Human rights track at the ECP 2017 in Amsterdam

European Congress of Psychology 2017, Amsterdam:

Psychology addressing Society’s greatest Challenges

 

Human Rights' Track

 

EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology organised the following symposia:

 

1.      Human rights and applied psychology: inclusion and development (EFPA17)

2.      Human rights and psychology, hand in hand, addressing the challenges of childhood risk and adversity (EFPA25)

3.      Human rights education for psychologists (EFPA26)

4.      Psychologists for human rights: a historical and global perspective (EFPA29)

 

 

Human Rights and Applied Psychology: Inclusion and Development (EFPA17)

 

Chair: Artemis Giotsa, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece

Discussant: Robertas Povilaitis, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania


The concept of Non-Discrimination is one of the core principles of Human Rights for psychologists. Inclusive psychology will complement this principle and attempt to implement the central theme of many of the international Human Rights conventions, such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD, 1965, 1969). The principle applies to everyone in relation to all human rights and freedoms and it prohibits discrimination on the basis of a list of non-exhaustive categories such as LGBTI, religion, physical (non-)abilities, age and ethnic group. In this symposium, the psychological consequences of exclusion will be discussed, as well as the expertise psychologists and their associations can contribute to an open and inclusive psychology. In Europe, psychologists should be aware of the exclusion of minority groups, like refugee children, LGBTI people, and ethnic minority groups, and be informed about the research done by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). http://fra.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources Next to the concept of Inclusion, the principles of Dignity and Freedom are meant to prevent dehumanizing methods and circumstances and promote the development of people. Psychologists and their associations have according to their professional codes of conduct- a societal responsibility. An action oriented approach is needed. To advance inclusion in society, psychologists need to participate in the public debate. The first paper refers to the environmental protection and human rights and more specifically to the consequences of climate change, which is going to cause severe changes in the living conditions of people, and is responsible for a dramatic increase of forced migrations. The paper focuses on the role of psychology in this field in order to understand the potential threats to mental health as well as the ways in which resilience and adaptation could be enhanced. Also other issues are clarified adopting a social-psychological point of view. The second paper concerns the enrolment of psychologists in the protection of human rights in Croatian society, based on examples of sexual and gender minorities. The paper reveals the urgent need in adopting affirmative psychological guidelines and professional ethical standards concerning human rights as well in working with LGBT clients and other minorities on the behalf of Croatian psychological professional society and educational system. The third paper is based on the story behind the decision of PSI to comment on a matter concerning changes to the constitution of the republic of Ireland. This paper discusses the reasons why Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) entered the debate that was described as the civil rights issue of the generation. It is described how PSI supports legislation and social policies advancing equality for, and social inclusion of, all people and more specifically, the proposed constitutional change to provide for full marriage equality for same-sex couples. The last paper describes the path from ignorance to awareness and encourages discussion of the ethical, moral, and professional obligations with difficult social issues.

Presentations:

 

Enrolment of psychologists in the protection of human rights in Croatian society, based on examples of sexual and gender minorities (EFPA17.1)
Iva Žegura, University Psychiatric Hospital Vrapče, Zagreb, Croatia


When talking about human rights within traditional cultures such is Croatian society, enormous professional, legal and policy challenges that have impeded the struggle for human rights for gender and sexual minorities over the past few decades are evident. In 2013 the homophobic constitutional referendum that defines marriage as union exclusively between men and women was held. But despite that, in 2014 the „Same sex partnership law“ was adopted. As a contrast to these grim realities, the past decade has witnessed as promising in gender and sexual rights. Additionally the right to health, there have also been efforts to challenge employment discrimination against gender and sexual minorities. Gender and sexual minorities are often victims of hate crimes, homophobic, transphobic, heteronormative oppression, domestic violence, bulling, sexual violence, discriminatory employment practices, denial of family benefits for same-sex partners, and access to family medical leave, prejudicial and biased approach from the side of health and mental health services. The latest is most visible in the field of mental health professions as well in the field of psychology. There are only few educated psychologists in the field of sexual health and in affirmative practices concerning psychological assessment, counselling and psychotherapy with LGBT minority clients within Croatian psychological society. From the side of psychological professional organisations, the lack of clear acceptance of affirmative psychological practice guidelines in working with sexual and gender minority clients and corresponding ethical principles is evident. This allows for some psychologists to practice governed by their personal belief systems and prejudices when working with LGBT clients, leaving them with harmful consequences of such practices and with no strict professional and ethical sanctions for that. There is urgent need in adopting affirmative psychological guidelines and professional ethical standards concerning human rights as well in working with LGBT clients and other minorities on the behalf of Croatian psychological professional society and educational system. Promising new strategies toward the realization of gender and sexual rights are also being paved through activist, legislative means, but most of all based on continuous education that lies on scientifically facts, high ethical principles and evidence based affirmative professional practices.

Human rights, ecological crisis and communities; social-psychological aspects of human-environment relationships (EFPA17.2)
Bruno Maria Mazzara, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy


The link between environmental protection and human rights has been widely explored, in terms of the reshaping of traditional human rights in the light of increasing ecological problems, but also towards the definition of a new set of human rights, more specifically related to the environment. In particular, a lot of attention has been dedicated to the consequences of climate change, which is going to cause severe changes in the living conditions of people, and is responsible for a dramatic increase of forced migrations. The role of psychology in this field has been usually devoted to understand the potential threats to mental health as well as the ways in which resilience and adaptation could be enhanced. In addition to these, other issues may be clarified adopting a social-psychological point of view. One of them is how environmental related problems and environmental rights, as well as traditional human rights endangered by environmental problems, could enter in the life space of individuals as ethical matters, mainly characterised in terms of intergenerational perspective. More in general, attention should be paid to the social-psychological processes involved in the shaping of ecological citizenship and public engagement, which are often firstly activated at the level of local communities and of interpersonal relationships, and sometimes related to some form of inclusive democracy project. These experiences show the crucial role that the relationship with the environment plays in psychological life: as stated by eco-psychological movement, a sense of ecological embeddedness and an optimal reciprocal connection with the nature are essential to ensure personal well-being and to foster environmental action and sustainable lifestyles.

What has psychology got to do with same sex marriage? Why the Psychological Society of Ireland got involved in the world’s first referendum on same sex marriage. (EFPA17.3)
Paul D’Alton, School of Psychology, University College, Dublin, Ireland


For hundreds of years Ireland was synonymous with Catholicism; being Irish meant being Catholic. Ireland was once considered the most Catholic country in the world. The Catholic Church remains vehemently opposed to same sex marriage. However, in May 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to make same sex marriage legal through popular vote. The debate that engulfed the country in the months leading up to the referendum was heated. The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) became one of the first professional associations to enter the debate. It was the first time in the history of PSI that it entered a debate on a matter concerning an amendment to the constitution. This paper tells the story behind the decision of PSI to comment on a matter concerning changes to the constitution of the republic of Ireland. This paper will discuss the reasons why PSI entered the debate that was described as the civil rights issue of the generation. The most significant reason for PSI entering the public debate was a policy on Equality and Inclusive Practice (EQuIP) adopted in 2008. This policy is an addendum to PSI's Code of Ethics. The EQuIP policy essentially served as the mandate for PSI to issue a statement on the proposed marriage equality referendum concluded: The PSI supports legislation and social policies advancing equality for, and social inclusion of, all people. In this context, and on the basis of existing evidence, the PSI is supportive of the proposed constitutional change to provide for full marriage equality for same-sex couples. This paper will conclude with a reflection on these events in the context of the principles and practices of Human Rights and action oriented psychology. This paper will close with a reflexive account of the author’s role as president of PSI during the time of the same sex marriage referendum in Ireland.

 

The Accidental Activist: The path from ignorance to awareness, and holding our profession accountable (EFPA17.4)
Jeanne LeBlanc, Independent Practice, Vancouver, Canada


In 2004, a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross, found that US health professionals were overseeing an 'enhanced interrogation program' in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a US military site, holding 'detainees'. It is now known that psychologists were involved with the design of this program, as well as the supervision and/or implementation of these interrogations at times. Within the American Psychological Association, efforts by a number of 'dissenting' psychologists were made towards passing policy to prohibit psychologists from participating in these abuses and/or working directly with those detained. At the same time, a small group of psychologists, continued to fight against changes in APA policy, with alleged efforts to dilute APA's response and manipulate the process. Ultimately APA commissioned an Independent Review („The Hoffman Report“) to evaluate these allegations. The review concluded that APA officials colluded with the Department of Defence, and continued to collude with a small group of operational psychologists to defeat efforts from the APA's Council of Representatives for reform. In August 2015, in response to these findings, APA enacted a number of actions to confirm the organizations stance against participating in such activities, reviewing and strengthening a number of policies and procedures. This presentation will focus upon a first-person account of a mid-career professional entering into this controversy as an APA Council Representative, lessons learned, and the professional and personal costs and benefits of speaking out against aspects of one's own profession. Suggestions will be made regarding the need to increase training and awareness regarding activism beginning at the graduate level -- including methods to increase coping with personal attacks, professional isolation, encouraging continued motivation, and maintaining an ethical stance. Furthermore, this presentation will encourage discussion of our ethical, moral, and professional obligations with difficult social issues, and how this impacts our decision regarding whether or not we will act.

 

Human rights and Psychology, hand in hand, addressing the challenges of childhood risk and adversity (EFPA25)

Chair: Kerstin Söderström, Norway Inland University College of Applied sciences, Lillehammer, Norway; Inland hospital Trust, Br


This symposium addresses the mutual relevance of human rights and psychology in child protection and promotion of health and well-being. Safe environments and nurturing relationships in early childhood are crucial for the individual’s physical and mental health, as well as future education and employment. It also strengthens communities and nations economic development and ability to cope with challenges such as conflict, climate change and poverty reduction. Poverty and violence are major threats to children’s development globally, for example linked to armed conflict, domestic and sexual abuse, or inadequate nutrition. But even economic growth and rapid social changes might affect family life and children’s mental health negatively (Weiss et al., 2014). Be it dissolving traditions and family coherence, inadequate protection and care-arrangements, or pollution and threats from climate change. Gender-based violence and sexual exploitation are widespread and abusive forms of human rights violations that target individuals, relationships, and the capacity to care for self and others. When parents are victims, children suffer. When children are victims, the developmental path is at risk. Violations occur in many forms, in intimate relations, as punishment and forced submission, as victims of paedophilia and organized internet-crime, as ill-treatment and torture in police stations and prisons, in war and ethnic cleansing, and as trafficking and modern forms of slavery. 71% of all trafficking victims are women and girls, and one third are children (Global Report on Trafficking in Persons). All nations but one have signed the Convention on the Childs rights, and all have agreed to a common agenda though the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the well-being of people and the planet. This symposium rests on the assumption that the SDGs, human rights, and early childhood development (ECD) are closely linked, and that psychological knowledge is important for all. The objective of the symposium is to link human rights and psychology through discussions on a) how psychological knowledge and methods can be put into play to reach the SDGs, b) children’s needs and mental health in rapid urbanization and societal change, c) national and international action to fight gender based and sexual abuse, and psychological care for victims of such violence, and d) didactic material for children to improve children’s knowledge about potential sexual abuse situations by training a set of competences: body safety, appropriate and non-appropriate touches and secrets, how to recognize and express emotions, internet safety and the importance of asking for help (Agulhas, Figueiredo, & Alexandre, 2016). Examples are drawn from several countries, notably from Vietnam and Portugal.

Presentations:

 

Psychology and children’s rights as complementary frameworks to protect and support childhood (EFPA25.1)
Kerstin Söderström, Norway Inland University College of Applied sciences, Lillehammer, Norway; Inland hospital Trust, Br


The objective of this presentation is to explore the mutual relevance of Psychology and Human Rights, with particular focus on early childhood development and adverse childhood experiences.The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) provides a cross-culturally acceptable and, in many nations, a judicial framework to ensure the best interest of the child. The science of early childhood development provides valuable content to the CRC, and the CRC is a potent force for putting psychological knowledge into use. However, the fruitfulness of this alliance depends on awareness, knowledge, and acknowledgement of each other’s fields and conceptual frameworks. The presentation links on to EFPAs policy paper "Psychology matters in Human rights. Human rights matter in Psychology", and the EFPA recommendation that all member associations establish boards of human rights and psychology. Method: Literature on psychology and Human rights were assessed in search for models that combine the two frameworks. In addition, the Norwegian Psychologists Association is used as a case example of how Human Rights can be embedded in policy paper and professional agenda. Conclusion: For psychology and psychologists to fulfil our social responsibility to promote Human Rights and prevent and alleviate the effects of Human Rights violations, human rights must be part of the basic education for psychologists, and be clearly inscribed in the ethical codes of psychologists. Psychologists should be highly aware of how human rights violations affect development and mental health, and how own professional conduct can protect but also jeopardize human rights. At the organizational and individual level psychologists should know their own countries human rights obligations and the routes to report and influence policy and practice.

 

Reaching global goals through the fulfilment of young children’s rights (EFPA25.2)
Ragnhild Dybdahl, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science, Oslo, Norway


This presentation shows how the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), human rights, and early childhood development (ECD) are closely linked, and that psychological knowledge is crucial for all. All nations have agreed to a common agenda though the SDGs. ECD is central in a number of the 17 goals. Development in children's early years is crucial for the individual's physical and mental health, as well as for education and employment. It is also crucial for communities and nations' economic development and ability to cope with challenges such as conflict, climate change and poverty reduction. Poor development in the early years has serious negative effects on individuals, communities and nations. Poverty and violence constitute major threats the young children's development globally, for example linked to armed conflict, domestic abuse, or inadequate nutrition. Nearly 40 % of children in developing countries do not reach their potential due to stunting, often caused by poor nutrition and psychosocial care. There is strong evidence on the importance of ECD. There is sufficient knowledge on what to do, to act now. In spite of this, too little is happening too slowly. In order to achieve the goals we should employ a human rights based approach and put the strongest evidence-based interventions to use. Psychologists have important roles to play.

The impact of rapid urbanization on children mental health in low and middle income countries: Vietnam as a case example (EFPA25.3)
Hoang-Minh Dang, Vietnam National University at Hanoi, Hanoi, Viet Nam


Over the past 20 years, Vietnam, like other low and middle income countries, has undergone the transition of developing from a primarily rural, agricultural economy to a more modern, mixed industrial economy. As a result, Vietnam's GDP growth has been stabilizing at 6.19% per year from 2000-2016 (World Bank, 2016). However, these gains have come at some social costs, with industrialization and urbanization increasing in a rapid, uncontrolled manner, with people moving to the cities to seek economic opportunities. This urbanization involves changes in social support and life events which have been shown to increase risk for development of mental health problems, particularly among children and adolescents. Our study aims to assess (a) the prevalence or other characteristics of psychosocial risk factors related to urbanization in Vietnam (family status, parenting, life events, social environment, etc.); and (b) the relations among these risk factors to Vietnamese children's mental health outcomes. The studied used a 3 wave longitudinal design, with 6 months between assessments. 240 participant families from two sites, Hanoi and a rural area within 200 kilometers of Hanoi were assessed.

Combatting Sexual and Gender based violence International action and local support and treatment to victimized parents and children (EFPA25.4)
Nora Sveaass, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture, Oslo, Norway


Sexual and Gender based violence is encountered in many different contexts and in different appearances. It attacks the individual, close relationships, and communities, and children are affected both directly and indirectly. The need to coordinate national and international responses to these forms of violence is paramount, including protection and rehabilitation for those who have been exposed to such violence. Today sexual and gender based violence is fought against in homes and as part of intimate relations, as ways of forcing women and children to obedience and submission, as abuse of power in police stations and prisons, as torture and ill-treatment, as part of strategy in war and ethnic cleansing, and as international crime in trafficking and modern forms of slavery, in which one third of the victims are children. In all these extremely harmful situations, the state and state agents hold an important responsibility to protect, prevent, investigate, punish the responsible, and compensate the survivors, among others by rehabilitation and reparation. There is a need to understand more about the consequences of such violence, on individual, family and community level. Developing ways of dealing with these consequences is an issue of priority for policy makers as well as health personnel. This must include awareness raising and training to those who will provide services to those who have been exposed to sexual and gender based violence, be it part of international conflict, international crimes or as part of local or domestic violence. In this presentation, the special challenges for psychologists engaged in the protection and care provision for persons exposed to or at risk for such violence, is being discussed and examples from practice as well as models for training will be presented.

Didactic sexual abuse prevention materials. Vamos Prevenir: As Aventuras do Bzio e da Coral - a game for children between 6 to 10 (EFPA25.5)
Rute Agulhas, University of Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal


A collection of didactic sexual abuse prevention materials is being developed for children aged between 3 and 15 years old. The first material available since 2016 is a didactic game for children between 6 to10 and can be considered as an important tool for caregivers, organizations and communities, as it goal is to improve children's knowledge about potential sexual abuse situations by training a set of competences: children are taught about body safety, appropriate and non-appropriate touches and secrets, how to recognize and express emotions, internet safety and the importance of asking for help (secure adult). The adult who plays with the child/children has a facilitator role and as such a booklet of key information was developed and added to the game. This didactic game has started to be tested with children (playing alone with an adult or in a group of maximum of 4 children with and adult facilitator as well) and with caregivers and professionals. Promising results from this preliminary efficacy assessment have been found as they show an increase in children's knowledge and skills after playing the game. Further data is now being collected. Two other materials are now being developed - a program for pre-school children and a mobile app for teenagers and will be presented until the end of 2017.

 

Human rights education for psychologists (EFPA26)

Chair: Marlena Plavšić, Sveučilište Jurja Dobrile u Puli, Pula, Croatia

Discussant: Polli Hagenaars, EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


EFPA recognised the need that psychologists become more aware of the importance of human rights in their profession and work. In 2016 EFPA's Board Human Rights and Psychology (BHR&Psy) together with the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) and European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) initiated creation of human rights education for psychologists. An expert meeting was held in Venice that brought together psychology and human rights experts to explore common basis for developing a curriculum on human rights education and fundamental rights awareness for psychologists. Psychologists can employ their knowledge and skills in promotion of human rights, prevention of their violation, as well as in alleviating the harmful consequences of human rights violation. There is much evidence that many psychologists simply are not aware of the human rights approach in their work. Therefore the task is to raise awareness among psychologists about their role of human rights promoters within their discipline, as well as within society, thereby strengthening the community capacity, resilience and human rights culture. In the Venice meetings report it stressed that human rights are not a standard reference point within the discipline of psychology. One of the challenges is to make the standards meaningful and relevant for them as professional groups. Through a structured human rights education curriculum, psychologists would gain better access to knowledge and skills on how human rights relate to their professional, ethical code of conduct and practice. While a variety of methodologies on human rights education are available, more insight into suitable approaches and practicalities needs to be achieved. The symposium has the following objectives: (1) to report about the progress of the human rights education for psychologists initiative; (2) to explore additional ways in linking human rights education and psychology; and (3) to provide examples of human rights education programmes.

 

Presentations:

Psychologists as Human Rights advocates (EFPA26.1)
Helen Bakker, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands


Psychologists can play a key role in promoting and safeguarding human rights, e.g. by enhancing and sustaining mental health and facilitating participation and inclusion. This presentation will discuss examples of how psychologists can fulfil this advocacy role, and what this means for the training of psychologists.

 

Social psychological issues in the human rights education: a social justice perspective (EFPA26.2)
Vera Ćubela Adorić, University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia


Human rights education can hardly neglect the insights from the social psychological analyses of the human rights representations and endorsement as well as of the factors that contribute or impede the respect for human rights in general as well as in specific contexts. This review will focus on the social psychology of justice contributions to the understanding and indeed promoting the endorsement of human rights, particularly the basic human rights principles such as universality and equality. The research and theorizing on the issues such as scope of justice and moral exclusion or deservingness perception and beliefs provide valuable insights into the processes that play an important role in tolerating human rights violations and may, therefore, have implications for reducing toleration of these violations as well as of the frequently observed gap between the abstract support and a discriminatory application of the basic human rights principles. The importance of justice concerns in the human rights endorsement and violations is in fact a major issue in the forthcoming 25th Annual Conference of the Croatian Psychologists Association (25. GKHP) „Psychology in the promotion and protection of human rights and social justice“, which will take place November 8-11, 2017 in Zadar, Croatia. This contribution to the symposium by a social justice researcher and the president of the 25. GKHP Programme Committee is aimed to provide a new and fruitful perspective on the relevant issues for the development of the curriculum on human rights education and fundamental rights awareness for psychologists.

Integrating human rights into the preparation of psychologists: What can we learn from social work education? (EFPA26.3)
Felisa L. Tibbitts, Chair in Human Rights Education, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands


This presentation will overview the movement to integrate international human rights standards and values into the preparation, research and practices of social workers in the United States, with potential lessons for the field of psychology. The research is based on a review of statistical data collected by the Council on Social Work Education, combined with a curriculum content-analysis of a purposive sample of schools of social work and a literature review of social work research. The research demonstrates that human rights/social justice values are gaining an increased presence in schools of social work and literature, though still modest in scale. The human rights framework is a distinct alternative to 'ethics' courses; whereas an ethics framework is focused on the doctor-patient relationship, a human rights framework encourages critical reflection on policies influencing the roles and practices of social workers and on structural injustices that influence the rights of vulnerable populations. The presentation will conclude with reflections on potential implications for the preparation of psychologists.

 

Human rights education for psychologist: How far have we arrived? (EFPA26.4)

Marlena Plavšić, Sveučilište Jurja Dobrile u Puli, Pula, Croatia


The meeting Human Rights Education and Fundamental Rights Awareness for Psychologist, held in Venice in October 2016, gathered a group of twentyish dedicated and optimistic psychologists and experts in human rights mostly from Europe and few from other continents who shared the idea of necessity of human rights education for psychologists. After reminding why psychology matters in human rights and why human rights matter in psychology, the meeting proceeded to defining the role of psychologists and their motivation in promotion of human rights and prevention of human rights violation. The next important step was to raise awareness of what psychologists, as experts, have to offer to human rights promotion and to relate it with the ethical codes that psychological association worldwide have. Further, expected competences for psychologists in the sphere of human rights were listed. The relevant theoretical aspects for the human rights education for psychologists were discussed. Core content and optional content of the curriculum for such education were suggested, and the relevant educational sources were numbered. Examples of the best and poor psychological research and practices, malpractice as well as passivity were analysed for the educational purposes. The meeting ended with the conclusion that development of a training on human rights for both psychologists and students of psychology was necessary, at various levels: in higher education, post-doc and in continuous professional development. All three organisers of the meeting in Venice: EFPA, FRA (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights) and EIUC (European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation), as well as many participants at the meeting expressed their interest in continuation of conceiving and developing of the human rights education for psychologists. A set of actions and the timeline was proposed. For the year 2017 forming of few working groups was foreseen, as well as fundraising activities and preparation of the pilot curriculum. The presentation will inform about the progress of the human rights education for psychologists.

 

Human Rights Education (HRE). A life changing path of education about, for and through human rights. (EFPA26.5)
Alejandro Fuentes, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund, Skåne, Sweden


Human Rights Education (HRE) is a phenomenal tool for the promotion of societal change. Its aim, as recognized by the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (2011), is to develop a universal culture of human rights, in which everyone is aware of their own rights and responsibilities in respect of the rights of others, and promote the development of the individual as a responsible member of a free, peaceful, pluralist and inclusive society. HRE contributes not only to the formation of members of the society at large but also to training professionals dealing with societal problems. Psychologists are not an exception. As professionals in close contact with human realities at individual and social levels, psychologists need to be aware of the rights of the individual, not only as a patient but „most importantly“ as a human being. Knowledge about human rights could help them to establish a relationship with their patients based on rights, to deliver their services through a human rights based approach, and to reinforce the contribution of the profession for the development of a human rights culture in society. This paper elaborates upon and critically analyses the potential contribution of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training as a tool for the education and training of psychologists about human rights, through human rights and for human rights. It aims to highlight the contribution of human rights education within university or post-graduate classrooms, as a key factor for building professional skills, attitudes and behaviors necessaries for positively contribute to the general societal wellbeing.

 

Psychologists for Human Rights: A Historical and Global Perspective (EFPA29)

Chair: Polli Hagenaars, EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Chair: Ava Thompson, University of The Bahamas, Nassau, Bahamas

Discussant: Peter Kinderman, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK; British Psychological Society, UK


Psychologists all over the world deal with the consequences of human rights violations. Poverty, and lack of access to quality education and health care services are prominent factors influencing the capabilities (Sen, 2005) of people. Historical and contemporary inequality and exclusion, including the long-term consequences of colonialism, deny the human rights of the other and continue to impact the lives of individuals and communities in the global community. Further, the political agendas in many countries reflect a lack of inclusion for the diversity that represents the human reality of the 21st century and lack of attention to the critical issues that face the majority of the world’s people. In a sharp criticism, Achille Mbembe (2013) exposed the injustices of present global relations and argued that exclusion has been learnt and noted the continuity in violations of human rights. Migrant workers are replacing the enslaved individuals of recent times while armed conflict, various forms of exploitation, and oppression are further diminishing the humanity of the most vulnerable citizens around the globe and contributing to unprecedented migration and refugee seekers in many regions of the world. Psychology has traditionally had a peripheral role in addressing these challenges and contemporary scholars argue that the discipline has to play a more central role to advance the global developmental agenda. One of the core tasks of psychology in this effort is to help people and societies to unlearn exclusion as a means to improve the health and well-being of all of humanity. In this symposium, psychologists situate psychology in various historical, political and cultural contexts, and propose that by virtue of their knowledge and expertise, psychologists -individually and through their associations- have both the opportunity and responsibility to promote inclusion and freedom of development. The presenters in this symposium reflect on the relationship between human rights and psychology in the contexts where they live and work and stress the importance for fulfilling psychology’s promise to society.

Presentations:

 

The Responsibility of the Psychologist does not Stop at the Door of the Practice Room (EFPA29.1)
Polli Hagenaars, EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


This presentation addresses the questions: How can we, psychologists in Europe and worldwide, envisage a global and at the same time indigenous psychology, despite a divided past? and How can we, psychologists, work together towards a more connected future in order to improve our shared world? History and international -unequal- economic relations so far are not part of the education of psychologists. Still they have influenced psychology and continue to do so. The long history of colonization and of slave-trade has divided people, influenced their minds, brought forward theories of social Darwinism, and definitely left its traces in psychology. With large-scale discrimination and exclusion of minorities and refugees, this history is continuing in the present. A human rights based-and-oriented approach of psychology is promoted to get to know these influences, to integrate local variations in ideas and theories into a 'glocal' psychology and to connect psychologists in different parts of the world. A human rights based-and-oriented approach of psychology includes the history and the context people are living in. Authors like Frantz Fanon and Ramacharan Tripathi form an inspiration for a human rights approach; they describe the influence of history and international relations on society and the people who live there. According to their ethical codes, professional psychologists and their associations have a societal responsibility. To fully understand where this responsibility is coming from and what it contains, the societal conditions in which the science and practice of psychology has been developed, need to be explored. As a psychologist is part of society, decolonizing the mind may be desirable. A plea will be made for a human rights education for psychologists and an action-oriented professional practice.

Psychologists and Human Rights Violations (EFPA29.2)
Saths Cooper, International Union of Psychological Science, Johannesburg, South Africa


This presentation will rely on evidence from the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa (SA) and personal encounters during the Apartheid era in SA, to construct the case that psychologists should always strive for a higher ethical and moral order to guide their conduct.

 

Indigenous psychology in New Zealand: When mainstream psychology confuses the saviour role with oppression (EFPA29.3)
Waikaremoana Waitoki, University of Waikato, Waikato, New Zealand

Simon Bennett, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand


In Aotearoa New Zealand, Indigenous psychologists regularly face the daunting task of combating the mainstream narrative of Māori psychology as lacking the necessary scientific credentials to be considered a real psychology. Mainstream psychology, as an entrenched institution, is significantly influenced by societal values and attitudes of the dominant group. The mass importation of psychology into the lives of Indigenous peoples is difficult to control as mainstream psychology is aligned to epistemologies that marginalise, rather than liberate, Indigenous communities. Indigenous psychologists are concerned that our cultural knowledge is not seen as viable alternatives to mainstream psychology when so many of our people are subject to relentless structural violence and human rights violations. We are intensely concerned about racism, poverty, homelessness, violence, drug and alcohol problems, suicide and crime statistics, and we wish to retain the richness of our cultural contributions. We argue that ignoring Indigenous psychological knowledge in teaching, research and practice in favour of mainstream psychological knowledge is cultural genocide, and impacts on our ability to provide meaningful and lasting solutions for those most in need. This presentation describes the resurgence of Indigenous psychological knowledge within Māori communities as it seeks to disrupt the presumption of the universality of mainstream psychology. By providing alternative psychologies grounded in Indigenous language and customs, spirituality, family structures, and Indigenous arts, we undo the effects of human rights violations that occur for Māori.

The ethical commitment of a Cape Verdean psychology to human rights, in a global context of social inequality (EFPA29.4)
Zaida Morais de Freitas , President of the National Commission for Human Rights and Citizenship, Cape Verde

 

In this presentation, the experiences of a psychologist, working as a Human Rights Commissioner in a global context of social inequality, will be shared. Although every psychologist has an ethical societal responsibility to use the knowledge of psychology for the benefit of humanity, not all, however, are in such a position to fully fulfil this responsibility.

 

Human Rights in A Globally Responsive Psychology: The Role of Psychology Education & Training (EFPA29.5)
Ava Thompson, University of The Bahamas, Nassau, Bahamas


Psychologists in the global community have increasingly called for a more socially responsive psychology and have shifted focus to research and application that have demonstrated impact in addressing the pressing historical and contemporary issues facing the majority of the world’s population. However, there is recognition that a change in psychology education and training (PET), the foundation of the discipline, is necessary to enhance our capacity to sustainably engage with other disciplines and national, regional and international organizations committed to human development. In this presentation, I highlight core components of a Bahamian (and Caribbean) curriculum, grounded in a human rights framework, to advance the disciplinary transformation required to meet the needs of our cultural contexts. Particular emphasis is placed on teaching a critical history of psychology that includes psychology's history as a discipline of exclusion, the region's colonial history and the range of associated intra- and extra-disciplinary factors that affect the development of psychology. The presentation concludes with a call for the global collaboration in the culturally-relevant PET necessary to transform psychology into an inclusive discipline that is better able to serve all of humanity.

 

EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology & EFPA Board of Ethics jointly organised the following symposia:

 

 

1.      Psychology, ethics and human rights: uneasy bedfellows or good companions? (EFPA04)

2.      Voluntary euthanasia and ethical psychological practice (EFPA37)

 

Psychology, Ethics and Human Rights: Uneasy bedfellows or good companions? (EFPA04)

Chair: Henk Geertsema, Vrije Univerisiteit Medical Center, Center for Decision Making Capacity, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Chair: Polli Hagenaars, EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Discussant: Janel Gauthier, Laval University, Quebec, Canada


Over ten years ago, Nimisha Patel wrote To what extent do psychologists continue to reinforce inequalities by unquestioningly reaffirming existing oppressive theorising and practices, thereby maintaining the status quo and endorsing human rights violations? Or, to what extent do they attempt to facilitate empowerment by those who have suffered human rights violations, and do they challenge the social and political order by offering theoretical and practical alternatives towards a more just psychology? It is argued that for any psychologist committed to the humanitarian values embedded within psychology, the challenge is, first, to engage in critical reflection of their own professional and personal biases, which serve the social order and which contribute to the perpetration of abuses of power and the maintenance of social inequalities; and, second, to seek more just alternatives? (Patel, 2003). Have we made progress since then and has the development of Codes of Ethics contributed to any significant impact of psychology on human rights? The Hoffman Report on the role of psychology in torture techniques (Hoffman, 2015) suggested that Codes of Ethics have limited value unless backed up by effective governance and management of institutional conflicts of interests. The session will address some of these issues, from different perspectives and associations. The question will be addressed whether we have reached a time when Human Rights and Psychology can be more fully addressed by psychology’s professional bodies. References Hoffman, D. (2015). Report to the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association Independent Review relating to APA ethics guidelines, national security interrogations, and torture. Retrieved from Washington: http://www.apa.org/independent-review/APA-FINAL-Report-7.2.15.pdf Patel, N. (2003). Clinical Psychology: Reinforcing Inequalities or Facilitating Empowerment? The International Journal of Human Rights, 7(1), 16-39. doi:10.1080/714003792

Presentations:

 

Psychological Science, ethics and human rights competence (EFPA04.1)
Tony Wainwright, Convenor of EFPA Board of Prevention and Intervention Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Exeter, Devon, UK


The British Psychological Society Ethics Committee has published guidance on the teaching and assessment of ethical competence in psychology education (Bullen & Wainwright, 2015) that takes as its starting point that while values may be shared and have universal appeal (and this is of course a contested area) the way these values are practiced depends on many complex variables. It also considered the developing field of moral psychology to have much to offer. Furthermore, understanding the psychology of bias, for example, is helpful in explaining why unethical behaviour can develop. The guideline development group used the four component model (Rest, 1982) as a simple and accessible approach. It is proposed that this model could be developed for teaching about human rights and psychology and highlight the way the two related systems overlap. University of Exeter, UK The immediate past chair of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Ethics Committee and also a member of the European Federation of Psychological Associations (EFPA) Board of Psychology and Human Rights and a representive of the BPS on the EFPA Board of Ethics. References: Bullen, K., & Wainwright, T. (2015). Guidance on teaching and assessment of ethical competence in psychology education. Retrieved from Leicester: http://www.bps.org.uk/what-we-do/ethics-standards/ethics-standards: Rest, J. (1982). A Psychologist Looks at the Teaching of Ethics. The Hastings Center Report, 12 (1), 29-36.

 

Reflections on the integration of human rights into codes of ethics (EFPA04.3)
Carole Sinclair, Independent Practice, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada

 

The Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists has included reference to human rights since 1991. The rationale for this and the significance of the distinction made in the Canadian Code between moral rights and human rights will be outlined, as well as its concept of psychology as a moral community that has both individual and collective ethical responsibilities. This will be compared with approaches taken in ethics codes and ethical templates (e.g., the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists) from other parts of the world. Reflections on the benefits, difficulties and impact of integrating human rights into ethics codes will be offered.

 

From collusion and cover-up to exposure and policy change (EFPA04.4)
Steve Reisner, Psychoanalyst in private practice, Co-Founder, Coalition for an Ethical Psychology Member of APA's Council of Representatives - Division of Psychoanalysis, New York City, USA


The American Psychological Association's collusion with the Department of Defense and the CIA in support of their enhanced interrogation programs stands as one of the great scandals in medical ethics. The presenter, who spent nearly a decade working to expose and correct APA's ethical failure, will present the history of the controversy, from collusion and cover-up to exposure and policy change, with an emphasis on institutional conditions that promote a culture of collusion and how this might be prevented in the future.

 

 

Voluntary euthanasia and ethical psychological practice (EFPA37)

 

Chair: Tony Wainwright, Convenor of EFPA Board of Prevention and Intervention Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Exeter, Devon, UK

Discussant: Henk Geertsema, Vrije Univerisiteit Medical Center, Center for Decision Making Capacity, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

As a joint session of the European Federation of Psychologists Associations (EFPA) Board of Ethics and the EFPA Board of Human Rights and Psychology, we will hear presentations from both and ethics and a rights perspective on psychological practice and voluntary euthanasia. In many countries, assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia is illegal, but in recent times, laws have been passed either decriminalising or legalising it. The objectives of this symposium are to explore the experience of psychologists who have worked in this area both in countries where it is legal and those where it is not.

The session will review psychologists approach to this topic drawing on direct experience as well as published guidelines (see for example the Australian Psychological Society https://www.psychology.org.au/publications/statements/euthanasia/). We hope to consider the situation in countries where it is possible for children to request that their life be ended, and the ethical challenges this poses for psychologists who may be called upon to assess competence.

What are the ethical questions surrounding conscientious objection to participating in the counseling of older people contemplating ending their own lives? How can a psychologist distinguish between such wishes to die and being suicidal, and what consequences follow if this judgment is flawed?

In Europe and more globally, there is no consensus on this issue, and we will have the opportunity to explore the ethical questions this raises for psychologists working in different countries. The various ethical principles for example dignity, respect, autonomy have particular meanings at the end of life. In addition we will explore how a rights perspective can also help psychologists when considering how to frame this complex area of practice.

In addition we will also cover some research comparing suicide with euthanasia and the concept of a good death, and its meaning. Some death is seen as a bad death or tragedy for example the sudden death of a young person. For an older person who has had a good life their death may be seen as a good death. These ideas will be explored to consider the psychological issues that are in play.

 

Presentations:

Can we ever accept a wish to die? Suicide and its link to euthanasia. (EFPA37.1)
Ines Costa Maia, Porto University, Faculty of Medicine, Porto, Portugal


We consider the way we analyse suicidal behaviour and how its inherent processes of death ideation can overlap with those of euthanasia. We present a review of three main events in suicide (suicidal ideation, suicide attempt and suicide) in different populations and evaluate the implications for medical practice and risk assessment, especially in the context of euthanasia and death-assisted practices. Furthermore, we ponder upon the motives behind a wish to die and the possibility of its reversal, as well as a potential process of differentiating between individuals who would maintain their wish and benefit from termination of life. Our work aims to offer an outlook on the controversial topic of self-death and fuel discussion over concerns with regulation of assisted-death practices.

 

Euthanasia: Why yes or no is not the point? (EFPA37.2)
Miguel Ricou, Department of Community Medicine, Information and Health Decision Sciences. Bioethics.


Euthanasia is a conflict between the respect of the patient autonomy and the value of life. Due to the importance these two values generally have in ones lives, double-blind discussions are often promoted. We intended to overview the possible consequences of the choices societies are forced to make. We assume there are no magical solutions capable of corresponding to everyone's wishes or needs. It is fundamental to live aside a 'yes or no decision' and to understand that an eventual answer to the euthanasia discussion will only be achieved after a hard process of carefully analysing the consequences of an active policy or of its contrary.

 

Euthanasia: Implications of the ethical principle of respect (EFPA37.3)

Ype Poortinga, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands

 

It falls within the scope of professional expertise of psychologists to counsel respectfully and competently clients who feel that their life has reached completion. In the future psychologists are likely to be confronted increasingly with requests by elderly clients to help them prepare for "self-euthanasia". Central to this presentation are the ethical principles in professional codes that prescribe how psychologists should deal and/or might deal with such requests. Respect for the dignity of the person is the most relevant principle. It will be argued that respect entails full support for a client's considered decision even if this advances self-chosen death.

The question will be raised whether psychologists are dodging their responsibility when they excuse themselves from counseling elderly clients contemplating self-euthanasia, either because of views on the sanctity of life or because of legal constraints in the country of practice. On this point the argument will be that psychologists can refer to a colleague when they feel unable to deal competently with the request of a client. However, the moral imperative of rendering services should weigh heavier than legal constraints. When a psychologist has not been transgressing the code of ethics, as judged by an adjudication committee, but is facing legal prosecution because of a client's self-euthanasia, this colleague is entitled to strong support by the community of psychologists nationally and even internationally.

 

Quality of dying as a standard of humanity (EFPA37.4)
Vita Poštuvan, Slovene Centre for Suicide Research, Andrej Marušič Institute, University of Primorska, Koper, Koper


People often perceive different ways to die differently. Sudden death of a young person would often be considered as a "bad death" or a tragedy, compared to a peaceful death of an older person who accepted the near end of the life. That would be commonly perceived as a preferred way to die and studies refer to that concept as a "good death". With the development of quality of living, the need to focus on quality of dying is growing. Psychology plays an important role in this process - from developing specific competences to gaining personal strengths and integrating ethical issues in the domain.

 

The right to die with dignity and the medical assistance in dying: Ethical challenges facing psychologists (EFPA37.5)

Janel Gauthier, Laval University, Quebec, Canada

 

The purpose of this presentation is to explore ethical issues related to the universality of the right to die with dignity and the medical assistance in dying.

An increasing number of societies that used to value the preservation of life under all circumstances now advocate and value individual rights and the right to die with dignity (e.g., Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland). The situation raises new ethical questions and dilemmas for psychologists, particularly when they are asked to communicate a position on whether or not mature minors and people with intractable mental illness should have the right to access medical assistance in dying. How does one balance the rights of the individual with the good of the broader society? How does one align the principles of enhancing human dignity, extending compassion to all, relieving suffering, empowering the individual, promoting the health and well-being of both individual and community, and respecting diverse and often conflicting ethical perspectives? In this presentation, the ethical principles espoused in the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists are used as a framework to reflect on those questions. Those principles are: Respect for the Dignity of Persons and Peoples, Competent Caring for the Well-Being of Persons and Peoples; Integrity in Human Relations; and Scientific and Professional Responsibility to Society.

 

 

EFPA SC Disaster, working group Refugees & Board Human Rights and Psychology jointly organised the following symposium:

 

Psychosocial Needs of Refugees (EFPA41)

Chair: Ulrich Wagner, University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany


Members of the Working Group on Refugees, the Standing Committee on Crisis and Disaster Psychology and the Board on Human Rights of EFPA present on the psychosocial needs of refugees and the role psychologists can play in their support. Europe is confronted with a large influx of migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Hundreds of thousands of people have left their countries to avoid war, terrorist activities, prosecution, and poverty, to seek a new life in Europe. The plight of the people is dreadful; thousands have lost their life while crossing the Mediterranean, and living conditions upon arrival in Europe are poor. While humanitarian support is improving and some EU countries take up large numbers of migrants, they generally face huge difficulties in finding a new place to live, accommodating to their new environment, building up a new life amidst prejudice and hostility, and coping with mental health problems caused by their stressful experiences. Psychological support in the European refugee crisis Prof. Ulrich Wagner Migration is the primary topic of public debates in these days. Psychologists have a broad knowledge about processes related to migration. This knowledge enables them to deliver professional help - if the aim is to reduce the suffering that often goes along with migration. Based on different examples, the presentation describes how psychological interventions and suggestions could contribute. In addition, the presentation also brings attention to shortcomings of professional help and preconditions that should be fulfilled to make psychological interventions more effective. Psychosocial Needs of Refugee Children Prof. William Yule The recently published British Psychological Society's Guidance for Psychologists working with Refugees by the Presidential Task Force on Refugees and Migrants draws attention to the particular needs of unaccompanied minors. Most are male, aged 16-18 years and often traumatised. Their mental health, educational and social care needs will be discussed. What is autonomy? Karin Teepe MA Refugees don’t come to a European country because they would seek for a better life but because they lost nearly everything. The recognition procedure of their status is long, they are sheltered or do not have a working permission, living from public aid. In these conditions, what is autonomy for them, and for helpers? What role psychologists can play on this central question?

Presentations:

 

Psychological support in the European refugee crisis (EFPA41.1)
Ulrich Wagner, University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany


Members of the Working Group on Refugees, the Standing Committee on Crisis and Disaster Psychology and the Board on Human Rights of EFPA present on the psychosocial needs of refugees and the role psychologists can play in their support. Europe is confronted with a large influx of migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Hundreds of thousands of people have left their countries to avoid war, terrorist activities, prosecution, and poverty, to seek a new life in Europe. The plight of the people is dreadful; thousands have lost their life while crossing the Mediterranean, and living conditions upon arrival in Europe are poor. While humanitarian support is improving and some EU countries take up large numbers of migrants, they generally face huge difficulties in finding a new place to live, accommodating to their new environment, building up a new life amidst prejudice and hostility, and coping with mental health problems caused by their stressful experiences. Psychological support in the European refugee crisis Prof. Ulrich Wagner Migration is the primary topic of public debates in these days. Psychologists have a broad knowledge about processes related to migration. This knowledge enables them to deliver professional help - if the aim is to reduce the suffering that often goes along with migration. Based on different examples, the presentation describes how psychological interventions and suggestions could contribute. In addition, the presentation also brings attention to shortcomings of professional help and preconditions that should be fulfilled to make psychological interventions more effective. Psychosocial Needs of Refugee Children Prof. William Yule The recently published British Psychological Society's Guidance for Psychologists working with Refugees by the Presidential Task Force on Refugees and Migrants draws attention to the particular needs of unaccompanied minors. Most are male, aged 16-18 years and often traumatised. Their mental health, educational and social care needs will be discussed. What is autonomy? Karin Teepe MA Refugees don’t come to a European country because they would seek for a better life but because they lost nearly everything. The recognition procedure of their status is long, they are sheltered or do not have a working permission, living from public aid. In these conditions, what is autonomy for them, and for helpers? What role psychologists can play on this central question?

Psychosocial Needs of Refugee Children (EFPA41.2)
William Yule, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College, London, United Kingdom


Members of the Working Group on Refugees, the Standing Committee on Crisis and Disaster Psychology and the Board on Human Rights of EFPA present on the psychosocial needs of refugees and the role psychologists can play in their support. Europe is confronted with a large influx of migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Hundreds of thousands of people have left their countries to avoid war, terrorist activities, prosecution, and poverty, to seek a new life in Europe. The plight of the people is dreadful; thousands have lost their life while crossing the Mediterranean, and living conditions upon arrival in Europe are poor. While humanitarian support is improving and some EU countries take up large numbers of migrants, they generally face huge difficulties in finding a new place to live, accommodating to their new environment, building up a new life amidst prejudice and hostility, and coping with mental health problems caused by their stressful experiences. Psychological support in the European refugee crisis Prof. Ulrich Wagner Migration is the primary topic of public debates in these days. Psychologists have a broad knowledge about processes related to migration. This knowledge enables them to deliver professional help - if the aim is to reduce the suffering that often goes along with migration. Based on different examples, the presentation describes how psychological interventions and suggestions could contribute. In addition, the presentation also brings attention to shortcomings of professional help and preconditions that should be fulfilled to make psychological interventions more effective. Psychosocial Needs of Refugee Children Prof. William Yule The recently published British Psychological Society's Guidance for Psychologists working with Refugees by the Presidential Task Force on Refugees and Migrants draws attention to the particular needs of unaccompanied minors. Most are male, aged 16-18 years and often traumatised. Their mental health, educational and social care needs will be discussed. What is autonomy? Karin Teepe MA Refugees don’t come to a European country because they would seek for a better life but because they lost nearly everything. The recognition procedure of their status is long, they are sheltered or do not have a working permission, living from public aid. In these conditions, what is autonomy for them, and for helpers? What role psychologists can play on this central question?

What is autonomy? (EFPA41.3)
Karin Teepe, Parcours dÉxil Health Care Center for Torture Victims, Paris, France


Members of the Working Group on Refugees, the Standing Committee on Crisis and Disaster Psychology and the Board on Human Rights of EFPA present on the psychosocial needs of refugees and the role psychologists can play in their support. Europe is confronted with a large influx of migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Hundreds of thousands of people have left their countries to avoid war, terrorist activities, prosecution, and poverty, to seek a new life in Europe. The plight of the people is dreadful; thousands have lost their life while crossing the Mediterranean, and living conditions upon arrival in Europe are poor. While humanitarian support is improving and some EU countries take up large numbers of migrants, they generally face huge difficulties in finding a new place to live, accommodating to their new environment, building up a new life amidst prejudice and hostility, and coping with mental health problems caused by their stressful experiences. Psychological support in the European refugee crisis Prof. Ulrich Wagner Migration is the primary topic of public debates in these days. Psychologists have a broad knowledge about processes related to migration. This knowledge enables them to deliver professional help - if the aim is to reduce the suffering that often goes along with migration. Based on different examples, the presentation describes how psychological interventions and suggestions could contribute. In addition, the presentation also brings attention to shortcomings of professional help and preconditions that should be fulfilled to make psychological interventions more effective. Psychosocial Needs of Refugee Children Prof. William Yule The recently published British Psychological Society's Guidance for Psychologists working with Refugees by the Presidential Task Force on Refugees and Migrants draws attention to the particular needs of unaccompanied minors. Most are male, aged 16-18 years and often traumatised. Their mental health, educational and social care needs will be discussed. What is autonomy? Karin Teepe MA Refugees don't come to a European country because they would seek for a better life but because they lost nearly everything. The recognition procedure of their status is long, they are sheltered or do not have a working permission, living from public aid. In these conditions, what is autonomy for them, and for helpers? What role psychologists can play on this central question?

 

 

EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology members participated at the following symposia:

 

1.      Migrants and refugees: Ethical issues and challenges for psychologists (IS09)

2.      Us and Them: Psychosocial Reactions to Migrants and Refugees (EFPA15)

3.      Migration Phenomena and the Education of Psychologists (EFPA46)

 

Migrants and refugees: Ethical issues and challenges for psychologists (IS09)

Chair: Carole Sinclair, Independent Practice, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada

Discussant: Yesim Korkut, Acibadem University, Istanbul, Turkey


Migrants and refugees have been part of the human condition throughout history. However, the number of persons displaced from their homelands and living elsewhere has increased dramatically in recent times. This situation has led to an increasing number of psychologists working cross-culturally with very vulnerable populations. This, in turn, has led to many new ethical issues and challenges, including: (i) ensuring respect for the dignity of persons whose beliefs, values and worldviews may be significantly different from and possibly contrary to one’s own; (ii) ensuring the development in ourselves and our students of sufficient knowledge and skills to choose, adapt, and/or develop approaches and methods that are beneficial and not harmful to the members of these populations; (iii) developing the self-awareness needed to work inter-culturally; and (iv) fulfilling the individual and collective responsibility of psychologists and psychology to contribute to the development of beneficial knowledge and social policies, including promotion of human rights and avoidance of social injustice. The objectives of this symposium are: (i) to provide a framework and promote international discussion regarding the ethical issues and challenges involved; and (ii) to explore strategies for dealing with these issues and challenges. In this symposium, one presenter will provide an overview of the different types of ethical dilemmas psychologists have experienced, at both the individual and system levels, with an emphasis on understanding the importance of the nature of the dilemmas. This will be followed by a presentation on the refugee experience, which will provide a framework for understanding that ethical responsibilities of psychologists lie at both the level of the individual client and in standing up for human rights. A third presenter will address the training issues and outline some emerging training models that help prepare psychologists for working with migrants and refugees. A discussant will provide comments and reflections on the presentations, and time will be available for audience questions and discussion.

Presentation:

 

We Refugees: Ethical implications of Hannah Arendt's thoughts for psychologists today (IS09.3)
Polli Hagenaars, EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


In 1943 Hannah Arendt started her article We Refugees with: "...we don't want to be called 'refugees'. We ourselves call each other 'newcomers' or 'immigrants'." Refugees, she continues, are those without means and in need of help from Refugee Committees. This involuntary change to a non-chosen, imposed, identity is one of the core characteristics of a refugee. Another characteristic is an urge to forget what happened and to build an optimism that the new country will bring a good life. In this article and the many following after 1943, Arendt describes the irrationality of a totalitarian regime and the reasons to flee, the dehumanizing experiences of refugees, the hardship to get included in the new society and to form social ties, where the old and familiar ones have been cut off. She also mentions the ongoing human rights violations, even in the country granting asylum. The writings of Hannah Arendt provide a frame of reference for the challenges faced by psychologists working with refugees. She critically analyses a society where economic interests are more important than human relations. Psychologists have a double task: they have to support their refugee-clients and have the ethical obligation to stand up for the human rights of refugees.

 

Us and Them: Psychosocial Reactions to Migrants and Refugees (EFPA15)

Chair: Saths Cooper, International Union of Psychological Science, Johannesburg, South Africa

Discussant: Pam Maras, International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS), Johannesburg, South Africa


The human disposition to strive, to improve our lot, to achieve greater heights, to explore new horizons constitute civilizations greatest achievements. The world as we have come to know and understand it has experienced migration since the birth of humanity, resulting in a necessary and wealthy diversity. However, our fast-changing geopolitical order, technological revolution and the rise of narrow nationalism especially in developed contexts, along with worsening socioeconomic conditions, have contributed to a significant increase in voluntary and involuntary migration; propelling people across the globe to migrate in the quest for a better future. Political factors, including persecution and war, have also led countless people to seek refuge in new, daunting, even hostile environments in the desire that they and their families may escape perceived and real threats to their psychological and physical wellbeing. The increased movement of migrants and refugees the world over, their apparent perilous journeys, and their fervent hope to succeed despite often treacherous and dangerous conditions has created one of the greatest global humanitarian crises of our time. To date psychology has mainly focused on individual factors associated with being a migrant/refugee or on possible psychological processes that might underpin communities negative responses to the location of refugees/migrants in their midst. The scale of the crisis requires a more considered, perhaps compassionate, response by psychology in collaboration with other disciplines. This roundtable convened by the International Union of Psychological Science brings together an interdisciplinary panel that includes leaders of the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS), and other distinguished scholars. The panel will explore some of the underlying issues that may be ignored when specific communities confront immigrants/refugees who are perceived to threaten their social security, resulting in economic uncertainty, fear, and other more primal responses which impact that society specifically and humanity generally. The panel will consider research, practice and policy from their different perspectives in order to enable our science and practice to provide humane responses to address one of society’s greatest challenges and to ensure that the way that we treat the less fortunate amongst us continues to underpin our own claim to being human.

Presentation:

 

Freedom of Identity (EFPA15.3)
Polli Hagenaars, EFPA Board Human Rights and Psychology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

„The Nazi and Soviet regimes turned people into numbers, some of which we can only estimate, some of which we can reconstruct with fair precision. It is for us as scholars to seek those numbers and to put them into perspective. It is for us as humanists to turn the numbers back into people. If we cannot do that, then Hitler and Stalin have shaped not only our world, but our humanity“ Timothy Snyder (2015). One of the most dehumanizing experiences is to be deprived of your name, not being allowed to speak your own language, and to become a number instead of a person: in short, to lose your identity. Especially since the rise of the nation-state and still today, people of influence, like some politicians or religious leaders, have misused their influence to scapegoat people, to exclude groups, to put forward an 'alternative' reality, and to divide and rule. Although differentiating between the own and the other group is a common psychological phenomenon, this does not automatically have to mean exclusion of others. People have the capacity to recognise exclusion and injustice, to be curious about other persons and groups, and to reach out to them. After WWII, the UN Declaration on Human Rights (UNDHR) and other global and national conventions, set standards for dignity, inclusion, and freedom of development. The UNDHR forms an inspiration to psychologists. As Nobel Prize Laureate Amartya Sen (2005) wrote: „Human rights are societal ethics“; however, they need an action-oriented approach. Psychologists are 'duty-bearers' for human rights. By virtue of their knowledge and skills psychologists, as individuals and through their associations, have a special responsibility for human rights and an ethical obligation to promote and defend them, not only for the identity of their clients, but also for the benefit of humanity. They need to stand up and bring the Human Factor back in the public debate.

 

 

Migration Phenomena and the Education of Psychologists (EFPA46)

Chair: Stephan Dutke, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany


Migration to and within Europe has reached a new scale of change that will have and is already having the impact of an anthropological transformation on European societies: The dimension and enrooting of new cultural groups fostered by the migration flows will have an impact on the native groups’ cultural identity. Current policies have not been designed to address such a new scenario. We are more and more aware of how current forms of integration show some limitations in building multi-ethnic societies. This feeds feelings of anxiety, injustice, anger, anomy, persecution, rigidity in the way of thinking, negative and defensive attitude towards others, loss of perspectives for the future. The growing disaffection towards political systems, localism, xenophobia, racial crimes spreading all around Europe are symptoms of the psycho-social impacts that the demographic changes are having on local communities and through them on European societies. Psychology, as with other social sciences, has the responsibility to contribute to rethinking policy in the field of migration and social cohesion. In that context, an irreplaceable role is that of academic training. Activities in the education of psychologists should promote and incentivise curricula and other educational initiatives focussing on migration phenomena. The contributions to this symposium will discuss measures designed to provide psychology students and professionals with the knowledge, competences, skills, and instruments required for interpreting the psycho-social issues related to the migration dynamics as well as to design, implement and evaluate interventions and policies in the field. Currently, several EFPA working groups are working on issues in the field of migration in and to Europe and the role of psychology in facing the challenges related to it. The contributors will present the views of the following EFPA groups: Board of Human Rights and Psychology, TF Cultural and Ethnic Diversity, Working Group on Refugees, European Awarding Committee Europsy, and Board of Educational Affairs.

Presentations:

 

Human Rights Education for Psychologists (EFPA46.1)
Artemis Giotsa, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece


Human Rights of migrants and other minorities are often violated. Psychologists play an important role in offering psychological support to victims of violations and their communities, and also in the promotion and prevention of such violations. Elements of human rights education for both psychology students and practicing psychologists will be discussed.

 

Non-Western immigration into the Western psychological system: Challenges and chances (EFPA46.3)
Ulrich Wagner, University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany

Psychology focusses on Western individuals. The transfer of Western psychological concepts on non-western individuals is questionable. For the curriculum this implies to offer trainings in intercultural awareness and competences as well as in (methodological) competencies for assessing the intercultural (non-)applicability of Western concepts.

 

 

 

Other Human Rights related events, not organised by EFPA Board Human Rights & Psychology:

 

 

Poster:

 

P8.1.10 Convention Rights of the Child CRC, an operational tool for psychologists 
Gabriella Scaduto, Ordine degli Psicologi della Lombardia, Milano, Lombardia, Italy



Ethics of Clinical Supervision: Culture, definitions, human rights, and context (EFPA09)

Chair: Carol Falender, Pepperdine University, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Discussant: Yesim Korkut, Acibadem University, Istanbul, Turkey


The ethics of clinical supervision, although a neglected topic, has major impacts on global practice of psychology. In this symposium, a global lens will be applied to address multicultural clinical supervision, definition complexities, ethics, human rights and social justice, and social, and contextual aspects. Clinical supervision provides the foundation of expertise through establishment of competencies and ethical practice. Although competency-based supervision is a growing phenomenon internationally, attention needs to be focused on enhancing the value attached to supervision, a distinct professional practice that has the potential to provide the structure and protocol for supervisees to practice ethically and professionally. Internationally, there is high variability in value attached to supervision, multicultural context, and to the underlying ethical foundations ensuring and prioritizing human rights. The highest duties of supervisors are protecting the public, gatekeeping for the profession, and enhancing the development, growth, professionalism, and competence of supervisees. Lack of agreement on definition, cultural components and competence, and contextual aspects present barriers to implementation and more widespread training and leads to devaluation or inattention to the entire process of clinical supervision. In this symposium, presenters from Norway, South Africa, New Zealand, Turkey, and the United States will compare views of ethics of supervision and human rights through their local contexts.

Presentations:

 

Developing a rights-based, culture-sensitive approach to clinical supervision (EFPA09.1)
Anthony Pillay, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


While supervisors are unlikely to wilfully cause harm to their trainees or patients, supervision practices can inadvertently undervalue issues of cultural significance. Against the backdrop of South Africa's multicultural society and its history of human rights violations, the presentation explores these important factors in supervision.

 

Developing common European guidelines for supervision (EFPA09.2)
Nina Dalen, nevropsykolog.no, Oslo, Norway


Europe is known for its multifaceted diversity. This diversity is also reflected in a rich variety of higher education systems. The presentation will explore how EFPA Board of Ethics is facing the diversity, preparing guidelines for supervision, with professional ethics as a focal point of supervision.

 

Are Guidelines Enough? Ethics and Social Justice in Clinical Supervision (EFPA09.3)
Carol Falender, Pepperdine University, Los Angeles, CA, USA


Although Guidelines for Clinical Supervision were developed in the United States, less attention has been devoted to multiculturalism and human rights and ensuring that supervisees receive ethical supervision. This presentation describes progress on these fronts and ideas for future enhancement of clinical supervision to address complexities.

 

Supervision in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Developing cultural competence in a post-colonial society (EFPA09.4)
Fiona Howard, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, New Zealand


In Aotearoa/New Zealand, the Treaty of Waitangi provides the foundation for ethical practice and cultural competence. This presentation explores a bi-cultural approach to supervision which foregrounds issues of diversity, giving prominence to the values of respect and dignity of persons and acknowledgement of power within relationships.

 

 

Socio-Cultural Pressure (TS50)

Chair: Takafumi Sawaumi, Ryutsu Keizai University, Ryugasaki-shi, Ibaraki, Japan; Center for Research on Educational Testing

 

Presentation:

 

The Association between the Perception of Human Rights Violation and the Trust in Public Institutions (TS50.3)
Meryem Kaynak-Malatyali, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey


The aim of this study is to investigate the association between the perception of human rights violation and the trust in public institutions. The study also aims to examine the mediating roles of system justification and the belief in a just world in this association. Participants of this study were 217 (136 female, 81 males) undergraduate students. They completed the scales for perception of human rights violation, for belief in a just world, for system justification and for trust in public institutions. A mediation analysis was conducted via Process macro to test the hypotheses of this study. Results showed that perception of human rights violation negatively predicted the trust in public institutions. Results also showed that the belief in a just world and system justification mediated the association between the perception of human rights violation and the trust in public institutions. That is, perception of human rights violation tended to decrease the trust in public institutions through low levels of belief in a just world and system justification.

 

 

Prepared by:

Marlena Plavšić