APsaA Calls For An End To Sharing Of Confidential Therapy Sessions Of Migrant Youths


For Immediate Release:


New York, NY – February 19, 2020 – The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) calls for an immediate end to the unethical practice of sharing confidential therapy notes with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These notes were obtained from mandatory treatment with detained migrant children and are being used to deny them asylum. The Association has joined with other leading mental health organizations, such as the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, National Social Workers Association, and American Counseling Association, to protest these abuses of the psychotherapy relationship.

“Providing therapy to traumatized children should be applauded as a valuable tool to help them heal from past abuse, neglect, and violence. Instead, their private sessions are being used against their interests to deny them asylum and potentially send them back to the countries they fled for safety and a better life in America,” said William Glover, president of the Association.

The Association is responding to a recent report in the Washington Post. Alarmed, APsaA has sent a letter to Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security calling for an immediate end to this practice. Additionally, the Association urges the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Congress to investigate its prevalence, and for ICE to release migrants who were denied asylum as a result.

Recent press statements from APsaA have described current immigration policies as “psychological warfare” and “inhumane”. The group has been in the lead of efforts to protect patient privacy and confidentiality. You can read their position statement on patient privacy here.

“Paramount in any mental health treatment is the relationship between therapist and patient. To use a patient’s private thoughts and feelings against them is a traumatic betrayal, and one our profession cannot condone,” said Glover. 

The American Psychoanalytic Association is the oldest and largest professional organization for psychoanalysts in North America, representing 3,000 members, 33 approved training institutes, and 39 affiliate societies throughout the United States. Visit apsa.org for more information.

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