Critical psychology

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Critical psychology is a perspective within psychology that draws extensively on critical theory. Critical psychology challenges mainstream psychology and attempts to apply psychological understandings in more progressive ways, often looking towards social change as a means of preventing and treating psychopathology.

One of critical psychology's main criticisms of conventional psychology is that it fails to consider or deliberately ignores the way power differences between social classes and groups can impact the mental and physical well-being of individuals or groups of people. This can be seen in a variety of areas of psychology, from clinical psychology to developmental psychology, and in the ways in which psychologists interact with the public.

History[edit | edit source]

Critical psychology has its roots in the social sciences, drawing particularly from the works of Karl Marx, Michel Foucault, and Feminist theory. It emerged as a response to the perceived shortcomings of mainstream psychology, which often focuses on the individual as the unit of analysis and tends to ignore social and economic factors that contribute to human behavior.

Key Concepts[edit | edit source]

Power[edit | edit source]

In critical psychology, power is seen as a key factor in understanding human behavior. This includes not only the power of individuals and groups, but also the power of ideas and ideologies. Critical psychologists argue that mainstream psychology often ignores these power dynamics, leading to a skewed understanding of human behavior.

Social Change[edit | edit source]

Critical psychology is often associated with efforts towards social change. This is because it sees many psychological problems as being caused by social and economic factors. By changing these factors, critical psychologists believe that it is possible to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place.

Critique of Mainstream Psychology[edit | edit source]

A key aspect of critical psychology is its critique of mainstream psychology. This includes a critique of the methods used by mainstream psychologists, as well as the theories and concepts they employ. Critical psychologists argue that these methods and theories often serve to reinforce existing power structures, rather than challenging them.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD