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Table 7

Guidelines for
Critical Psychology Training

Adapted from

Isaac Prilleltensky & Geoff Nelson
Doing Psychology Critically:
Making a Difference in Diverse Settings

Critical Psychology Tenets

Possibilities for Action


Content: Collaboratively develop with students a vision and values that underlies training in applied areas and skills. Such values should provide a foundation for the promotion of personal, relational, and collective wellness.

Process: Engage in discussion of values and values clarification with trainees. Applied skills training should be viewed in service of the values of individual members and the collective. Care should be taken by faculty and students alike to strive to live the values and to avoid both dogmatism and relativism regarding the enactment of values in daily life. The vision and values should be the ethos of the training program.


Content: Training in applied practice should emphasize the central role of power in the social world. An examination of the concepts of power, oppression, liberation, and wellness and how these concepts can be applied to real world phenomena should figure prominently in applied training.

Process: Encourage trainees to reframe presenting problems in terms of power inequalities and dynamics. Also, emphasize transformative change and the need to be creative and “think outside the box.” Challenge dominant ideologies of person blame and focus on strengths and capacity for change in partnerships with oppressed groups.


Content: Critical practice and action require generic assessment and intervention skills, including program planning and evaluation, consultation, individual and group process facilitation, community development and organization, and social policy. Some specialized knowledge of the content area is also required.

Process: Need to develop mechanisms to enable the linking of professional practice and political action to sustain critical work in applied settings.


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