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Psychology and the Prevention of War Trauma: An Article Rejected by American Psychologist

Written by Marc Pilisuk and Ines-Lena Mahr

Author Note

Marc Pilisuk, emeritus professor, University of California; professor, Saybrook University. He is a past President of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence. His awards for teaching, research, and action in peace, justice and transformative change include the 2011 Howard Zinn award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association.

Ines-Lena Mahr completed her undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts and Science at the University College Maastricht in the Netherlands, focusing on Psychology and International Relations. In Fall, 2013, she will start the Masters programme in Social and Cultural Psychology at the London School of Economics.

Abstract

The role of professional psychology in providing assistance to soldiers and veterans was highlighted by an issue of the American Psychologist devoted to  a program for using positive psychology for resilience training. Shortcomings of that approach led to AP agreeing to another issue to alternative perspectives. This article was not accepted by their reviewers. Since it is critical of the relation between the American Psychological Association and US military, readers deserve the opportunity to see what was rejected. Psychologists have an obligation to provide a full measure of options for addressing soldier distress including those that might encourage release from service. Psychologists also have an ethical obligation to question the rationale by a sponsoring organization, the armed services, for exposing the soldier recipients of psychological services to unwarranted risks of preventable wars. Application of positive psychology to resilience training in the current military system fails to meet these responsibilities.

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