Critical Psychology

A Resource Site for Scholars, Activists, and Practitioners

by the Critical Praxis Cooperative

What is critical psychology?

"First, critical psychology turns the gaze of the psychologist back on the discipline...Second, critical psychologists often assume that where there is power there is resistance, and that in every dominant practice there are contradictions and spaces for us to work to challenge and change the existing state of affairs...Third, psychology is not only at work in the universities and the clinics...Fourth, the discipline of psychology pretends that it is a science, but it draws its images of the human being from culture and from everyday life to construct its object" (Parker, 2007, pp. 1-3).

"Critical psychology refers to a number of overlapping approaches that challenge mainstream psychology's implicit and explicit support for an unjust and unsatisfying status quo" (Fox, Prilleltensky, & Austin, 2009, p. 18).

"Unlike social, educational, or community, critical psychology is not an area or branch of psychology. Neither is it a particular theoretical approach that crosses areas and branches as do, for example, Freudian, Piagetian, or cognitive psychology. It is, more than anything, a position or perspective from which mainstream psychology is viewed and investigated in order to expose its inherent biases" (Holzman, 2013, p. 472).

Critical psychology "as an international movement has been generative in the last five decades and has had a global academic, as well as practical, presence" (Teo, 2015, p. 243).