October 5, 2015
The treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay seems to be a huge debate in the field of psychology. Many feel that it violates the code of ethics by doing harm to another person intentionally. Others feel that it is nothing that will be a long term problem so they are doing nothing wrong. The fundamental principle of “Do No Harm” is fortified in Standard 3.04: “Psychologists take reasonable steps to avoid harming their clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, organizational clients, and others with whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and unavoidable.” (Essig, 2014). In response, the American Psychological Association (APA) adopted its “Policy Related to Psychologists’ Work in National Security Settings and Reaffirmation of the APA Position Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” two years ago (Eidelson and Aalbers, 2015).
The issue at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is that psychologists helped to exploit the weaknesses of detainees. They were there essentially to “break down” those who were detained. Psychologists there helped to find and use the weakness of those who were detained. They devised what could be considered a backwards treatment plan. Instead of developing a treatment plan that would help the detainees the developed a plan to mentally break them down. Mohammed Jawad, one of the detainees was 17 years old. He was charged in a grenade attack in Afghanistan that injured two United States soldiers and a translator (npr.org, 2008). Jawad’s military attorney states that in 2003 an Army psychologist, quote “devised a plan intentionally designed to cause emotional devastation and to break Mr. Jawad.”(R. Knox, 2008). This was done by an extreme form of isolation based on the recommendation of an unnamed Army psychologist. Other instances have claimed to be left naked…