FPA Position Statements

SJC2FPA has charged the Social Justice Committee (SJC) with maintaining a pulse on social issues that impact the work of psychologists. The SJC seeks consensus in addressing and publishing position statements for FPA and more broadly the practitioners, graduate students, and clients/patients served by Florida psychologists. The SJC endeavors to remain true to positive social change and writes responses informed by peer-reviewed, evidence-based, and sound research.

Other entities within FPA may also submit position statements for consideration.

The FPA Board of Directors shall be responsible for deciding when and in what form such a public comment on policy should be made.

The mission of the SJC serves to increase awareness of and advocate for equality and justice among members and the community through:

  • Promoting values of beneficence and nonmaleficence within the context of intersectional privilege
  • Sharing accountability for demonstrating respect of individual rights and dignity with integrity
  • Decreasing mental health disparities among marginalized population is Florida
  • Increasing psychologists' cultural competence via educational opportunities
  • Conducting and disseminating research with practical treatment recommendations to improve mental health outcomes for oppressed groups
  • Enabling psychologists to understand the current cultural and diversity factors surrounding social justice issues and take appropriate action to voice their concerns

FPA Opposes Modification of the AP Psychology Course (August 8, 2023)

The Florida Psychological Association (FPA) opposes any effort from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) to modify AP Psychology’s approved course structure and teaching/delivery in Florida schools. AP Psychology has been taught for the past 25 years with a solid, evidence-based foundation of research and science.

Freedom from School Violence (June 2023)

School violence is a tragedy of epic proportions affecting people throughout our country. No child should be afraid to go to school and receive an education (Yablon, 2020). No family should fear for their child’s safety attending school.

The Florida Psychological Association (FPA) supports the American Psychological Association’s recommendations for freedom from school violence through an evidence-based, public health approach.

Police Brutality (February 2023)

Police responses to unarmed civilians remain in the public awareness as seven unarmed individuals have died including Tyre Nichols in Memphis, TN. The Washington Post Fatal Force (2023) police shootings database indicates 8,166 fatal police shootings since 2015, which does not track police fatalities incurred by methods other than firearms. While every life unnecessarily lost is a tragedy, individuals of color are three times more likely to be killed by police than White people and 1.3 times more likely to be unarmed during fatal police contact than White people, regardless of the police officer’s race (Washington Post, 2023).

Understanding and Tolerance (May 2022)

The Florida Psychological Association is a state psychological association based in very diverse area of the country. We are also bound by professional ethics with core tenets around justice, integrity, and human rights. Regardless of our membership’s individual beliefs and leanings regarding political affiliations, as a professional association, our actions must be driven by our appreciation of and commitment to the ethics of our profession. The FPA Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and FPA Diversity Committee would like to reemphasize our commitment to using our skills as psychologists, academicians, and graduate students in order to encourage and foster social justice in all spaces and for the diverse communities we serve. As an association, as psychologists, and as humans we want to recognize the hurt and fear that has resulted from the current political atmosphere, and that we will do everything we can to support our membership in their efforts to engage and address these challenges. We acknowledge the intersecting identities of our membership and of those we serve throughout the state.

Statement on Gun Violence and Hate Crimes Against People of Color (May 2022)

Only ten days after a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York occurred, another gunman massacred 19 children and two teachers in an Uvalde, Texas, school and left nearly 20 others injured. It is the deadliest school shooting since Parkland, Florida, in 2018. Schools should be a place of safety for educating and enriching children, not a source of trauma and constant fear. Over 200 mass shootings have occurred in the United States within the last five months. Much more can be done to prevent these senseless acts of violence that are at epidemic proportions.

Statement of Opposition to Florida Draft Rule Banning Gender Affirming Care for Adolescents (November 2022)

In response to the rules approved Friday by the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine under which doctors will no longer be allowed to provide transgender treatments to people younger than 18, the Florida Psychological Association (FPA) publicly endorses and unequivocally supports the recent Statement of Opposition to Florida Draft Rule Banning Gender Affirming Care for Adolescents released by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and the United States Professional Association for Transgender Health (USPATH). See more here: https://www.wpath.org/policies

Additionally, please see our previously released statement in collaboration with APA Division 44 below, where we highlight the psychosocial dangers of the outdated and poor quality research used by Florida Department of Health (DOH) to move forward with its ban on adolescent gender affirming care. Misuse of scientific information not only harms Florida’s LGBTQ+ population but also abuses the ethics of using scientific information for the benefit of people. Their ban clearly violates the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Principles of Medical Ethics as well as the APA Ethics Code.

Social Emotional Learning (August 2022)

On April 15, 2022, Richard Corcoran, the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education, issued a press release in which he declared that Florida rejects the “publishers’ attempts to indoctrinate students.” Textbooks were considered inappropriate if they included references to “Critical Race Theory (CRT)…and the unsolicited inclusion of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics.” In 2021, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) solicited bids from publishers of mathematics instructional materials. The FDOE notified publishers that they should not include “unsolicited strategies such as SEL in their instructional materials.” The press release characterizes SEL as “strategies of indoctrination.” This was one factor in the rejection of 54 Mathematics textbooks, or 41% of the textbooks submitted for review.

Opposition to Block on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts (July 2022)

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a rehearing request, which upholds the decision of a three-judge panel of the court in 2020 that ruled bans on sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts (SOGICE) violated the First Amendment. The use of SOGICE are more than controversial, they are dangerous, abusive, and psychologically harmful. These efforts are not therapeutic and should not be referred to as “conversion or reparative therapy.” The American Psychological Association (APA) issued two separate resolutions for sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) and gender identity change efforts (GICE) in February 2021. The resolutions addressed the harm in these practices and indicate the APA opposes SOGICE because such efforts create vulnerability for significant risk of harm to sexual and gender minorities and encourages clinicians, organizations and families to avoid practicing SOCE/GICE (APA, 2021). According to the Williams Institute (2021), 58.8% of the 1,747 participants in a study from 2016-2018 were under the age of 18 when they were subjected to SOGICE. Another study estimates nearly 700,000 LGBTQ adults were subjected to SOGICE in their lifetime (Williams Institute, 2019).

Opposition to Restrictions on Abortion (June 2022)

The federal decision for Roe v. Wade (Blackburn & Supreme Court of the United States, 1972) enacted in 1973 authorized individuals to make their own informed decisions about pregnancy termination without excessive government restriction. The overturning of this federal decision in favor of state legislation puts more power in the Florida Legislature to restrict the choice and freedom of individuals to legally seek an abortion. Although the Florida law permits abortions after the 15th week in cases where medical professionals agree that the fetus is unviable due to abnormalities, or when the health of the mother is at serious risk, it does not allow protections for conception as a consequence of rape, incest, intimate partner violence, or periods of psychological instability (e.g., mania, psychosis).

Opposition to the Ban on Medicaid Coverage of Trans-Affirming Care for Transgender Youth (June 2022)

The Florida Psychological Association (FPA) previously aligned with the American Psychological Association (APA) and World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), the United States Professional Association for Transgender Health (USPATH), the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in April 2022 when the Florida Department of Health issued a statement based on inaccurate and misinterpreted research.