RadPsyNet logo

Table 4

Guidelines for
Critical Psychology Practice
in Health Settings

Adapted from

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

Critical Psychology Tenets

Possibilities for Action


Content: Balance prevalent emphasis on autonomy with concern for caring and compassion and interdependence. Consider power differentials in hospital settings and their impact on patients’ empowerment and self-determination. Social cohesion, collaboration and democratic participation at community level benefit population health.

Process: Show caring and compassion for citizens seeking service, respect their social identities, and foster their ability to pursue personal goals in light of chronic illness or disability. Involve community members in civic and health related activities. Create partnerships with community groups to achieve justice in health care.



Content: Ensure that definitions of problem and health include voice of citizens seeking help and is not circumscribed to professional opinion. Consider role of corporate profit making in health problems. Promote focus on strengths and competencies of person as perceived and described by person seeking help. Beware of the pursuit of pathology prevalent in hospital settings.

Process: Act as resource collaborator instead of removed expert. Engage citizens in active roles throughout the process of help or self-help. Consider alternatives to medical treatments such as health promotion activities related to diet and lifestyle. Promote non-professional interventions such as mutual-help groups. Afford people seeking help meaningful opportunities to present their point of view concerning their health. Renew informed consent often and solicit input from patients as to direction and aims of helping relationship. Respect privacy of patients in medical settings.


Content: Consider approaches that go beyond reactive and indicated interventions and that are proactive in nature. Address social and economic origins of ill-health and maldistribution of resources and health in society.

Process: Collaborate with advocacy and social justice groups in addressing the health needs of the entire population. Create solidarity partnerships with community groups affected by ill-health. Promote political education and social action leading to health promoting cultures and organisations.


Return to Applying Critical Psychology in Diverse Settings

Home Page NoticesDocumentsLinksArchivesBooksTeaching Materials Administration Applying Critical Psychology Radical Psychology Journal

 Up to top

Updated 30 September 2007 - Contacts
RadPsyNet: http://www.radpsynet.org