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Table 5

Guidelines for
Critical Psychology Practice
in Work Settings

Adapted from

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

Critical Psychology Tenets

Possibilities for Action


Content: Discuss with various stakeholders the importance of attending to personal, relational and collective wellness as the well-being of individuals within the setting depends on meeting needs at all these three levels. Supportive relationships and structures enable workers to feel good about themselves and their work. Imbalance caused by excessive expectations of structures on individuals leads to burn-out and illness.

Process: Ask various stakeholders groups what they require to meet their own personal and relational needs and what they can do to help others within the organization to meet their own individual and collective needs. This process acknowledges that all members of an organization have personal needs and are expected to contribute to the collective wellness at the same time. Using table 1.1 workers can identify their own needs and the needs of others towards which they can make a contribution.


Content: Draw attention to power differentials within the organization and its effects on the health of workers. Power and ability to control aspects of the job determines subjective well-being of employees. Discuss also norms within workplace regarding good life. Examine expectations for personal sacrifice for the company and/or its clients. Culture of overwork, prevalent in many places, can have oppressive effects on workers.

Process: Engage various stakeholders groups in discussions about their vision for a healthy workplace. Compare and contrast their vision with actual state of affairs. Bring to attention of power holders within the organization the vision and needs of those with less power in the setting. Examine with stakeholders how power differentials affect their own health and position within the workplace and how they influence the wellness of colleagues in the setting.


Content: Include in problem definition structural issues related to work settings and power differentials. Devise interventions that address not only individual or interpersonal factors but also organizational arrangements. Consider preventive interventions that promote the wellness of workers through social support and improved working conditions.

Process: Initiate dialogue with workers on their wellness needs. Alliances with workers or managers will determine to what extent psychologist can promote consciousness raising about oppressive conditions in the workplace. Labour will welcome consciousness raising whereas management will oppose initiatives designed to challenge their interests and authority in the business.


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