by William Van Ornum, Ph.D. on
AMHF Advisory Board member Dr. James Quick has authored an extensive comment in the recent American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association. In that journal there has been an extended discussion about the role of psychologists in working with the military as well as questioning as to whether or not psychologists ought to work within the military. As both a psychologist and former Army colonel, Dr. Quick speaks with experience and authority on this issue, and he challenges his own professional group on a number of issues. Some of his comments include what follows.
“Suicide is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the burden of suffering among patriotic young American service men and women. What I am deeply impressed with is the functional, positive outcomes experienced by the majority of these young service members. The question I asked at our last Defense Health Board meeting was: What do we know abut the top 10% of our young men and women who are exposed to armed conflict, chronic war stress, and trauma yet keep on ticking with vigor and vitality? I don’t believe we know enough, and no, I cannot answer my own question….
“My prayer is that psychology does not go the way of the drug industry, overselling benefits and under-reporting risks, harm, and side effects. Yes, drugs save lives. Yes, psychology saves lives. We did that with prevention at Kelly Air Force base between 1995 and 2001 in the midst of the largest Federal military installation closures in U.S. history….
“APA and the American Psychologist need to stay grounded in science, not sell infomercials. The line between the two can be fuzzy.”