazdin, President-elect, APA
Division 42 Council Representatives:
Sandra Rose, NH Council Representative