A junior Air Force psychologist, Captain Wren is given 6-month orders to a detention facility housing enemy combatants. Although his role is clinical in nature—he provides care to detainees—he becomes uncomfortable when some of his clients report harsh treatment by guards and inter- rogators. Captain Wren also worries about whether “behavioral science specialists” assigned to assist interrogators have any access to his client records. His worries escalate dramatically when he learns that his professional organization, the American Psychological Association (APA), has passed a resolution. This new APA policy prohibits psychologists from working in national security detention settings that operate in violation of international law or the U.S. Constitution. Captain Wren seeks consultation from an Air Force lawyer but cannot get a definitive answer about whether it is unethical for him to work at his current duty station, yet he worries that refusing to continue his work may violate his legal obligation to fulfill his active duty commitment.
Source: Johnson, W. Brad, Grasso, Ian, and Maslowski, Kate (2010), 'Conflicts Between Ethics and Law for Military Mental Health Providers', Military Medicine, 175 (8), 548-53.