Paula Joan Caplan (born July 7, 1947 in Springfield, Missouri) is a clinical and research psychologist, activist, social justice and human rights advocate, nonfiction writer, award-winning playwright, screenwriter, actor, and director. She is currently an Associate at Harvard University's DuBois Institute, Director of the Voices of Diversity Project, and is a past Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Previously she was full professor of psychology, assistant professor of psychiatry, and lecturer in Women's Studies at the University of Toronto, as well as head of the Centre for Women's Studies in Education there, and was chosen by the American Psychological Association as an "eminent woman psychologist". She has also taught at Harvard University, Connecticut College, and the University of Rhode Island, has given hundreds of invited addresses, and has done more than 1,000 media interviews about social issues. She is the author of The Myth of Women's Masochism and Don't Blame Mother, plus a number of other books. Her twelfth and latest book is When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans, which won the 2011 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence in the Psychology category.
Since the 1980s, Caplan has been concerned that psychiatric diagnoses are unscientific, that giving someone a psychiatric label does not reduce their suffering, and that labeling them carries enormous risks of harm. She has sought to educate the public about the totally unregulated nature of psychiatric diagnosis and the consequent lack of recourse for people who have been harmed by getting such labels, including the stark fact that getting a psychiatric diagnosis and label often actually stands in the way of recovery.