Sunday, May 02, 2010

Statement of the PAP on the (Mis)Use of Psychology in the Current Electoral Campaign

he Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP)* considers some recent occurrences in the current electoral campaigns as an affront to psychologists and to psychology as a discipline and profession. In particular, partisan individuals and media practitioners have not only presented to the public fraudulent psychological reports, but have also made inaccurate statements about different aspects of the practice of psychology and the nature of psychological functioning. These irresponsible actuations have dangerous long-term effects on efforts of Filipino psychologists and other mental health professionals to address the psychological well-being of Filipinos. In this regard, the PAP would like to respond to and clarify some of the issues raised as a result of these political events.

First, the PAP denounces the release of the results of psychological tests or assessment to media and the public at large. In accordance with the PAP Code of Ethics, the results of psychological tests or assessment cannot be released to the media or the public or to any person other than the client. Any reputable individual psychologist or psychological organization ensures the practice of confidentiality and that the results of psychological tests or assessment are only shared with the client. Psychologists take reasonable steps to ensure that information to be disclosed will not be misused, misunderstood or misinterpreted to infringe on human rights, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Second, the PAP denounces the suggestions made by politicians, media practitioners, and others to force political candidates to take psychological tests or assessment. In accordance with the PAP Code of Ethics, individuals cannot be subjected to psychological tests or assessment without their informed consent. Any reputable individual psychologist or psychological organization ensures that informed consent is acquired from the client before conducting psychological tests.

Third, the PAP denounces the insinuation that people who see a psychologist or any mental health professional is “abnormal” or “permanently debilitated”. The PAP condemns the insinuation that depression is a permanent disability; and the use of words like “abnoy” , ‘sira ang ulo’and “may diperensiya sa utak” to label individuals. These irresponsible statements and similar acts perpetuate a profound lack of understanding of psychological concepts, of the nature of psychological problems and dysfunctions, and of the nature of psychological health and wellbeing.

The PAP would like to stress to politicians, to media practitioners, and to the public at large that seeing a psychologist or any mental health professional does not make a person “abnormal”. Seeing a psychologist means ensuring our mental health and psychological wellbeing.

Board of Directors
Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP)
1 May 2010

*Note: The Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP), a professional organization of psychologists founded in 1962, is committed to the promotion of excellence in the teaching, research, and practice of psychology. It is a non-stock, non-profit corporation whose national membership includes teachers, researchers, and practitioners of psychology. Its members adhere to the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists which recognizes that “ethics is at the core of every discipline”.

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