Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join WSPA
Community Search
WSPA Statements on Public Issues

On September 1, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a historic speech to members of the American Psychological Association who gathered in Washington, D.C. for its 75th Annual Convention. Dr. King spoke directly about the problems of racism and segregation in our country, and he called on psychologists as social scientists to assume a more active role in their eradication. Fifty years later Dr. King’s words have taken on a new sense of meaning and urgency not just for psychologists but for our nation as a whole.

The Charlottesville white nationalist rally in August in which three people lost their lives and many others were injured follows a nationwide increase in hate crimes in the past year. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported as many as 1,094 incidents in the first month after the presidential election last year, and 1,863 between November 9 and March 31 of this year. There are 917 hate groups currently operating in the United States according to SPLC. Considering that most hate crimes are not reported to the police (Bureau of Justice Statistics), these recent numbers represent a pressing call for increased public discourse and action.

Washington State Psychological Association (WSPA) joins the American Psychological Association to firmly and unequivocally condemn the acts of racism and violence which took place in Charlottesville, and all other acts of bias, prejudice, and discrimination, which lead to hate crimes motivated by an offender’s bias against a victim’s race, ethnicity, gender and gender expression, culture and national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and/or socio-economic status. White supremacist views and other forms of racism, bigotry, discrimination and prejudice do not belong in our society and must be recognized and denounced.

Violent crimes motivated by bias and hate have far reaching effects on the victims. These include feelings of helplessness and humiliation (Herman, 1992), a loss of the sense of safety and security, and symptoms of depression and anxiety (APA, 2017). As mental health professionals, psychologists are uniquely equipped to assist individuals, groups, and communities traumatized by hate crimes. Today, fifty years later, we remember Dr. King’s call and recommit as social scientists to use our knowledge and skills to realize improved outcomes for all individuals and communities. We foster healing in all people through mental health treatment, community-based education including programs teaching tolerance, reducing prejudice, and promoting social justice, and research and policy initiatives targeting a safer, healthier, and more equitable society for all.

It is the policy of both Washington State Psychological Association (WSPA) and American Psychological Association (APA) that “...same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality."

In 2009, APA published the findings of its Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. The Task Force not only found no scientific basis for positive results of Sexual Orientation Conversion Efforts (SOCE) but also declared SOCE likely poses significant potential dangers for mental health, particularly for vulnerable youth.

WSPA fully supports these findings and since 2013 we have actively supported efforts to change Washington State law to make the practice of conversion therapy an act of unprofessional conduct in the State's Uniform Disciplinary Act (RCW 18.130).

Letters of our advocacy can be found below:

Letter of support for funding a working group to study the effects of SOCE in Washington State.

Letter of support introducing legislation to restrict the practice of SOCE.

Letter of support to Washington Conversion Therapy Ban (HB 2451).
Memo to House Health Care & Wellness Committee.

Letter of support to City of Seattle's Conversion Therapy Ban.


Public Testimony on SB 5722 Restricting the Practice of Conversion Therapy.


Note: if the video screens below are not seen, please allow pop-ups on your browser.
Dr. Lucy Homans providing testimony on January 11, 2018.


Dr. Lucy Homans and Dr. Matt Goldenberg providing testimony on February 7, 2018.


Governor Jay Inslee signs HB 1085, 2ESHB 2057, EHB 2097, SHB 2887, ESHB 2938, SB 5722 (Relating to restricting the practice of conversion therapy), & SSB 6124 during a ceremony held at the state capitol.


Washington State Psychological Association joined with American Psychological Association in supporting the March for Our Lives Event held Saturday, March 24, 2018 to prevent further gun violence. WSPA members marched with others throughout the state and country in supporting our young people who are asking us to do more to protect them from further violence by firearms.

As psychologists, with our unique skills, training, and knowledge, we can support our communities by actively participating in resolving this public health crisis. Our members are involved in many aspects of this complicated issue including research, education, assessment, prevention, and treatment of victims of gun violence. We have an important contribution to make so that we can all better protect our children.

The following links for information on APA’s support of March for Our Lives and APA’s policies on advocacy for gun-violence prevention:

more Latest News
more Calendar

2018 Spring Workshops - Spokane

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal