MPA Listserv Moderation

MPA adheres to listserv guidelines published by APA

On Professionalism, Politics, and Persuasion on our MPA Listserv:

The MPA Listserv is intended to foster community and to discuss issues that are of interest to the science and practice of psychology. Most of the time, our listserv is a lively and collegial forum that self-regulates well. From time to time, as in other social media platforms, it can be prone to tension and conflict. To support the former and assuage the latter, we honor our Civility Policy, which in turn is informed by the APA Code of Ethics.

As helping professionals, our passionate commitment to alleviate human suffering leads us naturally to strong positions on a variety of social and political issues. We benefit from our members’ diverse voices that are informed by intersecting theoretical, ethnic, gender, racial, political, spiritual and cultural positions and identities. We strive at all times to be mindful of when our voice might inadvertently lead others to feel marginalized or unwelcome.
Fortunately, in these times of deep division and polarization, we have the training and expertise to lead by example and engage in constructive conversation. When posting items of interest on the Listserv, how do we navigate the moving-target boundary between expressing public good advocacy and making partisan political statements?

We invite you to use the science and ethics of psychology as the primary lens through which to express your views.
How does this look in practice? At a panel on public good advocacy at last summer’s APA Convention, the presenters, taking family separation as one example, offered the following frame:

  • Keeping families together is a social justice issue grounded in psychological science about child development and childhood trauma.
  • Providing mental health services to affected children (who will most likely be covered by Medicaid) is a practice issue grounded in psychological ethics.
  • Keeping practitioners’ reimbursements at a level that will encourage psychologists to participate is a guild issue.

We aim to model our discourse after our common framework of science and ethics. In that spirit, we aim to focus on foundational ideas and avoid posting judgement about politicians and others who hold different views.
The MPA Listserv is intended to address issues through the lens of the science of psychology and of the practice of psychology. It is expected that content posted on the Listserv will fall within this frame. If it does not, then it likely does not belong on the MPA Listserv. 
The science and ethics of psychology is the common language that unites us as psychologists. It reminds us of what we have in common. It gives us a shared moral foundation on the basis of which to invite others to enter and consider our unique points of view. It opens the door to conversation and persuasion.
There are many venues available for the expression of political views, but only the MPA Listserv offers a setting for addressing issues of the science and the application of psychology. We all need to protect this unique space.
On behalf of the Listserv Moderation Team, we welcome your comments:
Lissa Patterson, PhD ([email protected])
Christina Limke, PsyD ([email protected])

Howard Moore, PhD ([email protected])