jack o lantern with smoke bomb

The Perils of a Politicised Psychology: Lara Sheehi

Surely we don’t need any more evidence of the disastrous consequences of allowing an untrammelled politicisation of psychology to continue?

The horrors that unfolded on the Gaza-Israeli border and the subsequent terrible battles raging there have polarised international responses. Not so long ago, the healing professions would have been expected to respond to conflict from a nonpartisan position advocating for peace and resolution. But not any more – now people in positions of power and influence in the psychology and therapy professions believe it is their moral duty to take up partisan positions and throw petrol onto firestorms.

One such example is Lara Sheehi who is president (until the end of 2023) of the influential Division 39 of the American Psychological Association (APA). See Cary Nelson’s piece on her continuing destructive institutional influence (and an earlier background piece here). Below is a short verbatim extract where Nelson discusses a very recent interview with Sheehi and flags up the ramifications of her views for therapy.

‘…, the same unyielding revolutionary message applies to members of the psychology profession, who, according to her, ‘have been pathologizing madness under conditions of oppression.’ Personal histories will no longer be credited as a cause of mental illness; They too will be swept aside: ‘We are no longer OK with the system of psychology as it is.’ Palestinian psychological problems must now all be attributed to the occupation. And those who believe otherwise must be removed from the profession.’

One comment

  1. Now, more than ever, we need new blood in psychological medicine who can revitalize more traditional stances and approaches to this practice.

    Too bad the educational institutions have such a stranglehold on entry to the field.

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