The Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Regarding Roy Eidelson’s Oct. 15 Outlook essay, “Psychology is finally coming to grips with enabling torture”:

Psychology benefits society and improves people’s lives. It is critical to distinguish between the actions of two rogue psychologists who designed and implemented the CIA’s notorious detainee torture program during the George W. Bush administration and the profession of psychology as a whole.

I agree with Mr. Eidelson that “torture’s corrosive effects are an assault on human dignity — and that ultimately endangers and diminishes us all.” The successes of the nation’s many hard-working and dedicated psychologists should not be tarnished by the shocking and unacceptable actions of two renegade psychologists. The American Psychological Association stands firm against torture and in support of the science and ethics that guide us to live better lives. 

The discipline is committed to doing good, as are the vast majority of people engaged in the field. Every day, psychologists take on urgent challenges that plague our nation. Their work supports increased access to affordable, quality health care, strives to prevent gun violence and shines a light on police-community relations. They have been on the ground in Houston and Puerto Rico in the aftermath of horrific natural disasters and in Las Vegas and Orlando after unthinkable human tragedy; they will be there for years to help these communities rebound. Their work is hard, and their goals are ambitious. Psychology as a field is committed to achieving them.

Arthur C. Evans Jr., Washington

The writer is chief executive of the
American Psychological Association.