Calls for reform of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) have been made repeatedly, following a number of incidents of police violence and excessive force, culminating in Officer Jason Van Dyke’s shooting of Laquan McDonald in 2014. The federal Justice Department investigated the CPD, and called for a consent decree in Jan 2017, citing the police force as poorly trained and prone to excessive violence, especially against minorities. Finally, the City of Chicago was sued in August 2017 to force the adoption of a consent decree.

On Jan 12, 2019, the Chicago Tribune published the Letter to the Editor written by Nancy Burke, PsiAN Co-Chair. Her letter reiterates that increasing the number of mental health counselors at CPD to 10 pales in comparison to the need, and eloquently outlines the dangers of failing to take seriously the traumas that first responders and their mental health treatment providers might experience. Her letter is here: letter to Tribune editor_1.8.19

In August 2018, PsiAN wrote in support of the letter crafted by the ACLU and other profit organizations. We specifically highlighted the needs to support police officers and others, such as 911 operators, who may be impacted by trauma, and to increase resources dedicated to mental health treatment, including supervision for those counseling first responders. Our letter is here: PsiAN Comments on CPD Consent Decree_8.17.18


Mental health workers at Kaiser Permanente have gone on strike, because they, as trained and licensed mental health professionals, “want more authority to apply their professional judgment to how often they see their patients and whether individual or group therapy is indicated.” (NUHW press release Nov. 29, 2018). They are also protesting Kaiser’s financial restrictions that effectively ration care, with some patients receiving psychotherapy only once every 3-4 weeks.

See PsiAN’s letter in support of high quality mental health care where the clinician is empowered to determine the course of treatment and the treatment relationship between clinician and patient is respected as central. Please download and share.

NUHW_Kaiser_12.12.18 letter


In the face of ongoing and increasingly lengthy detentions of families  — parents and children alike — coming into the US, PsiAN has signed onto a letter sent to the President outlining the psychological and emotional effects of such potentially damaging treatment.

To help disseminate, please download both letters below.  The “Intro for Reps” letter introduces the Detention Letter.  Please customize the “Intro for Reps” letter, and send to your congresspeople, attaching with the “Child and Family Detention Letter.”

Child and Family Detention Letter_10.8.2018

Intro for Reps for Child and Family Detention Letter



This pamphlet, in Spanish and English, has been written for immigrant/refugee parents who have been separated from and are about to be reunited with their children. It describes what parents might expect to see in their children’s behaviors and emotions, and how they might deal with being together again. The pamphlet may also prove useful to attorneys, paralegals, clergy, those working in shelters, and others who are involved with these families.

Creating the pamphlet was a collaboration between PsiAN and members of Section II: Childhood and Adolescence and Section V: Applied Clinical Psychoanalysis of Division 39 Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association, with graphic design support from Child First.

Please feel free to download and distribute to parents and interested parties.

Reunification brochure_spanish

Reunification brochure_english


ILLINOIS: Social-Emotional Screening of School-Aged Children

Psychotherapy Action Network’s Children’s Initiative has tasked itself with responding to a new Illinois state law requiring social emotional screening of school-age children. Although the law was passed, its implementation was not specified, and a governmental Rules Committee is working on that. PsiAN members Erika Schmidt and Karen Foley wrote the following letter to the mental health representative on the Rules committee expressing our concerns–among them the lack of resources for treatment statewide, lack of an effective referral process to the resources that do exist, possible stigmatization, and possible over-medication. PsiAN will continue to work toward establishing alliances and recommendations to address these problems.

PsiAN child screening letter 6.24.18